April 6, 2017

Family Easter Activity Day – Cheltenham Hackspace

Filed under: Events,Kids Projects,Upcycling — sarah @ 8:59 am

Cheltenham Hackpace is having an Easter Crafts day on Good Friday Apr 14th 2017 from 10 am, there are lots of activities and we are taking our upcycled basket making 🙂

Hackspaces are a community workshop, skill share and create space and is a grass roots movement that is spreading globally.

February 20, 2017

Upcycled Fantasy Accessories – Worshop

Filed under: Kids Projects,Knitting and Crochet,Sewing,Upcycling,Workshops — sarah @ 8:23 am

Upcycled corn Headdress

Repurpose fabric, egg boxes, broken jewellery and more to create fantastical headwear and other accessories such as unicorns, dragons, fairies, lions, festival fashions or anything else your imagination can think of! Part of the Upcycling and Junk Art workshop series. Suitable for all ages and skill levels

January 8, 2017

Junk Music – workshop

Filed under: Upcycling,Workshops — sarah @ 7:50 am

Junk Music tin drum with rag bound drum sticks, bottle top rattle, spoon clackers and tub shakers

Junk Music – is an upcycling and repurposing workshop, with a selection of pre-made instruments for experimentation and play created from rubbish and thrown away items. They can also make and decorate their own instruments to take home including but not limited to: tin can drums, rag bound drum sticks, tub shakers, bottle top rattles and spoon clackers. Suitable for all skill levels.

March 9, 2014

Spring has Sprung

Filed under: Art and Drawings,Easter,Paper Craft,Seasonal,Upcycling — sarah @ 12:43 pm

Spring Has Sprung Button Flower Upcyling picture

Glue – we used a latex based glue like copydex
Buttons – a mix of sizes and colours namely, pink, green, yellow
Patterned cardboard – we used graze boxes as they tend to have nice grass and flower patterns on them and are just the right size to cut up for these pictures
Piece of ribbon or cording for the handle
Gold paint pen

Mary cutting up cardboard

Cut out two rectangles of card, select which one you want for the background of the picture and which one you want for the frame. Make sure the are the same size. For the frame cut a 2 cm strip along the bottom stopping 2 cm from the edge, turn scissors 90 degrees and cut a strip 2 cm wide up the edge until 2 cm from the top, turn 90 degrees and cut along the top again stopping 2 cm from the edge, now turn scissors again and cut down the side until you get to the first cut. A smaller rectangle of card should now pop out leaving you with a frame – put this to one side for now.

Laying out buttons for spring upcycling picture

Lay out the buttons you have chosen in the shape you want, check that it will fit within the frame and then glue them in place.

Frame and handle added to button picture

Cut a piece of ribbon or cord for your handle and glue it in place – ribbon works better as the frame can side flat over it. An alternative is to stick the handle on the back but you will have to wait for the picture to dry before you can do this. Glue the frame in place pinching down over where the hand is – cloths pegs can help as mini clamps if it is being problematic.

Mary colouring in with gold paint pen

Draw or write with paint pens – I did a wrote Spring and then drew a spring as an exclamation mark.

Spring Has Sprung Button Flower Upcyling picture

This is my creation – the toddler spilt her milk on her one, it was a sheep and she had given it gold ears.

January 19, 2014

Geeky Tissue Box

Filed under: Paper Craft,Papier Mache,Upcycling — sarah @ 10:03 am

Circuit board tissue box

For this tissue box I used PVA glue watered down – 5 parts water for one of the glue, graphs and circuit diagrams cut out of an old technical manual (pages have to be thin and not glossed for this to work well), and a tissue box that I picked up in a cheap shop in Cheltenham. It would be relatively easy to make the box yourself if you have a jigsaw etc…

supplies to make the geek tissue box

I cut out the pictures I wanted to use – large graphs for the main background, circuit diagrams and pictures of transformers for the images. I used a paint brush to paint the watered down PVA glue onto the box, then I painted a picture at a time with it and laid the ‘painted’ side down on the box. Using the paint brush and my fingers I smoothed any wrinkles in the paper out.

To make it extra neat and prevent flacking edges, I wrapped the paper up underneath the bottom edge of the box and made sure it was smoothed off on the in side, I tried to avoid edges of pictures occuring at corners and edges.


For the hole where the tissues will come out I cut little slits into the pictures along one edge before pasting them on. For the more curved bits I the lines into the picture radiating for the some point on the edge of the picture. Both these ways of cutting the edge of the picture gave me flaps I could glue into place though the hole in the inside of the box.

For the corners I cut the pictures in half up until the middle of the image so I ended up with a piece of paper with two ‘legs’. I then pasted it onto the box with the legs sticking up from the sides I folded them over one at a time so that one leg sat over the other.

I then left it to dry raised up on some plastic cups. For a longer life I am going to attempt to vanish it.

