Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse, Upcycle: There’s been some fun in the studio this week playing with leftover thin set! As usual, I look at everything that comes through here with a creative eye and the single thought: “what could this be now that it’s no longer used for it’s intended purpose?”

When we purchase new things here that come in hard plastic wrappers, often we cut along the outer edges to get whatever is encased inside out carefully. What’s left, is a lot of pieces of plastic that can’t be used to hold the toy, ear buds, cell phone, etc but it could still have some purpose as a new piece of art!

Of course this could lead to hoarding if the mindset is right. I don’t recommend saving everything that passes through your home “just because we could use it some day”, but I do think using something once or twice more before throwing it away is a very good thing to try to do. And if those odd pieces of broken things are dishes or jewelry, you CAN use it now to create a piece of art. Don’t save them for “some day”.

Mosaics, of course, are the way I use them but many use them for mixed media pieces, or gathering them up and creating something really fun with them as my friends at ReClaim2Fame on Etsy do!

Robot Dachshund - STRETCH - assemblage sculpture - Reclaim2Fame, Price: $255.00

See how looking at something that is no longer useful as it is, as something else artistic and fun can come in handy? I love this shop and always enjoy seeing their new creations. Aren’t they cool?!

Just seeing things in a slightly different way is all that’s needed to have some fun and help keep the landfills less crowded.

These photos are of a piece of plastic that came from a doll who had a pair of boots in it’s package. It is sitting in a container that was used to hold my lunch but now will get filled up with glass and/or dish shards as I work on the next project. While obviously these are no longer needed by the child as a holder for her doll’s boots and the lunch is now gone, they are both still useful pieces of plastic. The clear plastic piece could serve as a mold for leftover thin set!

clear plastic held a doll's boots

Turned another way or looked at with different eyes, the piece of plastic could be used as a mold for some cool shapes.

turned this way it could be a mold for two small comfy mod chairs made out of thin set

I was just given this one so I’ve not used it yet, but I appreciate it when my family asks me: “can you use this?” before just tossing it away. They know, there is a good possibility that I can not only use it, at least once, but create something out of it!

Last week, I used a jar lid and a piece of plastic used to hold ear buds to add my leftover thin set to. The thin set was used for the gazing balls. I had worked all day and was ready to stop but I had thin set left in the container. It was too much to toss out, too little to start another ball which would mean I’d have to mix up more and continue and I was ready to sit down and relax. I looked through the drawers of my work station and found a few things that I saw with different eyes. A jar lid and a piece of plastic could turn out to look really cool with a little creativity.

I carefully lined the inside of each “mold” with a little petroleum jelly and poured the remainder thin set into each one and allowed it to sit overnight. Once solid, I painted them in cool designs and just had fun with them. I call them “Chunks of Art”.

The next time I go into the craft store I’m picking up some of those heavy duty magnets and making this fridge art. Woo!!

Measures: 1-1/2 x 2 x 1/2 inches

This cool oblong shape is painted with gray interior paint and acrylics, the lines are drawn on with perm. marker. I used the plastic piece twice before it split in a bad spot and I had to throw it away.

Measures: 2-3/4 inches

The jar lid had a great shape to it and I knew I’d do something retro with the designs on both. This too will eventually get a magnet or two on it.

Because I enjoyed making these two, I will continue to experiment with shapes.

These would make great stocking stuffers so that means next year I just might have enough to give, sell and share. Awesome!!

Look around your home. Do you see something that might no longer be useful as it is but could be used as a piece of art or given to someone who is creative and could use it?

Below is a beer bottle I’ve covered in dish shards. I was looking around the kitchen one day and thought how cool these smaller bottles were. I like to use wine bottles to mosaic but never considered doing the same thing to a beer bottle. I think it looks so cool and can hold a single flower or an incense stick. I may have shared this photo before but I think it’s worth another look. 😉

beer bottle transformed into a flower bud vase (not for sale) and small tea light luminary which is available in my shop on Etsy

Planetary activity: I mentioned last week that the glow from the gazing balls is pretty amazing when the sun hits them just right. I managed to capture what I see on a daily basis and wanted to share that here.

EarthMotherMosaics' mirror gazing balls making star-like reflections

Etsy News: And speaking of my garden art gazing balls, this week I was honored to have the custom ordered item for them featured in a Treasury. It’s got a blue theme and is so pretty! Please take the time to click on the photo below and take a look!

Tumblr News: The theme this week is “Recycle Repurpose Reuse” and I’ve found some seriously phenomenal items on Etsy this week for it. On Saturday I will share the week in a photo blog here but if you want to see them as I find them, follow me on tumblr:

Have a great week. Stay peaceful.

©2011 Cindy White, EarthMotherMosaics