DIY Eco-Hip Accessories
By Nancy Minsky
Here are three hip accessory projects that you can make yourself. They are imaginatively created from discarded household plastic containers. Easy projects that open the door for fresh ways to recycle, their bold, cheerful style is bound to inject your wardrobe with a high-fashion buzz.
Gathering the materials is part of the design adventure. The colorful graphics and lightweight characteristics of the plastics allow you to pile them on in daring, oversized proportions and crazy color combinations. For each project, use the list of materials as a guide, adjusting it to the empty containers that you have in your home and to your favorite colors. It’s no-rules fun to make and wear these accessories, and any goofs can just be tossed back in the recycle bin!
Candy-Striped Rubber Drop Earrings
These earrings are dangly and feel very 1960s modish. The funky orange rubber bands and the candy-striped yogurt containers were the inspiration. This project takes about a half hour to complete and requires no previous experience.
Different empty, clean plastic containers (3) In the photo are transparent, fuchsia, and striped ones.
6"-long orange rubber bands (2)
Ear wires (2)
Step 1:Cut oval shapes out of empty plastic containers: Cut six 2"-long ovals from a red and white striped yogurt container. Cut four 1 1/2"-long ovals from a transparent plastic shampoo container. Cut twelve 2 1/2" ovals from a transparent, light blue water bottle.
Note: I cut out one oval shape, then laid it on top of the container as a template and cut out the others.
Step 2: Punch a hole at one end of all the ovals.
Step 3: Pass half of the ovals through a rubber band, alternating concave and convex, in an assorted, colorful mumble-jumble order.
Step 4: Slip the rubber band ends onto an ear wire.
Step 5: Repeat for the other earring, following the exact same order of the ovals, so that you create a matching pair.
Kiwi Hoop Earrings
The oversized proportions and eclectic mix of kiwi netting and cottage cheese containers with a scrap of beaded organza ribbon creates a whimsical and daring fashion statement. The earrings look wonderful worn with a simple cotton T-shirt, and stunning worn out for an evening event. This project takes about an hour to complete and requires some hand-sewing experience.
Fruit or vegetable net bag (The kiwi bag has an especially iridescent glow.)
Cottage cheese containers (2) These were covered with green graphics.
Pieces of 1 1/2"x5"-long organza ribbon (2)
Handful of assorted green and blue beads and sequins
Ear clips (2)
Sewing needle that will fit through your beads
Sewing thread to match the organza
Glue for plastic
Step 1: The organza ribbon: Sew, with a continuous thread, the beads and sequins onto the organza in a mumble-jumble order. Back it with another piece of organza and stitch together around the perimeter. Then form it into a soft loop, stitching closed with a 1/2" overlap.
Step 2: The kiwi net: Cut off the metal tips of the net bag and cut in half, lengthwise. The finished length will measure about 12". Take one half and slip it through the organza loop and form a square knot by tying 2 knots: first crossing the right end over the left, then the left end over the right end. Tuck the loose ends inside the organza ribbon and stitch them together with a 1/4" overlap.
Step 3: The cottage cheese container: Cut off the top lip of the cottage cheese container. Then, beginning at the top, cut a continuous, 1/4"-wide, spiral. Slip it through the organza ribbon, slipping the end through over and over, about 5 times, to form loops. Glue the ends together with about a 1" overlap. Hide the glued ends inside the organza ribbon, and tack in place with a few dots of glue.
Step 4: Attach your ear clip to the back side of the net knot.
Step 5: Repeat for the other earring, following exactly the same proportions so that you have a matching pair.
This charm is a blast of vibrant color and shape. It’s contemporary and cool. It takes about a half hour to complete and requires no experience.
Different empty, clean plastic containers in a dynamic color combination (4) In the photo are turquoise, orange, white, and transparent blue.
2 1/2" carabiner
Step 1: Cut about 2 dozen oval shapes out of your plastic containers, ranging in size from about 2" to 3" in length.
Step 2: Punch a hole at one end of every oval.
Step 3: Slip the ovals onto the carabiner, mixing up the colors and shapes.
Step 4: Attach a ribbon or a chain through your carabiner and wear it as a necklace or attach a snap bolt and hang it as a charm on your cellphone or bag to brighten up your day!
About the Author:
Nancy Minsky is a fashion designer and the author of Denim Revolution, a book filled with high fashion DIY projects to create from cast-off denim. She loves crafts and is always searching for ways to balance her fashion designs with her eco-lifestyle. Visit her blog at: