Tomorrow kicks off our month-long look at upcycled, recycled and re-made projects, so to get us properly geared up, here’s a flashback to one of our most popular re-use projects. Diane Gilleland turns empty soda bottles in to a cool-looking and useful desk organizer. Enjoy, and be sure to let us know what kinds of green projects you are working on this month!
By Diane Gilleland
I love digging in my recycling bin for potential craft materials. A recent surplus of empty plastic soda bottles inspired this easy organizer, which is endlessly customizable. Use any size bottles you like, and arrange them in a configuration that fits on your desk or in a drawer.
Empty plastic bottles (about 6) washed and dried. I’m using 16.9oz soda bottles.
Spray paint that adheres to plastic I’m using Krylon Fusion.
Clear acrylic sealer (optional)
Thin acrylic felt
Plastic glue See note below.
Small paper clips
Materials Note: This project requires a glue that will adhere well to plastic, but won’t eat through spray paint or sealer. I get good results from Aleene’s Glass and Bead Glue. E6000, on the other hand, eats through the paint.
Step 1: Lay a bottle on its side, and carefully insert the blade of a utility knife near the base of the bottle, as shown. The contours of your bottle will dictate where you make this cut. You’ll want to make the cut at the widest part of the base.
All you need to do here is cut a slit in the bottle so you can insert your scissors. Cut slowly for safety, steadying the bottle with your other hand.
Step 2: Insert the blade of your scissors into this slit and begin cutting around the bottle. Most plastic bottles have grooves or markings in them, and you can use these as a guide to help you make a fairly straight, consistent cut. Remove the bottom completely. If your cut edge isn’t quite perfect, don’t worry — we’ll cover that up with felt later.
Repeat Steps 1 and 2 with the rest of the bottles. (By the way, you might want to make some bracelets from the rest of the bottle!)
Step 3: Place all the bottle pieces on some protective paper, with the bottoms facing up as shown. Spray paint them all over the outside, using several light coats and letting the paint dry between coats. If you like, seal the paint with acrylic sealer.
Tip: If you’re not sure about the plastic glue you plan on using, you might also spray paint another scrap of bottle plastic to use in testing your glues.
Step 4: Once the bottles are painted and dried, it’s time to line the cut edges with felt. Cut a 3/8″-wide strip for each bottle, making sure the strip is a little longer than the circumference of the bottle.
Working in sections, carefully glue the felt to the inside edge of the bottle. Make sure the felt extends beyond the edge of the plastic evenly all the way around.
Step 5: Repeat Step 4 with the rest of the bottles. Then let them sit for 15-20 minutes while the glue sets.
As you can see here, I haven’t trimmed the felt to the size of the bottle yet. Just leave any excess in place for the moment — I prefer to trim it after Step 6.
Step 6: Fold the felt over the outside of the bottle and glue it in place. Place paper clips around the edge to hold the felt in place while the glue dries. Repeat this process on the rest of the bottles and let them dry for an hour.
Once the glue is dry, trim away the excess felt.
Step 7: Decide on the best arrangement of bottles for your desk or drawer, and then use craft glue to join the bottles together at the felt-covered edges. Use a generous amount of glue — if it oozes out between the bottles a little, this is fine. It will dry clear.
Step 8: Let the glue dry completely, and then fill your organizer. And you’re done!
About the Author:
Diane Gilleland produces CraftyPod, a blog and bi-weekly podcast about making stuff.