Upcycling tutorial: make a tote, basket or rug with plastic bag yarn

The plastic problem is still huge and creating big problems in oceans, in landfill and just generally making the earth look very ugly. Still, I am an optimist, and I believe change is coming, not tomorrow maybe, but we are heading in the right direction. People are generally becoming more aware of the ecological impact of especially single use plastic and social media is full of posts showing ideas of how to reduce the use of it in your own household. I am still guilty myself of doing unplanned, spontaneous grocery shopping, subsequently accepting single use carrier bags. I buy coffees on the go in takeaway cups. It is hard to be consistent and strict about these things while they are still constantly offered to us.

plastic-bag-sb10063890a-001.jpg

 


Last year India banned all forms of disposable plastic in Delhi. Europe is proposing a ban on single-use plastic items such as cutlery, straws and cotton buds in a bid to clean up the oceans. The legislation is not just about banning plastic products. It also wants to make plastic producers bear the cost of waste management and cleanup efforts, and it proposes that EU states must collect 90% of single-use plastic bottles by 2025 through new recycling programs.

upcycling tutorial

So that’s a bit about where we are at with single use plastic…but what about turning single use carrier bags into something that is usable for much longer, while they are still in existence? I am always in awe of how creative and resourceful humans are around the world. Who knew you could knit and crochet with the stuff?


How to make plarn?

 


1. Make a Crocheted tote bag our of plarn

 

plarn tote bag upcycling tutorial
Image and tutorial (in Spanish): La ventana azul

Image: MontClairMade


Plastic bags can be incredibly versatile and turned into very strong yarn for crocheting. When choosing bags for your project, consider color and texture. Select bags that are similar in thickness to create an overall good effect. Combine different coloured bags to create a pattern of colour, colour changes and patterns.

Supplies you’ll need:

20-25 clean grocery bags
Plastic crochet hook, size 6.50mm K
Scissors

Ready to give it a go?

Take me to the tutorial


plarn basket upcycling tutorial
Image: Jessyratfink

 

2. Make a basket out of plarn

A waste basket…out of waste! I love baskets for all sorts of uses, including toys, craft supplies, hats and gloves at the front door or yes, for paper waste.  How cute is this one made out of plastic carrier bags? And even better, no crocheting required.

Want to learn how?

Take me to the tutorial


3. Make a rag rug out of plarn

Great for outdoors, at the front door or in the bathroom, rag rugs made out of plastic carrier bags make surprisingly great mats. Here is an upcycling tutorial on how to make them. No crocheting needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Upcycling project: a vintage display cabinet goes oriental

I don’t have much time these days to work on furniture as much as I did on this upcycling project, but I think it paid off. I found the old display cabinet in a charity shop and it immediately caught my eye. It is always a guess what you come across in these places, but I just knew that this one had potential. And for 30 pounds, it was a steal.

seeing the potential

The vintage cabinet had gorgeous carved detailing around the edges, original, rippled antique glass panels and a design on the doors that reminded me of Japanese patterns. Japanese patterns, I thought? I think I have just the thing for that. Time to breathe some life into this treasure.

upcycling project graphite chalk paint

 

Repurposing vintage kimono silks

It was a smelly old cabinet.  The first thing I did was rip out the old vinyl lining paper from the back wall. It had obviously been stuck on in the sixties. I considered sticking some kind of patterned paper back on, but then I remembered a patchwork I had been sewing ages ago. I once ordered a batch of vintage kimono silk remnants and been trying to turn them into a blanket. As with many projects, it never got finished. How about I try and line this display cabinet with it? That would be perfect!

graphite chalk paint for the upcycling project

I chose a graphite chalk paint to cover up the dull dark brown varnish on the wood. I lightly brushed some dusky pink over the floral carving on the edging to make it stand out more. The inside I painted with the same pink. A wax and a bit of elbow grease gave the cabinet a nice sheen without becoming too glossy.

The cabinet is beautiful, unique and I am proud of the way it turned out.

