So, you’re trapped indoors because it’s -90 degrees outside, and you’re going a little stir crazy. How can you combat the cabin fever that drives so many people up the wall at this time of year? Make stuff. Getting crafty doesn’t mean that you have to go and spend all of your (meagre) left over X-mas cash on supplies: there are a bunch of crafty things that you can make with items that are probably hiding around your house right now. Do you have any household twine? Jute or hemp cord? Empty bottles? Brilliant! Hit the jump to see some of the cool things you can make with them right now.
Lanterns and Plant Hangers
One can never have too much light (or too many plants!) during the darker days of winter, and these hanging lanterns allow you to add a bit more vibrance to your space.
What You’ll Need:
- Assorted glass jars
- Masking tape
Macrame was super popular in the 70s, and with good cause: it’s super simple and gives you the opportunity to recycle a bunch of stuff. Inhabitat’s Emily Peckenham wrote a fabulous article with step-by-step photo instructions on how to make hanging planters, and you can easily adapt this method to hold tealights or votive candles instead of plants.
These hanging planters/lanterns are ideal for bringing color, life, and light to your home without plopping extra clutter onto surfaces. You can grow flowers, herbs, or succulents if you hang them in sunny windows, or even deck your place out in tillandsia “air plants” for low-maintenance greenery. If you prefer lanterns, aim for soy or beeswax candles to cut down on interior air pollution.
What You’ll Need:
- Clean, empty glass bottles (wine, Orangina, liqueur, etc.)
- Hot glue gun + sticks
- Spray paint (optional)
Now, there are a couple of different ways in which you can decorate bottles with twine to make interesting vases: you can either wrap completely in twine and then add little trinkets or other additions to them, or you can wrap twine around them more loosely, paint over them, and then pull the twine away after the paint has dried.
The former technique will leave you with a very rustic-looking vase that has a gorgeous texture to it. To create these, just squeeze a drop of hot glue near the base of an empty glass bottle, hold one end of your twine in place until it’s adhered well, and then start wrapping. If you’d like to ensure a lack of slippage, you can drizzle hot glue all over the bottle’s surface before winding the string around it, as everything will be held together nicely and won’t unravel as you work. When you’re done, just glue the end into place rather firmly, and add ribbons, charms, or other accoutrements to your heart’s content.
For a more elegant aesthetic, wind the twine around your bottle fairly tightly, but leave gaps all around so you can see the glass clearly beneath it. Then, cover the surface of the bottle with spray paint (in a well-ventilated area!). Once the paint is dry, gently peel away the twine: it’ll leave a pattern of glass beneath. This works exceptionally well on glass jars, as you can pop tealights into them and have the light shimmer through the paint-free sections.
You know, you can actually use the bottle-wrapping technique to cover just about anything. Wrapped aluminum cans suddenly become ideal storage containers for pens, crayons, marbles, or reusable straws. A dollar-store garbage bin suddenly becomes rustic and charming when wrapped in jute, and you can decorate bedroom doors with large foam letters that have been wrapped in twine as well.
Household twine is rather sturdy stuff, and as such, is pretty much ideal as a potholder: it doesn’t conduct heat, and is thick enough to create a strong barrier between your hand, and a hot baking dish.
To create these guys, just follow the same instructions for the knit or crocheted washcloths/dishcloths piece published a few weeks ago. Just make sure that you’re using metal crochet hooks or knitting needles while doing so, though; twine is quite thick and heavy to work with, and you may end up snapping plastic tools in a moment of tug-worthy frustration.
In addition to using these squares as potholders, you can also use them as protective mats on your table when placing hot dishes on its surface.
Household twine really does have so many uses, including keeping us occupied during snowstorms!
An avid permaculture gardener, locavore, and novice (but enthusiastic!) canner, Lana Winter-Hébert joins Inhabitat after spending the last decade working as a writer and event guru for non-profit/eco organizations. She has contributed to both print and web-based media for clients across North America and Europe, and is slowly plodding her way through her first novel-writing attempt. Born and raised in Toronto, she has given up city life and moved to the wilds of rural Quebec with her husband, where they collaborate on graphic design projects for their company, Winter-Hébert. Their new, rustic lifestyle is chronicled in her two personal blogs:33 Leagues from Mount Royal, and The Green Pigeon, where she touches upon the ins and outs of homesteading and self sufficiency in the Great White North. When she isn’t writing or delving into artstuffs, Lana can be found reading, wrestling with various knitting projects, or tending her garden.