Repurposed Strainers Planters Fun DIY

This time of year is the greatest … back out in the garden, doing yard work, and mowing. I get some of my best thinking done while on a mower. 

Best of all, our year of homeschooling was successfully completed last week!  I think the whole family let out a big sigh of relief over that, lol. You definitely have to give teachers and others who homeschool every year a standing ovation; it’s a lot of work, and patience.

Anyway, having a little free time on my hands now, I made something quick and fun to hang on a couple of ugly poles in my yard.

I have a small pile of metal strainers and such that I’ve found in the salvage dropped off for my husband.  Seems no one wants the poor things unless they’re a special vintage piece. 

I used to collect the most interesting ones and we would heat the handles a bit to bend them upright and be used as hangers.  I’d sell them at vintage markets for a couple bucks each. The large mesh ones were the most popular, but not as easy to come by anymore.

Many of you know I have a thing for metal flowers too.  If you’re lucky you can find some that are constructed with a screw and nut which makes them really easy to work with.  I usually find flowers at garage sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. My stash was getting pretty thin until I recently scored some beautiful ones from my sister and her husband who own Mc’Do-its Upcycled, Repurposed and Flea Markets. It’s awesome having them so close, they’ve had just what I was searching for on several occasions.

I’m ready to share what I came up with, but please remember there are no limits when it comes to projects like these.  Use whatever you have; paint, washers, glass donuts, wire, buttons, etc.  I played around with several ideas before settling on the ones I wanted.

Had to have a touch of blue –

I was going for a blue enamelware look with this little guy. Exterior blue paint, white speckles, and clear spray sealer.

An eye bolt was added to the back to help it hang evenly and provide a loop for a wire to be threaded through and secured to prevent rocking from side to side. Two glass donuts were wired to the handle.

This vintage look might be my favorite –

I love this combination. Red exterior paint, clear spray sealer. An eye bolt was added again, this time with an extra nut glued to the exterior before painting. I used JB Weld for gluing. After determining placement, holes were drilled for the screws on the back of the flowers and they were tightened into place. The stem was wired on. Decorative metal beads were painted and sanded lightly for the flower centers and glued on.

Here’s another useful tip – slide pieces of wax paper under the pieces you are wiring on to prevent your base paint from getting scratched.

Boho anyone? Just because it has a hanger doesn’t mean you have to hang it.

Exterior orange paint, red speckles, clear spray sealer. A medallion was made with a large decorative coat button on top of a glass lamp piece. The wire is threaded through the button and through a hole in the glass piece. The wires went through an old button on the inside of the basket to hold it securely.

And then there’s this one, just because I thought it would be cute in the kitchen.

So, what do you think? Don’t these look like fun? Please, feel free to comment if you like. I love hearing from readers.

Back soon!

My Sunflower Garden Gate DIY Tutorial

A garden gate was nowhere in my radar this fall. But, after pulling some beautiful rusty sunflowers from a pile of junk someone dropped off at our house, I had to use them. Having a husband in the salvage business does have its rewards. Anyway, they were on tall stems and looked like they had held a candle or solar light of some sort.

I laid them on a rusty gate, along with a faded, metal flower. The materials looked good together, but the sunflowers were too small to use.  The yellow flower would be the perfect size, but I only had one.  What to do? 

I left everything laying out, pondering over them as I piddled around with other things.  I really wanted to use those rusty flowers, I just wished they were bigger.  Could I do something to them to make them look bigger? Put something behind them, and make them the centers? That was it!  Once I began looking at them as the centers of flowers, things started coming together.  

The plan – cut two new flowers from scrap aluminum, using the yellow flower and its leaves as a pattern, then give each a rusty flower center to pull them together. 

First, the sunflowers had to be taken apart.  With my husband’s help, the welded hinges and other small pieces were removed carefully with a low temp torch.  I slowly pulled them off with pliers as he controlled the heat.  The stems were saved for later.

Flower pieces and leaves were cut from thin aluminum.

I taped the flower head pieces together and wired them to the gate to determine their placing. The leftover stem pieces were held up to the flowers and cut to the lengths needed, making sure they were long enough to go behind and be glued to the back of the flower.  The placing of the leaves was determined the same way.  Shorter leftover stem pieces were curved slightly and cut for the leaf stems.