It is so satisfying to bring an old discarded piece of furniture back to life and I think that whoever owned it in the past would be pleased to see it being loved again. I hope the future owner will treasure it forever.

upcycling project graphite chalk paint

upcycling project graphite chalk paint

upcycling project graphite chalk paint
upcycling project graphite chalk paint
upcycling project graphite chalk paint
upcycling project graphite chalk paint
upcycling project vintage kimono
upcycling project vintage kimono

New stock: rocking chairs, sofas and retro writing desks

‘Upcycled’ metal rocking chair £135

Pair of kitchen stools, recovered in floral oil cloth £35 each or £60 for both

Mid century Danish teak sofa, reupholstered in grey cotton blend fabric £295
Mid century Danish teak sofa, reupholstered in grey cotton blend fabric £295
Lovely collection of purple glassware, from £6

Mid century Danish teak writing desk £160

Mid century Danish teak writing desk £160

Mid century Danish teak writing desk £160

‘Upcycled’ (painted top, sides and front details) vintage writing desk £95

‘Upcycled’ (painted top, sides and front details) vintage writing desk £95

Rocking chair revamp – patchwork project

I recently picked up a rocking chair – not incredibly ‘vintage’ (probably less than 30 years old), but a good shape and well built – possibly G Plan. The cushions had seen better days though and when a customer showed an interest in buying the chair I suggested doing it up for her in a patchwork style, using lots of lovely blue and grey fabric scraps I had lying around in the studio. I left the frame in its original blond wood state as I felt it matched the ‘Scandinavian’ look of the patterned fabrics and style of the chair. This is the result. I’m pretty pleased with it and I am sure it’ll look lovely in its new home!

Create an eclectic country cottage look with this vintage Ercol style suite, glass light shades and upcycled kitchen dresser.

Wonderful vintage cottage suit Ercol-style. Painted cream and with new foam cushions in sage green. £195.00 for the sofa, chairs £125.00 each or buy the whole set for £395.00. Width of sofa approx 120cm, chair 70cm.
Please contact me to arrange a viewing or to purchase.

 

 

Lovely delicate glass pendant light shades. One small, one larger. Great for kitchen or hallway. £15.00 and £25.00.

Beautifully painted and lightly distressed kitchen dresser in duck egg blue eggshell paint. perfect for your country kitchen. Top shelf bit can come off. Dimensions 170 (incl top bit) x 96 x 45cm. £195

 

 

Nina’s Apartment is restocked and open for business!

My latest creation already supervising an upcycling project

So I guess my maternity break or whatever you call it when you’re self-employed is kind of over and I am back to work. Well, as much as is practically possible with a 9-week old baby and a toddler to look after in between gathering stock, painting, styling, taking photos, advertising and speaking to customers.  But as a true ‘mumpreneur’ that won’t stop me from doing what I love: hunting down beautifully designed pieces, giving them a new lease of life and selling it in my shop!

After the successful pop-up events at Nina’s Apartment in March organised by fellow traders, I have my shop to myself again. New stock is now arriving regularly, so it’s worth keeping an eye on the website or facebook page to see what’s new.

The shop is currently open by appointment only, but visits can be arranged on most days, so please get in touch if you want to come by. No obligation to buy anything, if you just want to pop in and have a look that is absolutely fine. Hope to see you soon! Nina X

Here’s a few photos of what’s in the shop just now:

Solid teak retro dressing table + stool by Austinsuite £195

 

Upcycled retro dressing table £125

 

Retro mirror £25, painted mirror on the floor £49, upcycled Parker Knoll rocking chair £185

 

Vintage demijohn £49, metal trunk £45, antique wooden travel trunk with labels £85, foldable cake stand £25

 

Retro (McIntosh?) extending teak dining table with six chairs £350
Vintage G Plan wing chair upholstered in blue velvet £150

The transformation of a battered old retro dressing table

I buy furniture mainly to give it a good clean, polish it up or paint it and then resell it in my shop. But sometimes I come across pieces that I keep for my own use. I picked up this £20 dressing table last week without viewing it, and when it was delivered at my house I was a bit disappointed with the state it was in. I know, what do you expect for £20, but still!

It had a lot of water marks and scratches on the surface and even a big black burn mark from a candle. I tried to give it a polish to make it look any better, but it wasn’t doing anything for me. So last night, as I was painting some other bits of furniture in Annie Sloan’s French grey chalk paint, I thought ‘well, it can’t get any worse than it is!’ and within an hour I had painted the top and sides of the dresser grey. I finished it off this morning with some bees wax to seal it and voila – revamped, updated and looking good!

I am keeping to myself, but if you fancy something like this – a dressing table, cupboard, sideboard, etc – I can hunt down and revamp a similar piece of furniture for your own home. Just get in touch!

