handmade duct tape wallet photos & notes| sustainability

handmade black duct tape wallet
my first attempt – prototype

I have a few sustainability projects I have been working on lately. I am planning on hemming my pants and also making my own slippers out of felt fabric (we shall see how that turns out), but I also recently made some wallets out of duct tape. These photographs show the prototype or the first attempt one. I used cardboard for sturdiness, but I took it out for the final prototype and it made a positive difference. Don’t use cardboard!

handmade black duct tape wallet
This was made with cardboard for sturdiness, but I would suggest NOT using cardboard. Just use duct tape. It is sturdy enough and lighter and more comfortable to carry.

My partner had a really old one and it was falling apart. I wanted to try and see if I could make it out of the duct tape we had. Fortunately, he really likes the final prototype one (I don’t have photos of that one, but it looks similar to this one in design, not in color.) It is a lot thinner with more card compartments and neater lines. He finds that the duct tape wallets are more light, more versatile (customizable), affordable and easy to fix.

handmade duct tape wallet
This is the prototype one with cardboard (inside view). The final one I made has neater lines and more card compartments (no photo, sorry).

If you were interested in making your own, I suggest Googling duct tape wallets and seeing various images of them to get inspired. Some people have made some really clever and cute ones (the ones I made are pretty basic). I also suggest going on YouTube and watching how-to videos. The one I watched was the brand “Duck Tape” and their video on how to make it. It was fast and fun for me. I could totally see myself make one as a gift, but with a specific theme with brighter colors and neater lines.

Some questions I asked my partner about his final thoughts on this:

What do you miss most about a conventional wallet?

I know that it’s in my pocket because it’s heavy. It looks better than a duct tape wallet. Duct tape wallets are not fashionable, but it is practical.

Would you go back to a conventional wallet or do you think you’ll still with duct tape ones?

I think I’ll stick with duct tape ones because they’re cheaper and easy to repair or make another one.

What are you most happy or most annoyed about with duct tape wallets?

I am happy with the comfort with it and that I know my cards aren’t going to fall out of it (referring to the old broken down leather wallet he previously had). And also they’re cheap.

DIY: felt food (slice of bread and a piece of cheese) keychains or toys | sustainability

I love sewing with felt. Below are instructions to make a slice of bread and a slice of cheese keychain. I wanted to make a set with a fried egg one I made a while ago. They are now a breakfast sandwich family (with a felt kitty) :)

Materials/Tools:
-Ruler
-Two different colored felt pieces for bread (brown/tan and beige-ish) and one yellow/orange one for cheese
-Thread (if you want a neater appearance, choose colors that will blend well with the color of the felt pieces)
-12mm split ring (for however many keychains you plan on making. One per keychain)
-Keychain ring or shower curtain ring
-Needle
-Scissors

Directions (for slice of bread keychain)

1. Measure out the dimensions for how long you’d like your keychain to be (grab the beige felt piece). I made mine 2 inches by 2 inches.

2. Cut out the square piece. I cut it out with a wide “m” shape on top to make it look more like the tops of breads.

3. Grab the tan/brown felt piece and cut out a small piece that will later become the edge piece of the bread. I didn’t do this neatly. I sort of placed the beige bread piece on top of the tan one and estimated the shape I needed.

4. Place it behind the beige bread piece. Make sure to cut the pieces to make it more fitting and smooth.

5. Sew the two pieces together. This is how they will look:

6. Trace the beige bread piece onto the tan felt piece and create an exact shape of it.

7. Take one of the 12mm split ring and cut out a small rectangular tan felt piece. This will create a neater appearance for the ring attachment.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

8. Place it wherever you’d like your keychain to focus. I placed it in the middle, so the slice of bread can stand up straight. Sew all three pieces together and you are done! :)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Directions (for the cheese slice keychain)

  1. Grab your yellow/orange felt piece and cut out two square pieces in sizes of your choosing. Again, since I wanted to make it a set, I decided to stay with the 2 inches measurement.
  2. Now cut out holes in one or both of the felt pieces. If you make the holes on both pieces, make sure to match them in size and shape for a neater appearance.
  3. Remember to make a small keychain attachment with a small rectangular yellow felt piece and 12mm split ring (refer to step 7 from the bread slice instructions). Sew the three pieces together.
  4. Now you are all set. You can attach all these to a keychain ring or shower ring or each individually.

Alternative uses:
-Toys
-Bookmarks
-Patches on clothes or bags
-Decorations
-Small gifts

Notes:

I’m excited to make more in the future. They aren’t hard to make and are more affordable and unique than buying from the store. Since I hand sew these, this method cuts down the use of electricity and carbon to transport to the store. What I love about making these things myself is that they are so easily customizable. I think if I were to do this again, I’d be more picky about the color of the threads since I think the cheese could have looked neater than what I presented.

Did you like any of these?

DIY: mini scrapbook by upcycling toilet paper rolls | sustainability

Materials/Tools:
-Scissors
-Toilet paper rolls (however many you like)
-Hole Punch
-Decorative materials like scrap paper/old greeting cards/magazine cutouts/fortune cookie words of wisdom/washi tape
-Binder clips (optional)
-One shower curtain ring
-Glue/Tape

Directions:

  1. Gather some toilet paper rolls.

IMG_1355

2. Fold them down flat.

IMG_1352

3. If they are being stubborn, you can clip the edges with binder clips.

IMG_1349

4. Decorate! Below are some closer views of the ones I liked most. The one below is made out of an old thank you card, mini film versions of photographs I got included with my developed photos and an old stamp.

IMG_1360

This one below is made up of a magazine cutout, an old thank you card, paper bag, paper hearts from a gold envelope and yellow scrap paper, an old fortune cookie fortune and washi tape.

IMG_1364

5. Hole punch each decorated paper roll. The good thing is, you can always add more since they’ll be connected by a shower curtain ring.

IMG_1356

Here’s what they look like put together:

IMG_1357

Alternative uses:
-Bookmarks
Gift card holder (link leads to the DIY from last year)
-Flashcards for study
-Keychains
-Gift tags
-mini handheld art gallery
-mini photo album

Notes:
I LOVED THIS PROJECT! It was so fun and I felt like it was less overwhelming to decorate and less time consuming because the surface is much smaller compared to traditional scrapbook paper sizes. All materials and tools were things I had at home already.

handmade 2018 planner | sustainability

It’s that time of year again! I love seeing the different styles of each since starting in 2016. If you’d like to see some photographs for my handmade 2016 & 2017 planners, check out this post called “paper-related items” I published last September. For 2016, I believe I just used a blank notebook and filled it in. 2017 and 2018 are made from scratch. My notes for this project are below :)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Items used to make this planner: grocery paper bag, washi tape, black thread (and needle), block letter stamps, stamp ink, black pen, stencils, colored pencils, markers, blue pen, ruler, and loads of scrap paper (I decided to fold them in half, so the blank side could still be used).

Notes: It’s much more minimal this year with no photographs, or magazine cutouts. I also decided to create a table of contents page and numbered the pages. I saw that I didn’t use up all the pages from this year’s planner, so decided to cut down for next year’s. It was fun hand stamping the headings, however, I need more practice for sure. I wish the colors were a little different and that I figured out the dimensions for each day better. I’ll try to remember that for the 2019 calendar :) Lighting and quality varies with each photograph since I used different cameras. Creating holes for the binding took a bit and my hands got sore, but it was totally worth it for me. This project made me want to make more handmade journal-like things.

drawing animated characters

I’m currently trying to practice being present. So I decided to draw a bit for a diy gift I’m giving for a birthday. It helps a whole lot in being focused and it’s therapeutic. We’ve been watching lots of Hayao Miyazaki films lately and they’re addicting. Philosophy, beautiful imagery and compelling stories is quite the combination. Admittedly, I wasn’t too fond of all the stories, but I truly admire all the work it takes to create films in this medium. If you’re not familiar with Miyazaki films, they are Japanese animation films or anime, (but according to Wikipedia, Miyazaki despises the word, so let’s stick with animation instead). I especially like My Neighbor Totoro and one blogger friend Beth suggested, The Red Turtle. Such beautiful, cute and thoughtful films. I drew some film characters below. I’m not the best at it, but I think I’ll get better with practice. I drew with pencil, pen and colored pencils.

The camera or lighting caused the pieces to look lighter than they are.

You may recognize this from the Disney film Bambi. Bambi and Thumper talking with each other.

Mei Kusakabe is a character from My Neighbor Totoro. Very sweet, curious, cute and innocent.

My take on the character Snow White.

Mulan from the Disney movie Mulan.

Totoro and friends!

Did you like any of these?

green tip #11 | sustainability | donate or DIY crafts with your used holiday & thank you cards

For those who are wondering what to do with used cards you receive from loved ones or new ones you don’t plan on using, here’s a suggestion: donate them. I only just learned of this today and I’m happy I came across this. An organization called St. Jude’s Ranch for Children have a used (& new) card recycling program. They accept cards all year round for all occasions. Here is a link to find out more information about this organization: https://www.stjudesranch.org/about-us/

Here is their mission:

“Transforming the lives of abused and at-risk children, young adults and families by empowering them to create new chances, new choices and new hope in a caring community.”

For those who would like to get some DIY crafts going and perhaps use for next year’s holidays, I’ve linked a few resources I found online. I saw some really cool and interesting things!

Martha Stewart Holiday Card Ornaments
Good Housekeeping 8 Ways to Get Crafty with Old Cards
Care2 18 Surprising Ways to Reuse Greeting Cards
Artists Helping Children Recycle and Reuse Christmas Cards with Crafts for Kids

green tip #10 | sustainability | 5 ways to reuse this packaging box

img_6712

Thinking about how to be more eco-friendly really stretches my creativity. I start to see every day items and give it new meaning. I think about their purpose and the materials it is made of. For instance, this box used to carry bottles of water. In the past, I would see packaging and immediately just recycle. Without a thought of what it could be used for in another way.

Then, I would go to a mega-chain store and purchase organizational furniture or products that could easily be made from the packaging we get all the time: empty boxes, yogurt containers, fruit jam glass jars and even plastic take-out containers. Those yogurt containers could be washed out clean and used as pens/pencils/paint brush holders or planting pots for flowers. They usually have a cute & colorful design anyway. The glass jars could be used to carry extra change or office supplies. Turn your cereal boxes into magazine holders or paper organizers.

After reading this post, I am more cautious with what plastic items to re-use (some plastics cannot be re-used and should be recycled after one use).

Since they are packaging material, they are usually made very well. They are durable and sturdy. Yes, they aren’t the most visually appealing when it comes to decorating your home, but this is where the creativity and fun comes in. Get some inspiration from what you would have purchased and go from there. Paint it or design with magazine pictures or photographs or other items of memories.

Regarding the box pictured above, I have a few ideas to re-use it.

1. Fold in the two flaps on the sides, turn it horizontal and it can now be used as a shoe organizer. I have a metal shoe organizer that cost me money and it may even rust later. But this one is free, does the same job and no rusting since it’s paper. (This is actually what I used this box for.)

2. Take more of these boxes and stack them on top of each other. Stick them to each other by glue or tape and cut away the flaps. Now it can be a book shelf, a DVD/CD/video games shelf.

3. Use this box for transporting items that can’t be separated. The slots make it snug for less moving and the divide keeps the items together, but organized.

4. Turn this box into a memory or toy box. Decorate it with amusing fun images from previous travel trips or toys for your children. Maybe store your old yearbooks or scrapbooks.

5. If you have a cat, see if it can be a fun little toy for him or her. Maru the cat loves playing in boxes. Here’s a cute video of him.

Practice this exercise next time you put something in recycling or the trash. Could this be useful somewhere else?

green tip #8 | sustainability | handmade mini journal with pressed flowers

img_6439
I had a bouquet of flowers nearing their final life stages and I didn’t want to just throw them out. I decided to look up how to press flowers. Unfortunately, I didn’t use fresh ones as many sources suggested, but I did it anyway. I waited a few weeks as they were placed between pages of my huge dictionary stacked under other heavy books and things. I did find a tutorial using a microwave method, which I haven’t done, but I’ll leave the link below. Along with it are a few tutorials of how to make your own journals. Again, I didn’t use these, but will probably some day. I think making journals by hand is great because it’s so versatile and earth loving. I see myself making personalized ones for family & friends as gifts or for myself.

Eco-friendly notes:
-This was made entirely with materials I already had at home and many of which were ones I upcycled.
-Alternative to throwing out flowers is to simply compost.
-Alternative to making your own is to buy from a local vendor who uses eco-friendly practices and materials.