File the sharp edges of the aluminum pieces.  Buff them with steel wool before priming and painting.

Glue the rusty sunflower centers to the front of the flowers.  NOTE – Always when gluing, the paint must be scraped from the surfaces to be glued – both surfaces must be clean and paint free. Let dry. 

The short curved stems were glued to the backs of the leaves.  Let dry.

The flower was placed face down and propped level to glue the stem to the back of the flower. Let dry.  Touch up paint, over the glue.

Glue leaves to the stem. Let dry.  After the leaves were dry, the flower was turned over and glued on the front of the leaf stems too. Let dry.  The stems and leaves were painted.

The gate was scrubbed clean and sprayed with clear sealer.

The flowers were wired to the gate in several places along the main stem and behind the flower.  Because they were glued on, I avoided putting any pressure on the leaf stems.   I painted a little green paint over wires that were showing.  A small amount of white paint was lightly sponged on the rusty centers. The thin aluminum petals and leaves were curved and shaped to add dimension.

The little dragon fly from the yellow flower was wired on after it was brightened up with some glass wings and a nugget.  I don’t know what I’d do without my squeeze clamps.  🙂 

And there you have it!  Now, let’s just hope winter doesn’t get here before Thanksgiving.

I’m stepping clear out of my comfort zone with my next post and will be attempting an easy Christmas sewing project.  We’ll have to see how that goes …

Please, mask up, wash those hands, and stay healthy and safe my friends, I’ll be back soon.

Rustic Sunflower Fall Wreath DIY and A Bit More

Oh, how I love spending long, fun filled Fall days full of junk jaunts and tag sales with my daughters and sisters.  With all the virus concerns, we’ve not been out to any all summer, but are hoping to get masked up and maybe squeeze one in next month.  While poking around in my overloaded garage, sorting and tossing, I’m discovering a lot of treasures from our past outings, recalling the plans for them, and remembering some of the crazy times we had. 

One such past find was a pair of metal sunflower candleholders; perfect for Fall decor.  It really makes my day when I find a treasure like this to bring home, repurpose, and play with. When I found them, I knew right away I’d be filling the center with something.

The small round legs popped off easily with pliers.  The leaves were removed with bolt cutters, and saved. To build up height in the centers, a small circle of ½” plywood was glued into each one.  I wanted some shine to show through the translucent glass nuggets I would be using, so I cut circles from a discarded piece of antiqued mirror to glue over the plywood. Small circles of thin metal could also be used in place of the mirror. Different sizes of amber, brown, and clear glass nuggets were glued to the mirror, leaving a small space around each one. After letting the glue dry 24 hours, the nuggets were grouted with sanded grout.  I mixed a small amount of brown paint with my black grout to get the color I wanted.  Let grout dry overnight before sealing.

Searching through my stashes, I found an awesome piece of rusted steel wire and some beautiful green and gold blown glass grape bunches.  The wire,  I pulled from a salvage pile last year, and the grapes were found in an antique mall in Texas several years ago. They had broken leaves, and I paid a bit more than I would usually do, but they were so darned pretty.  And now, I’m really glad I did.

Not being one for flowery, frilly things, the wire piece worked perfectly for my taste; I could use the twisted wire knot to take the place of a bow.  

With 22ga, thin black wire, the flower was wired on first, then the leaves, and grapes.  I added some rusty springs to give it just a little bit more. 

I love the versatility of projects like this.  These sunflowers can be attached to just about anything, and used indoors, or out.  I did a little playing around with some other ideas too, and thought I’d share them just for fun.  You’ll have to let me know what you think ..

Keep it simple.  Paint a couple metal leaves to add around a flower; attach it to a chalkboard, or a welcome sign.

 A wire wreath is big enough for the pair. No ribbon for a wreath bow?  Cut strips of fiberglass window screening and loop one.  There’s easy bow instructions on YouTube.

How about a mailbox cover?  A metal nail strip was stitched to wire hardware cloth and shaped in an arch.  Hold it in place underneath with mini bungee cords.  

For an open porch, I think a small arrangement with a sunflower and raffia would look great too, tied around the neck of a milk can filled with tall florals, or ornamental grasses; but I didn’t have time, a porch, or florals to get that put together. 🙂

A wide variety of small, inexpensive metal and glass pieces can usually be found at garage sales, and tag sales, so keep an eye out if you like repurposing and working with salvaged materials.  It’s good to get in the practice of looking at a piece and taking it apart in your mind to see how it’s parts can be used in other ways before carting it home.

