12 June 2013

Groovebulb Upcycle Challenge

I have a huge weakness for cool packaging. My house is full of pretty boxes I'm convinced will be useful one day. I even studied design at university because I wanted to be a packaging designer. So when Groovebulb asked if I wanted to combine my love of packaging, crafting skills and our eco-friendly pledge in an upcycling project, how could I refuse?
Groovebulbs are a relatively new form of eco-friendly light-bulb. Unlike compact fluorescent light bulb which contain mercury, Groovebulbs use LED technology - which also makes them safer to dispose of. And compared to a traditional 40 watt incandescent bulb, the LED Groovebulb runs on just 6 watts and lasts an impressive 25 years!

I'll admit we tend to be quite picky about our light-bulbs. Years ago when we switched to low-energy light-bulbs, we found we had to use 100 watt equivalents to get a similar light to the traditional 60 watt bulbs. So when Groovebulb asked if we wanted a warm or a bright bulb, we opted for the bright just to be safe.

When it arrived we were really impressed with the quality of the light. The bulb really brightened the room, though as expected the light is quite cool. Plus there was no need to wait while the bulb warmed up! I think if we decide to buy more, we'd be quite happy with the warm Groovebulbs in most rooms.

As a bit of an eco-challenge, Groovebulb asked if I could come up with an upcycling project that used the nice, sturdy cardboard tube their bulbs come in.

Pretty Groovebulb Storage Pots

Upcycle Instructions

Supplies Used:

Clear parcel tape
15cm square piece of fabric
polyester fibre-fill
bit of ribbon
hot glue gun
spray glue
piece of spare cardboard
eco-friendly felt
embroidery floss

The first thing I wanted to do was protect the raw edge of the tube, so the edges wouldn't catch and tear. I ran a layer of clear parcel tape around the top top of the tube, so half of it hung over the edge. I then made cuts in the tape about every 3mm. I then folded each strip over the edge and stuck it to the inside.
Once I finished wrapping the tube, I then repeated the process on the lid. Wrapping both edges with tape also has the added advantage of making the lid slide on smoothly too.

Next to make the pin cushion top, I carefully pushed the cardboard centre out of the lid. I'm afraid the next step doesn't have photos as it's a bit all thumbs. I used a piece of fabric about 15cm square and pushed that through the lid from the inside. I then placed a small wad of polyester filling on top of the fabric and pushed the cardboard circle in to hold everything in place.
I then teased and twisted the fabric around the edges till the pin cushion top was smooth and even. Then I trimmed the fabric inside along the edge of the cardboard tube and glued the loose fabric down to the cardboard circle with a hot glue gun.
Then a cut another circle out of an old cardboard box and used the hot glue gun to stick it and neatly conceal the fabric. I also used the hot glue to add a bit of pretty ribbon around the edge to hide the text and Groovebulb logo.
When finished the cap should look something like this:
For the main body, I wanted to add a bit of decoration and some embroidery. So first I sketched a pattern out on paper. Then I traced the pattern onto come eco-fi felt (made from recycled plastic bottles) and cut it out.
I happen to have spray glue leftover from my last project, so I used that to stick the layers of felt together.
I decided to use bright yellow embroidery floss to add a bit of decorative detail. You may want to be careful with your stitches, I didn't tie any knots in my thread so you wouldn't feel any lumps beneath the felt.
Once I finished the decoration, I then used the spray glue to wrap the felt around the bottom of cardboard tube, leaving the section under the cap bare.
To get the strongest bond they suggest that you spray both the fabric and the surface you are sticking it to. I used a bit of masking tape to protect the top of the tube from the glue. And when it's all finished it looks like this.
And there you go! If I was to do it again I think I might cut the tube down so it was a bit shorter. You could create a whole range of little containers perfect for buttons, pins and other tidbits.
If you'd like to see the other projects in the Groovebulb Upcycle Challenge visit the Groovebulb Pinterest page or follow the Groovebulb Facebook page.