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Creativity Prompt #6 – Turn Your Trash Into Treasure

June 13th, 2008 by Avital

The global warming is a disturbing fact and it is up to us to lead environmentally friendly life. One of my ways of doing so is by using alchemy (a.k.a: recycling). I always think of ways to give a new lease of life to used objects and practically making something out of nothing.

It is much simpler to throw away things than to think about ways of reusing them – but finding a new purpose to something you were about to throw away is a great exercise for your creativity.

Think of all the creative ways you can use junk mail, scraps of paper and card stock, chipboard which is attached to paper pads and scrapbooking supply’s packages. Recycling all these bits and pieces also gives you a great value for your money, which is another great reason to repurpose trash.

This week’s creativity prompt is taking this notion one step farther by reusing empty plastic containers. I love making lasagna but I am always left with at least three empty plastic containers, not very environmentally friendly…

One day, just before throwing away all the empty ricotta cheese containers, I was thinking of all the small embellishments that are cluttering my drawers. Then an idea came to my mind, I should use these containers to store these small embellishments. Two problems solved at once !!

I washed the containers thoroughly to get rid of all the cheese enzymes (apparently they were dishwasher safe) and ended up with pretty ugly small plastic containers. The look of them wasn’t particularly inspiring so my next step was to decorate them. Here’s a short tutorial on how I did that:

Supply –

  • Acrylic paint & paintbrush
  • Circle cutter (I have used both Fiskar’s and Provo Craft’s Coluzzle circle cutting systems)
  • Patterned paper & card stock
  • Permanent adhesive
  • Ribbon or embroidery floss
  • Ink pad

Directions –

Paint the entire container with an acrylic paint. A couple of layers should create an opaque coverage.

Measure the diameter of the container’s lid and cut a circle from the patterned paper accordingly. Note that the diameter of the inside and of the outside of the lid might be different, so make sure to measure them both.

Adhere the patterned paper to both sides of the lid.

Cut a circle tag out of your card stock and ink its edges. Attach the tag to the container (I have attached it by punching two 1/8” holes below the upper rim of the container and weaving the thread through them).

Voilà !!


11 Comments to “Creativity Prompt #6 – Turn Your Trash Into Treasure”

  1. Jane says:

    Awesome idea! My family throws away dozens of these container every week. I never thought I can use some of them to store things like buttons, pens, etc. And it will certainly add some color to my desk!

    Keep the good work,

  2. Avital says:

    Thanks for your kind comment. Feel free to post a link to your creation on the comment stream.

  3. Karla says:

    OMG….this is the coolest thing EVER! Why do I want to go some ricotta cheese just so I can make me some of these! Very neat idea and love how you used the metal rimmed tags! Those are my favorite!!! Thank so much for sharing with us and yes…it’s very important now for us to do all that we can to help our planet!

    Great stuff ^—-^,

  4. Foodaholic says:

    Very good idea. I always try to reuse my containers, but they become such an eyesore when you have too many cluttering up the cupboard. This is great.

  5. Andrea says:

    It’s good to know that acrylic paint does stick on these plastic containers. Now I can see my pantry full of nicely painted and embellished containers. Thanks!

    • Avital says:

      Using it for the pantry is a great idea. You might want to put some gesso as a primer, but the paint stuck quite well without a primer.

  6. Eitan Burcat says:

    First of all – great post, I love it!
    I like the idea very much, but, as far as I know, usually, these paints are manufactured in very un-environmental-friendly ways… I wonder if there are environmental-friendly colors that can be manufactured from local materials.
    Also, it would be nice if the patterned paper could be a reuse of something that was going to be thrown away.
    Anyway, it looks terrific, as always 🙂

    Take care,

    • Avital says:

      That is an important input. I’ve checked this brand and it’s recyclable but it doesn’t mention that it’s environmentally friendly by itself. But it is a good point for me to check in the future.

  7. Avital says:

    I have just found a great line by Tinkering Ink which is made out of 100% recycled papers.


  8. Bonnie says:

    Acrylic paint will not permanently stick to plastic containers such as those, without cracking and peeling when dry.

    • Avital says:

      Thanks for the info. You can prime the plastic containers, lightly file them or spray a sealer on top.