Geekery tissue box craft

November 4, 2012

Upcycled Vase of Flowers

Filed under: Paper Craft,Upcycling — sarah @ 11:48 am

This vase of flowers was made from an old copy of the magazine New Scientist.

Upcycled Flowers

Items needed for this project:

  1. an old magazine

  2. Pritt Stick type glue

  3. Copy dex or decoupage glue

  4. Scissors

  5. Cleaned and de-labeled tin can (if you are doing the craft project with kids then it is advisable to put a strip of heavy duty tape like gaffa tape along the top of the can and fold it down either side to cover any sharp edges).

  6. On old jumper or scrap cloth

First of all I removed the pages and cut some of them in half across the text so I had ‘fat’ rectangles rather than ‘thin’ ones. I put these to one side and then cut some other pages into quarters.

I took a quarter and smothered one side of it in Pritt Stick and then rolled in up over itself to make a tube. Some people may find this hard to do in which case a wooden skewer or bamboo stick can be used to wrap the paper around. Those who do a lot of paper craft may have a special tool for this but it is. Be careful at what angle you roll the paper at as it produces different styles and strengths of straw. I prefer rolling from one corner at an approximately 45 degree angle.

rolling a magazine page into a construction straw

This creates paper construction straws relatively short for sticking to the side of your tin can. How many straws you will need will depend on the size of your can and on how tightly you rolled the straws, the tighter the better to be honest. When you get to the end of rolling a straw it is important to put just a little bit of glue on the tip before laying it flat on the side of the straw If you do not do this you will have a flap on you straw which will get caught and slowly unravel it.

hamemade constructions straws and tin can

I think covered the tin can in copydex glue and wrapped a a half sheet of magazine around it. this didn’t quiet go all the way around so I suck a second one on making sure that there was some paper sticking up over the rim of the can.

Cover tin can in magazine paper

I then snipped the over hang of paper with a cm gap inbetween each cut so I had lots of tags sticking up. I then glued this down over the rim of the tin can.

snip cm wide flaps in the over hanging paper so you can fold it over can lip

I then had a tin can covered in magazine paper.

tin can covered in magazine paper

I then snipped off on of the pointy ends on all the paper straws I had made. And using the copydex still began to glue them onto the side of the tin can in an upwards direction.

Stick construction straws on tin

I left the straws pointy at one end and different lengths to imitate actual straw that grows and has been used for making corn dollies and things for centuries but you can trim them down and maybe make a rim for the vase if you like.

straw covered tin can

I then made the flowers to go inside the vase, today this I cut more pages into quarters and then folded each sheet into quarters. I then cut a leaf or petal shape out of the rectangle of folded paper being careful not to cut too near one corner which is where the middle of the sheet actually is! This gave me a nice four petalled flower. I used the Pritt Stick to lay two or three lots of petals together with the petals off set slightly (I put the second sheet down so that the petals were inbetween the first sheets petals). I placed the petal sheets over a loop I’d made with my thumb and fore finger and pushed the center of the flower in, I pinched the pushed through bit and twisted it which made the flower bit of the flowers.

For the stems I simply made larger construction straws using the half sheets I’d cut at the beginning. I snipped of the top pointy bit and using a blob of copy dex glued the flowers to the stems and left them to dry for a bit.

magazine flower

I then cut a strip of brown fabric from an old top and tied it around the vase and then placed the flowers in it. I ran this as a workshop at the Green Unconference in Long Ashton which went really well.

October 28, 2012

Green Unconference and Upcylcing

Filed under: Events,My Books,Paper Craft,Upcycling — sarah @ 12:27 pm

Yesterday I attended the first ever Green Unconference in Long Ashton near Bristol, organised by Daniel Lewis. It was an amazing setting with brilliant speakers – I only wish more of the people I’d invited had turned up but apparently most of them hadn’t seen the FaceBook invite until the event was actually taking place 🙁

Daniel Lewis opening the Green Unconference Lady speaker at the Green Unconference Diodynamic farmer giving his talk at the Green Unconference

I have come away saddened but optermistic and re-energised about the stuff I do to try and be a bit more friendly to the planet. Everything from government policies to how to garden to how to save/use waste food to feed those who are increasingly needing to use the food banks in this country was covered. I myself did an Upcycling and Junk Art workshop – complete with a mini talk and slides.

Sarah Snell-Pym explaining Ucycling and Junk Art at All Saints Church Long Ashton at the Green Unconference

It was the most gorgous setting for a workshop and I had my visual poetry stuff with me as well which a couple of people stayed on to do as a mini workshop. The workshop was making a vase of flowers out of old magazines.

Beautiful backdrop for the Upcycling and Junk Art Workshop Upcycling and Junk Art workshop at the Green Unconference Visual Poetry of one of the participants of the Green Unconference 2012

My little girls were about as well behaved as I think I could realistically expect :/ I think Jeany eat most of the buffet before we officially had stopped for lunch!

