POSTS BY Amanda Nichols

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The weather may be less than ideal for outdoor gardening in much of the country right now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t any fun to be had until spring. If your green thumb is getting itchy, why not channel that energy into some totally cool crafts made with old gardening tools and accessories? Here are some inspired ideas I spotted (with some help from MacGyver veteran, Briana)…

garden watering can planters

Dented or leaky watering cans can become the perfect vessels for the plants they used to water! Take a look at Nancy Ondra’s other ideas for stunning, low-budget container gardens here.


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With cold season in full effect, you might find yourself reaching for a tissue or two more often. The upside to feeling fluish is that empty tissue boxes are an ideal craft material! The next time you take a sick day, try your hand at one of these tissue box crafts that require minimal effort and supplies while showcasing plenty of creativity.

Tissue Box Pinata

A square tissue box provides the base for this simple piñata idea. Grab some colorful tissue paper and go crazy with the design!

More Brilliant Tissue Box Ideas

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If you’ve ever assembled favor bags for a child’s birthday party or festival, you might be familiar with those little plastic figurines shaped like dinosaurs, tigers and other zoo animals. Many of the smaller ones come in packs of 10 or more for that very purpose — mass dispersal of plastic animal fun. If this all sounds familiar, you may have also thrown away your fair share. Here are some exciting ways to keep that growing army of toy animals at bay — or at least add some childlike whimsy to your design life.

Animal book end project
These golden book ends, while still full of charming whimsy, add a regal touch to bookshelves, mantelpieces, or wherever your books find a home.

Animal box topper
Add some serious character to these simple boxes with minimal effort and supplies. They can be great for gift-giving, or to keep yourself as some adorable organizers.

More animal frenzy

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Pinecones: they last forever, they’re interesting to look at and they signal the season where evergreens reign supreme. Throw a couple of pinecones on a coffee table or mantle and you could call it wintertime decorating success. Orrrrr you could always take things further with these ideas…

Pinecone Wreaths

 Construct this wreath with rolled up book pages and an assortment of pinecones for a result that gives off a wintery welcoming vibe without the usual pine needle shedding.

pinecone garland

Wintertime is garland time, right? Make your own with pinecones laying about outside and whatever spray paint and string you like.


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We’ve talked about elevating old magazines before, but where’s the love for old newspapers? If you still have a hard-copy subscription to the local newspaper, then you likely have even more raw material on hand. Here are some ways to use up that looming stash that don’t involve papier mache or packing ceramics.

Newspaper gift bag

Personalized, green, and cheap, this handmade gift bag serves as the perfect vessel for an equally clever gift. Hand over those presents with pride!

Newspaper Nails

You can show off these wordy nail designs everywhere. In case your stack of old newspapers is dwindling, they require little actual newspaper. Just use rubbing alcohol to transfer the newsprint to your nails, then seal it on with a shiny top coat. A light gray base coat will make the print pop.


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If your recycling bin is so full of aluminum cans you find yourself crushing them to save space, here are some ways to make that chronic soda habit work for you! Lightweight aluminum is easy to work with for a variety of cute, kitschy projects.


Have any ceramic tile squares lying around from a recent home improvement project? Turn them into eye-catching coasters with soda can prints — perfect for entertaining.

Soda Can Barcode Earrings

These earrings, while stylish, aren’t shy about their soda can origins. This pair came straight from soda can bar codes. The Crafty Soccer Mom’s ideas call for minimum crafting skills, allowing the can designs to shine through. Check out her other ideas and safety tips.


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Did anyone else collect pop tabs when they were younger? Lately it seems like all the little ones in my life have been filling sandwich bags with the things for some elementary school projects. They could be making chainmail, jewelry, or bags like the ones you’ll find quickly if you’re at all familiar with Pinterest. Those tabs are lightweight yet durable, giving them all sorts of upcycling potential.

Here are 5 innovative pop tab crafts, listed in order from least to most tabs needed.

Pop tab recycled as photo hanger

For this picture-hanging hack, there’s no need to dig deep into your pop tab stash. Follow this guide to turning a single tab into a sturdy hook for your wall art.

Pop tab crochet flowers

Combine your crochet skills with a handful of recycled pop tabs to create these flowers from Escama Studio. They’re like daintier versions of those camp-time popsicle stick yarn crafts, and would make great gifts on their own to use as coasters, brooches, or strung together quilt-style.


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