Materials this journal was created from: pressed flowers, cardboard from empty pasta box, junk mail envelopes, scrap paper, unused/blank pages from previous journals/planners, stickers, plastic covering from an old planner, clear packaging tape and string I already had in my craft box.


I love it so much. I’m already using it and know that the materials I used to make it is put to better use.

Some pressed flowers tutorials I found online:

How to Press Flowers (Rookie Magazine)
Pressed Flower Tutorial (Modest Maven, microwave method)

Some journal-making tutorials I found online:

journals (curiously crafty.)
Bind Your Own Book (Instructables)

green tip #7 | sustainability | gift card holder from a toilet paper roll

“If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.”

(comment on holiday waste according to a Standford website)

img_6404
Hello friends, happy December 1st. As you may have noticed, I’ve been on a sustainability trail for a few months now. To continue on, I’ve decided to make a gift card holder from a toilet paper roll. This can be used for any gift giving events, especially this holiday season. The visual steps that I took to make this gift card holder is in the slideshow below (you can pause and skip to photos if you want to).

Materials/Tools:
-Scissors
-Scrap paper (to draw the image on)
-Markers, crayons or colored pencils
-Acrylic paint (I used white and dark blue)
-Paintbrush
-Paint Palette
-Pen
-Glue or Tape
-Ribbon or stapler or washi tape (to enclose the ends)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A few tips:
-After each paint session, let the cardboard dry completely. Otherwise, the paper will be less sturdy and paint may chip off.
-If you don’t like the acrylic texture of the cardboard, stick on clear shipping tape over it; like lamination. The surface will be smoother and will protect the cardboard.
-To make the crease more effective, place a heavy book or object on top of the card holder.
-You can fold the cardboard into a gift box, too, if gift card isn’t appropriate.
-Personalize however you like. If it’s for a birthday, draw a cake or cupcake. If it’s for a graduation, write the year in decorative font. It can cater to whatever style/design you want.

If you want some inspiration with making gift boxes out of upcycled materials, feel free to check out my post green tip #4.

green tip #4 | sustainability | gift boxes from upcycling & facts on holiday waste

I had these baby cereal boxes and thought I could create something with them. I thought of an idea that if I inverted the box, it could easily become a gift box. This could also be the case with regular-sized boxes, too. I bet pasta boxes, shoe boxes and all kinds of packaging could work. Here are pictures of some inspiration of how to decorate the box, too. I figured this would be helpful in the upcoming holiday season. The paper I used were from junk envelopes. Needless to say, this could not only save waste, it upcycles the cardboard and makes it into something useful and creative.

Here are some quick facts on holiday waste, (according to a Standford website)

“Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week!”

img_6322img_6326

“If every family reused just two feet of holiday ribbon, the 38,000 miles of ribbon saved could tie a bow around the entire planet.”

img_6327

“If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.”

img_6328

“The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high. If we each sent one card less, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper.”

img_6329

img_6331img_6334

Additional websites I found helpful in giving ideas on how to enjoy the holiday season with loved ones without contributing to the harmfulness of the planet.

Standford’s FAQ on how to prevent holiday waste
RecycleWorks Facts on holiday waste

paper-related items

hey everyone, i recently made my own paper! nothing too grand or pretty for that matter. i didn’t use a blender so the paper looked all kinds of weird & the texture was bumpy. i’m hoping that the next paper experiment i do, it’ll come out a lot better. if you ever feel inspired to, it feels nice knowing that none of the paper is going to a landfill and rather being reused immediately. i’ve seen some videos and photographs of some really beautiful and unique looking handmade paper. one blog i really like following is Brittany Spencer’s blog. she’s an amazing papermaking artist and she also shows art from her students who are extremely talented!

another paper-related item is that i made my 2017 planner. it’s a lot toned down from last year. really basic and simple. it was also a quick project. only took me about a couple of hours to finish everything. i hand wrote everything and didn’t use a ruler and the binding is made with floss i found in a junk drawer. yep, pretty rebellious. here are some photographs:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

the 2017 planner was made from: cardboard included with my bedding sheets package, white floss i found in a junk drawer–i didn’t feel comfortable using for hygienic purposes, paper too wrinkly to print on, photographs i’ve taken, scrap paper from flyers, magazine cutouts, envelope scraps, yarn i got at a thrift store, paper found in picture frames, washi tape, tape, black pen & markers

some 2016 planner photographs:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.