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Furniture in stock right now: Danish design, retro sideboards, storage units and more

Ladderax unit with desk £395

‘Trioh’ Danish design teak coffee table £160

Solid wood chest of drawers £85

Danish design teak coffee table with glass top £95

G-Plan low sideboard £140

Retro – super comfy! – swivel chair £150

Vintage ottoman £40

Upcycled bedside cabinet £45

Lloyd Loom ‘Lusty laundry basket £35

Retro 1960s sideboard £245

Upcycled chair. painted and slightly distressed, plus recovered seat £85

Vintage stackable school chairs £40 per chair or £200 for six

Nina’s Apartment…a local vintage shop with European flair

 
If you are on the hunt for a beautiful piece of vintage furniture, a statement mirror or just a splash of colour and uniqueness for your home, you’ve come to the right place. Meet Nina’s Apartment, a vintage shop in Lethenty Mill, just outside Inverurie, Aberdeenshire.

Nina’s Apartment is run and owned by Dutch vintage enthusiast Nina Eggens, who came to live in Scotland eight years ago and was missing the choice in home interior shops she was used to on the continent. After working for different North East arts organisations and becoming a mother she opted for a career change and opened her own shop in 2012. As she puts it, Nina’s Apartment offers people “colour, quality, quirkiness and European flair.” Above all, everything in Nina’s shop is carefully selected and curated, creating an inspiring shopping environment.

“I have always been a collector of vintage and design and am forever reading interior design magazines and pinning myself silly on Pinterest”, Nina says. “I dreamt about opening a shop for years and after having my baby boy 18 months ago I decided it was now or never.”
“I started selling only online and at fairs at first, but soon my house was full of furniture and boxes of china and it was time I found my own premises. My husband was delighted he got his garage back and since opening the shop in October I have been truly overwhelmed by the positive response from customers.”

In the shop you’ll find an ever-changing selection of vintage chairs, recovered foot -stools, painted chests of drawers, mirrors, upcycled lampshades, well-traveled trunks, retro dinnerware and blankets. Sleek mid-century sideboards, tactile Danish ceramics and graphic patterns show Nina’s love for the Scandinavian style, which also shines through in the cushions she designs and makes herself. 


“I love the clean lines and simplicity of Scandinavian design. It never bores and goes with so many different interior styles. I always get very excited when I come across gorgeous items on my travels. Last year I discovered a set of forgotten Hans Wegner wishbone chairs in the back of someone’s shed. Needless to say they sold pretty quickly. ”

One of the strong points of Nina’s Apartment is the mix and styling of products in the shop. This is no coincidence as Nina tries to bring a message across. “Vintage is a very trendy word at the moment, but I want to offer people something that works well in their own, modern interiors in the long term, whether you call it ‘vintage’, eclectic or timeless – as long as it is beautiful and made with care. I want to show them it’s easy and fun to mix and match old and new furniture and accessories in order to create a home with soul and personality, rather than to buy lots of mass-produced items in the same matching colours from the same shop. After all, your home is yours and shouldn’t look like everyone else’s.”

Nina’s Apartment is currently open on Saturdays between 10am and 2pm and by appointment on other days. She also sells at local vintage fairs.
www.ninasapartment.com
Nina’s Apartment can also be found on Facebook and Twitter

Published in Made in Scotland magazine

Revamp of two wing chairs…how to give a tired piece of furniture a whole new life

At a house clearance recently people were trying to sell off a pair of very old and tired wing backed chairs. As they were from before 1950, they didn’t meet fire regulations so if no one would buy them, they would end up in the skip….charity shops don’t take them! Luckily me and Debra from Willow Cottage came to the rescue and took them off their hands.

A few weeks later and this is the result. I choose a charcoal deep grey velvet for the inside and a grey and mustard yellow printed ‘stamp’ fabric for the outside of the chair. Debra selected a 100% wool tartan material to cover the whole of her chair. Initially meant to sell them on to our customers, we both love the chairs so much that we are just going to keep them all to ourselves! (*but do let us know if you want your own chair revamped like this!)

This is what I did to mine…

Charcoal velvet and stamp fabric, plus grey painted legs

And this is what Debra did to hers…

100% Scottish wool

Good results or what? Incredible how they have both turned out and funny to think they were once a matching set…