Please feel free to comment, or share my post if you like. Take Care and Stay Healthy. 

Rustic Garden Wreath DIY Tutorial

I love the look of rustic art in the garden, don’t you? Being a collector of lots of glass things, wire scraps, rusty junk, and all kinds of tidbits, I’m excited when I can gather some of my pieces that all work together, and make something eye pleasing for mine.

With salvaged art, there’s no rules, right or wrong, that’s the fun of it. Just do what works best for you.

Duplicating the items I used is not feasible, I know, but, I wanted to share some tips and tricks I used in hopes of spurring inspiration for fellow creatives. 

I asked my husband to save a pile of heavy springs when they showed up as salvage last fall.  I’ve walked past them 100’s of times and always had the same thought; I’m gonna make a wreath out of one of those someday.  I knew there was a metal flower collecting dust in the garage that would look great on one, I just never got going on it. 

 

Recently, I was breaking down some bottles for other projects when the idea of glass leaves popped into my head… that was it, now it was time to make a wreath.

Tackling the heavy spring was the first step. It was about 30 inches long and wouldn’t hold a circular shape on it’s own.  A length of heavy fencing wire was shaped into a circle and inserted inside the spring for support. The ends of the fencing wire were hooked together and squeezed tight to secure.

The funky ends were cut off of the spring.  With the help of a screwdriver, a scrap piece of wire was wedged into the first end rings of the spring so they could be held open for wiring the ends together flush.

 

The barbed wire stem was cut from the flower,  For added interest, a short, chunky spring was wired into the center of the flower.  A long wire was used for this step so it could go through the flower and be used to wire the flower on later.

 

Pieces of a Captain Morgan bottle were used for leaves.  I smoothed the edges of the glass with a glass grinder, but a piece of emery cloth, or a Dremel tool with a diamond grinding bit will work too.

Arrange the leaves and flower on the wreath, covering the wired spring ends.  After deciding placement, wire the leaves on first with a thin pliable wire, then the flower, covering the wired ends of the leaves. 

Take advantage of any small curves in the glass leaves to help hold the wrapped wires tightly.  As an added precaution I glued chunks of glass, or washers, near my wires to prevent any slipping.  Washers can also be glued between the spring and flower/leaf arrangement to tighten or brace an area.

The ends of my heavy wire leaf shapes were difficult to bend.  I opted to attach a thin wire on one end of them, then thread it through under the flower and between other wires.  Secure the wire to the other end of the leaf shape. Arrange and tighten until snug.

Before finishing up, I decided to add another glass leaf, used E6000 to add a couple interesting rusty bits, and tuck in one of my salvaged art blooms.

    

I do believe, this is just what that little corner of my garden needed!

 

 

 

 

Salvaged Art Blooms DIY Tutorial

A new glassical idea …

Sometimes a project will lay untouched because its lacking that little something more, and I can’t find just the right thing.  That was the case with a garden wreath I had started over a month ago. But, finally after sifting through old jewelry and my basket of rusty stuff, I discovered a way to make some cute little blooms that would work beautifully in many instances.

It all started with a handful of small Christmas bells….

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Curious to see what one would look like, and thinking it might resemble petals, I bent back the top .. and there was that big beautiful center just waiting to be filled with something pretty.

open bell

Pearls and glass beads were glued in with E6000.

bell with pearls

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After the glue was dry, the petals were rolled back slightly and shaped with round pointed pliers. 

A wire stem was inserted through the small metal loop on the bottom the bell, and squeezed tight.  Some loops were brittle from rust, which made them fragile. I pre-shaped my wires before inserting them to avoid any unnecessary pressure, or twisting, on the loop.

bell on wire

A rusty star shape was glued to the bottom of the large mauve bead, and chosen for my project.  It’s done now and will be ready to share with you in a few days.pink bead bell

 

The pearl flowers have really grabbed my attention. I adore them, and already have something special in mind for them. 🙂

pearl bells

These little blooms have me looking at all my little scrap bits and pieces a little differently now as I sort through them ..  there’s a lot of possibilities out there.  

baubles

Have a wonderful day, I’ll be back soon!