Monday, September 1, 2014

Innovative ways to recycle glass

Most people have a soft spot for glass jars – their tactile smoothness and clear functionality allow them to be reused in a number of different ways.

Their usefulness when it comes to storage is familiar to many – they can be used to store haberdashery, craft materials, stationery, dry food such as rice and beans, various hardware such as nails, bolts, screws and drill bits for example - and let’s not forget the home office, where old glass jars can be filled with staples, paper clips, erasers, pens, and so on. Attractive glass jars can also be used as vases to hold pretty flowers or homemade confectionary, as well as preserves and jams, which can be given to others as presents. In fact, their capacity for storage is really only limited to their size and availability.

However, there are other incredibly innovative ways that you can recycle old glass jars, which are not so commonly known. Here are a few examples:

Let there be light: Turning old glass jars into electrical light covers is an economical way of creating quirkily attractive light fittings that are ideal for any living area, especially those with a more damp environment, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and even the outdoors. All you need to do is to choose a jar, clean it thoroughly, and then attach a light fitting to the inside of the jar’s lid. You do this by drilling a hole through which the electric cable will run and attaching a light socket to the inside of the lid using small screws. Once this is done, seal the cable and screw holes in the lid with silicone to prevent any moisture getting inside the jar. Once the silicone is properly dried, fit a suitable bulb and screw the jar onto the lid to prevent the cable from twisting.

A fish-eye photo frame: Grouping a bunch of jars together in a sunny spot, and inserting your favourite happy snap can make an especially funky photo display, particularly when the sun penetrates and fills the jars. Be sure to select photos whose shape and orientation work well with the chosen jar. Simply cut the selected photo to size, insert into the jar and turn it upside down.

Starry, starry night: Collect old glass jars of all sizes and run them down a long table at night, fill with votive candles and light for an incredibly attractive, eye-catching and warm glow – sure to set the mood for any outdoor or indoor occasion. For added drama and a touch of glamour, you can add flowers to various jars dotted down the line.

Floating greenery: These floating glass jar planters and terrariums are a great addition to any sunny window. To make them, clean a glass jar and sterilise it. Then, starting at the bottom, add a layer of small rocks for drainage, followed by a layer of charcoal to prevent fungus from growing, and then lastly, a layer of potting soil. Then, plant the selected plants in the soil, leaving a little space between the plants to give them space to grow. Then fix some wire around the thread of the jar, making two little wire loops on either side. Tie some fishing gut to each of the loops and hang the jars next to your selected window. Empty jars can also be hung in this fashion, filled with water and used as hanging vases, which incidentally, offer a great place to grow plant slips.

Chandelier glamour: Why not use a collection of small glass jars to make this attractive outdoor chandelier? This particular chandelier has been fashioned from old baby food jars, which have been fixed with a thin wire necklace around their rim, to which a fine plug chain has been attached, which in turn, has been attached to a screw eye that has been screwed into a round piece of metal or wood from which all the little jars hang. The jars have all been hung at various lengths for aesthetic appeal. Each glass jar has then been filled with fine sandpit sand and a votive candle. – Antonella Desi

Pictures courtesy of:

DIY Ideas: www.allgardeningzone.com.
Apartment Therapy: www.davidharbersundials.com.
Ready Nutrition: www.gardenvision.co.za.
Craft Awl: www.craftawl.com.
Mocha Design House: www.mochadesignhouse.com.

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