Sisters sharing food whilst being relatively good at the Green Unconference The family lunching at the Green Unconference near Bristol

I’m glad that people are taking on board that the average family can not afford or percieves at the least that they cannot afford organic food and that steps are being taken towards sorting this out. I wish I had managed to catch a few more of the talks but they clashed with my workshop and we had to leave early due to having triple booked ourselves for the day :/

I am going to attempt write up a few more of my junk art and upcycling projects. In making the slide show I realised I had a lot of material which I may try to collect together into at minimum an ebook. I have had people asking me to do this for a while now but haven’t had time what with all those workshops and other publishing projects on the go 🙂

And talking of e-books don’t forget to download your copy of The Little Book of Spoogy Poetry before midnight on the 31st of October! Click the image below for your free PDF.

The Little Book Of Spoogy Poetry

October 7, 2012

Upcycled Monsters

Filed under: Kids Projects,Sewing,Upcycling — sarah @ 3:41 pm

Mary's Monster

I wanted Mary to be able to make something for Halloween and she loves monsters so I had already cut up an old jumper for Jean to make a trick or treat bag with so I just used one of the sleeves to make a little cuddly monster for Mary.

Mary's monster sewn and awaiting stuffing

I sewed across the bit where I had chopped it off the jumper. The almost all the way across the bit just below the cuff. I then turned it inside out and stuff it, arranging the cuff for a tufty hair look.

Mary's monster stuffed

I then sewed up the remaining gap so the stuffing wouldn’t come back out and fixed the cuff in place (this was quiet a tricky thing todo so not sure I would repeat it).

Mary sticking eyes on her monster

I then got my little girl to stick self adhesive monster eyes made of felt on it. Obviously these can be a choking hazard so I sewed them on securely after wards but she enjoyed being able to take part.

Mary's Monster

September 30, 2012

A New Trick or Treat Bag

Filed under: Kids Projects,Sewing,Upcycling — sarah @ 3:53 pm

October is coming and that means my little one is already excited about Halloween, I informed her we were not buying a replacement trick or treat bag but that she would be making one – she was really enthusiastic which I hadn’t quiet expected her being 7 now and getting to the point of rolling eyes and saying ‘oh mummy!’

Jean and her trick or treat upcycled bag

We found rummaged through our black sack of cloths that are stained and wholey and she found my old furry purple jumper so we cut a rectangular chunk out of it (well almost rectangular – she did the cutting!). We folded it in half and she stitched it together up the two sides. I let her do it free form and she found the problem of the fabric shifting around so we lernt about tacking and then she did grate big stitches and learnt that this wasn’t a good idea and then we did some back stitch too which she prefered the results of but took too long for her concentration span. Once the sewing was finished we turned it inside out so the stitching was on the inside and not to be seen!

Jean stichting her upcycled bag

We then cut strips of jumper and plated them together to make a handle which we sewed on. Jean Later added some felt eyes to the bag.

All the sewing was done with a large bodkin needle and yarn/acrylic wool making it easier for her to handle and for me to see what she’d done wrong and there for to untangle her!

August 5, 2012

Week Two of Workshops

The Wild Cherries at Bead Workshop Centre Arts Cheltenham

I had my second and final week of running Centre Arts in Cheltenham – and boy did we pack alot of stuff in! We had crotchet, knitting, weaving in the circle, mini pompom making, a fantastic turn out for my story tree, weaving paper to make bags and baskets, creating cards, bookmarks and hanging plant pots. We learnt two different types of stitch in bead work and my cake baking improved drastically with feedback on what worked and what didn’t 🙂

These ones even got mistaken for being an art display!

Tennis Ball Cake

Recipes and decoration how to for the cakes is here.

Here are some pics of what we got up to 🙂

Alaric working hard on the tea cosy Alaric Crotchetting Jeans upcycled vase Butterfly sparkle Pretty sparkle flower tin can planter Jean's cardboard Olympics Ammonite picture before the rain Ammonite Rain Picture Jean making a rain picture o a dry day Blurred hearts rain picture purple woven flower for head dress Needles galore! Jeans spiral snake card weaved bag Easter Egg Card Spiral snake Asleep snake Jean making a pompom herringbone pattern White toddler cardi Royal Sarah Jean's book mark Blueberry book mark made from a graze box grass bookmark made from a graze box Jean weaving paper weaving card

And of course more cake pics.

English Rose Cakes Rose Cake close up White Flower topped strawberry cake Strawberry and white chocolate sport and GB cupcakes Medal orange cupcake Orange cupcake Orange gold medal cakes

My little girls loved it all too and proved time and again that kids really can make a noise with anything!

Jean and Mary making street music Jean playing a pokimon box Jean and Mary with cake Queen Jean

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