This is the second edition of "How We Can Help: Save the Earth". I have written and am writing these articles in hopes that someday everyone will be able to help save the Earth, and to reduce, reuse, recycle. Well, here we go! Enjoy the fun and learning!
As I said in my first article, you can use lots of random things that most people refer to as "junk" to make the best presents, which is especially good at this time of year. The first place to look for recycling crafts is always the library! There are some great books our there! Here is some I have found useful:
"EcoCrafts Dream Bedroom" By: Rebecca Craig
"EcoCrafts Gorgeous Gifts" By: Rebecca Craig
"Make Gifts!" By: Kim Solga
"Make It!" By: Jane Bull
Each of those books have some really amazing ideas that are really so simple, and turn out looking like they are professionally made! Here are some of my own ideas for gifts . . .
Beautiful Candle Holder
1 batch of salt dough (recipe at bottom)
Paint of chosen colors
A cookie sheet
Hot glue gun with hot glue
First, make 1 batch of salt dough (Recipe: Mix 2 cups flour, 1/2 Cup of salt, 2 Cups of water, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a saucepan. Mix until it starts taking shape and looks like dough. It should be hot, so do not touch it with you hands until it cools! Then turn off oven and keep mixing dough for 2 minutes. Let dough cool enough so that you can touch it, but do not let it dry out! Then, once cool, take it out and knead it for 1 minute.).
With your salt dough, make a "Snake" (a pole-shape) about 4 inches long and a half-inch around. Put it on the cookie sheet (not in oven!) and begin preheating oven to 100 degrees, or as low as your oven will go. Then, shape more of you dough into a pancake shape, about 3 inches around. Place that on cookie sheet, too. Then, lastly, with more dough, make a little cup shape, and place it on your cookie sheet. If the oven is done preheating, put your cookie sheet into it, and set the timer for 2 hours.
After the 2 hours is up, check on the dough. Everything should be beginning to dry. Keep setting the timer for 45 minutes, then check on them, and do that over and over until the first on dries, which will most likely be the "Pancake" since it's thinnest. Eventually, all of them will be completely dry (it will take many hours). When you think they are done, take them out and squeeze each one between your pointer finger and you thumb. It should be rock hard. If not, try more 45-minute cycles. Once they are completely dry, glue one end of the pole to the pancake with hot glue. Then hot glue the "cup" to the other side of the pole. Voila! You have a simple candle holder! To give it some style, try painting it and hot gluing beads, sequins, and rhinestones to it. Now, you have a beautiful candle holder to give to someone special!
You can also make all sorts of things with salt dough. I know that this project may not seem like a project that helps save money or anything. Think again! The ingredients used to make salt dough are a lot cheaper than buying clay from the store. You can also set out the dough in the sun during warmer months, but if you live up North, like me, you don't see the sun much in December. I actually experimented with just letting my dough projects sit in my closet to dry. It took 7 weeks just to dry some little spheres! And with Christmas approaching, we don't have that time to spare!
When doing recycling projects, always be prepared to at least spend a little money! Sometimes the things you can make are super-cool, but are still an ugly color, or look to plain. That's why I keep a collection of sequins, buttons, plastic rhinestones, beads, and a bunch of other colorful things that can make anything look beautiful! You may also need paint to help something look better. For example, the salt dough projects: When they are done drying, the dough is a pale yellow color. Not too pretty.
Now comes the closing of second edition of "How We Can Help: Save the Earth"! Have fun making your projects and enjoy the Christmas season by giving gifts that are homemade by you, from the heart. Don't forget to check out the books I recommended! They also have some wonderful ideas. Once again I'll say, you would be surprised at how much you can do!