(Technically, this post is a double-whammy of stash-busting, as both the plastic and paper piles get got!)
I hoard plastic containers. I find it really difficult to throw away the kind of pots I am certain will come in useful some day – creme fraiche and cottage cheese containers, Philly tubs and stir-fry veg trays. Some get used to store leftovers in the fridge, but others – particularly those without lids (or whose lids I somehow misplace…) languish in the back of the cupboard, waiting to spill out onto the floor the next time I reach for the tuppaware. Not a great use of space or resources…
The trick to using these up is in recognising the usefulness of their individual shapes. The stir fry trays, perhaps cut to a shallower depth, are ideal for making into sorting trays (very useful if you keep your buttons in jars like I do, or for the kids’ lego bricks, meccano cogs and wax crayons). Taller pots – soup containers for example, are ideal for storing pencil crayons or felt tip-pens. And the cream and cottage cheese pots are absolutely ideal for making pot plant holders. All you need do is make them sturdy enough to stand up to regular punishment – by covering them with papier mache (click for papier mache instructions).
Papier mache can be done using any old and unwanted paper, whether the local free newspaper, last year’s phone book, scrap from the printer… The point here is only to build up a few layers to create a stronger base.
When making a pot plant holder, you can leave the inside of the container bare – it’s plastic, afterall, and the point is to take advantage of its waterproof nature! If you’re making sorting trays you might want to build up the inside too, to add extra strength to the structure.
Once the outer layers are completely dry (I’d suggest leaving them in a warm, dry place for AT LEAST 24 hours to be sure of this) you can decorate your holder however you see fit. I used images torn from a magazine article for mine, built up on a base of black tissue paper, but you could:
- add a top layer of magazine print, cartoons or coloured tissue paper
- paint a blank canvas onto which you could paint or decoupage your design
- hand them over to the kids along with a load of wax crayons and marker pens to make an ideal birthday present for Mum/Grandma!