Treasures from Throwaways, Part Two: The Do-able Ideas Marge Missed


Last week our maniacal, made-up crafter "Marge" went on a complete trash-to-treasure redecorating binge based on a 1976 Better Homes and Gardens book called Treasures from Throwaways. For folks who weren't sure this book wasn't as fictional as our friend Marge, I've included a real-and-for-true cover scan here as evidence. You can call it "Exhibit A."


But today, I'm afraid Marge won't be joining us. (Yes, I feel that sigh of relief myself!) And why? Because I thought we'd talk about some of the more positively inspiring projects from this book-- ideas that you might be able to use and adapt for your own trash-to-treasure projects... and not make your friends and family worry much about your sanity!

What I liked in particular about the projects featured here today is how the "trash" items they use actually seem to transform beyond their mere individual components, into interesting, useful or artistic pieces on their own.

Like these "Striking Candlesticks"...

These exotic metal candleholders are made of tuna cans, juice cans, gelatin molds, tab top rings from old soda cans, chair glides, drain pipe, beads, a steel rod, nuts, bolts and wire.

When I saw these, it occurred to me that folks who enjoy making garden totems would recognize that these candlesticks are done much on the same general principle. Just some ideas for a different sort of treatment of the same concept. And fire-resistant, too!

Next, we have an unusual way to spruce up a plain table using imported olive oil cans...


Not only does a plain old table get a new lease on life, but you get a fairly durable, flat surface to put beverages on, reasonably resistant to moisture. The design becomes solely up to you, depending on what Olive Oil brands and packaging you choose.

Next we have a project that looks time-consuming, but I thought was quite unique. Can you guess what the delicate doll furniture below is made of?


Need a hint? The secret is tin cans, fabric scraps, cotton and enamel paint!...


Tiny dressing tables, chairs, beds and more, all seem possible through some clever, careful snips of the can!

Now this next piece is a bit unusual, but I could see this working in some variation as inexpensive wall art for a very modern kitchen...


The book calls this the "Utensil Safari Wall Mount." But it sort of reminds me of a "Kitchenalia Death Star." Even so, interesting utensils in varying sizes and shapes are mounted onto a backing board and all sprayed a unifying color. The effect offers variety, and is certainly unique.

And last, I wanted to show you three different ways to create fun chess sets from unexpected items. Any idea what these painted wooden chess pieces are made of?...

This particular set is put together from Tinkertoys! Wheels, spools, cyllinders and beads combine to make easily identifiable Kings, Queens, Rooks, Bishops and Pawns.

Another chess set calls for empty thread spools in varying sizes. These have been painted up in checks and harlequin patterns in navy and white, and red and blue...


And this one below is my absolute favorite-- largely because this set has look that is somehow both modern and vintage at the same time... What to do with those old TV tubes?

Here's a closer look...


The tubes sit on bases made of 1/4 inch clear plastic, to retain the translucent, high-tech feel.

Well, I hope the projects featured today might spawn some ideas for you clever t-to-t'ers out there.


I hope these Dog Days of Summer are finding you happy, well, and able to do the things you enjoy most.

12 comments:

Da Old Man said...

I really like the chess sets. Very unique.

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Thanks, Joe-- Me, too. It almost inspires me to want to learn chess! :)

Ms. Tee said...

I somehow stumbled upon your blog recently and I really like it!
My husband's grandma used to make the little chairs out of tin cans and fabric - I hadn't seen them any other place until now. :)
My dad would really love the tinker toy chess pieces - that's so creative.

NJTomboy said...

Oh those are great ideas... Thanks for posting Jenn! it's very inspiring & challenging to say the least!

Carrie said...

These were doable trash to treasure ideas.
By the way, in my post about my chair pincushions, I shared a couple which were made of the curly tin can strips.

Greg said...

The chess sets are kind of cool. That kitchen art thing is interesting, a little weird, though. Why not just display your actual utensils and such as art, so they are handy when you need them and not covered in some unifying shade?

Also, I'm a little disappointed there wasn't a step-by-step review of the creation of those candlesticks early on...they look QUITE cool, and might be fun to have in the garden!! Guess I'll have to go find me a copy of this whacky old book...

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Mrs. Tee- Ah, so you've gotten to see the tin can furniture in person! I will be keeping my eye out at flea markets now, now that I know what they are.

NJ- I could just see you making the chess sets in some clever way.

Carrie- Ah, I'll have to re-check that out. I think I was so overwhelmed by your cute collection, I didn't realize all I was seeing.

Greg- Those candlesticks would have taken a several page description to explain, as each design is explained separately. I can get you some instructions, however, if you think you'd want to make them.

Rosemary said...

Hi Jenn,
Wow!
Who knew you could make stuff like that using cans!! Pretty amazing!
Have a great week,
Rosemary

Evie/VampyVictor said...

I would have to say I love every piece , well Bar the wall decoration ick!.
What great ideas! :)

Bird said...

The chess set and candle holders are fantastic! This is exactly the kind of thing I love and try to do myself. Seeing the potential in trash and turning it into something extraordinary (and practical) is really rewarding and not as hard as you'd think. Thanks for sharing these!

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Anonymous said...

I believe those tubes contain quite high levels of lead, and are supposed to be disposed of at hazardous waste facilities. I would not think that using them as chess pieces would be a safe thing to do, in the event that any of the pieces were dropped, etc.