The challenge for this month's Whip-lash is to "make something that utilizes pre-used/pre-loved/trash/junk/waste items". I really wanted pick my brain and think of a creative use for some household waste items. So, from a plastic egg carton, an unwanted magazine, two empty toilet paper rolls, whiteout, a bit of acetone (nail polish remover), a pencil, some rubber bands, a bit of wire and some glue, I give you my contribution to Whip-lash: a vase of flowers.
I initially wanted to write up a tutorial, but couldn't find the time to do that, so I'm just going to talk about the process in detail. Each flower is cut out of an individual egg cup from a plastic egg carton; the first cuts that I made were to separate the cups. The bottom of each egg cup usually has a little "hill" for the egg to rest on, so I just made six ot seven deep cuts from the top of the cup to the bottom of the "hill". Then for each section, I cut out a petal shape freehand. The flowers were already starting to look pretty cool...
But since it's a recycling project, I dug up something else I could recycle and use...a bottle of sticky/nearly dry whiteout correction fluid. I thinned the whiteout with a bit of acetone, shook the bottle up for a good while, and the whiteout was ready to use (probably not for its intended purpose...it's a bit thin for that, but it suited my plans for it perfectly). I used the whiteout brush to paint the flowers with the revitalized correction fluid. I had just enough for one thin coat of whiteout on each flower.
While waiting for the whiteout to dry, I started to work on making a vase to hold the flowers. I leafed through a magazine that I rescued earlier this week from a woman who got off of the subway the same time I did; she was about to toss the magazine in the garbage when I intercepted (hehe) and asked if I could have it. I tried to pick out dark-colored pages with no text. Since I only had one magazine, I couldn't find enough pages that matched my criteria, so I basically just ripped out all full pages with only a limited amount of text.
I took a magazine page and put the side that I wanted to show down on the table. I then smeared some glue all over the page, save the bottom two inches. Then starting from the bottom of the page and using a round pencil as a guide, I rolled up the page (similar to how you would make paper beads). I made several of these rolls, and arranged them in a line on a table in manner that I found pleasing. I cut an empty toilet paper roll in half, then stacked it on top of another toilet paper roll. The outside of of both rolls were covered with glue, and then I carefully positioned the magazine rolls along the outside of the toilet paper rolls. I secured the top and bottom of the roll with a rubber band to help form a stronger bond. I took the unused half of the toilet paper roll and cut it down the side so that it could lay flat. From this "cardboard," I then cut out a circle with a diameter slightly larger than that of a toilet paper roll. (You could trace an empty toilet paper roll, but since I didn't have one on hand, I just eyeballed it). I scored the edges and folded them up so that I had several tabs. I covered the tabs with glue, and pushed it into position as the "bottom" of the vase.
While waiting for the glue to dry, I went back to the flowers. I had intended to use coathangers for the stems, but, hehe, I don't own wire cutters and was having a heck of a time trying to cut them with scissors. So I used a thin wire that I found in the closet, and cut several foot-long pieces with my scissors (which, by the way, now have several new "teeth"). Using an X-acto knife, I poked a hole in the center of each flower, and threaded a wire through. I bent the end of the wire in a circle and added some glue to secure the wire.
Now for the finishing touches. I trimmed the ends of the magazine rolls so that they were even with the toilet paper rolls. To complete the bouquet of flowers, I decided to make some leaves. I went back to the same, albeit thinner, magazine, and searched for any pages that had a green-colored area. I cut out leaf shapes with approximately a 2 inch tail. I folded the leaf parts in half to make veins, and applied glue to the tails of the paper leaves. Then I wrapped the tail of each leaf around the wire stem of the flowers in random positions. I brought the flowers together in a bunch, and tied them together with a rubber band. I trimmed the wires one last time, and placed them in the magazine vase. For extra embellishment, I decided to make a few longer, grassy leaves. At this point, I just used whatever pages were left in the the magazine and cut out long, thin triangles. I added a blade of "grass" to the flower arrangement here and there to finish the piece.
Now I have a "new" vase of flowers to use for decoration in the apartment.