Monday, August 22, 2011

Prettifying A Party {DIY With Re-Purposed Materials}

Maybe it's just me, but I have always collected the pretty ribbons and the funky gift wrappers that come with all the gifts we get.  My whole family find it funny that I collect “trash,” and worse, file them away neatly in containers, too!  But to look at the bigger picture -  think of how during the holiday season our trash cans, and landfills are filled with tons of gift wrappers and boxes and ribbons.  And then think of how many trees are cut to make a single roll of gift wrap.  That is the kind of environmental damage discarded gift wrappers can cause.  Think of how big and deep our collective ecological footprints leave behind. (Shudder!)

I can't stand throwing away anything that I know I can otherwise keep for future use.  And it's not just gift wrappers and pretty ribbons - I've been known to keep re-usable take-out food containers, used school folders, etc.  For the most part, my family will agree that I successfully find good use for these things. Over the years, they have witnessed how I have managed to make good and creative use of these items by "up-cycling" them that they now view this "habit" of mine with new-found respect. :)
I will share how you can reuse and recycle gift wrappers and ribbons to make different, useful, and pretty objects.  For J’s recent spa party, I have turned the party décor into one DIY project using prints I made from Photoshop, a LOT of re-purposed materials, and a few new purchases.

  1.  Party Banner
 Just browsing through Pinterest, it seems that hanging colorful party banners are all the rage for kids’ parties.  DIY party banners can instantly cheer up and add a touch of chic to a simple celebration with friends.  Like glitter powder and sparkly lights, it adds a little charm and festive to any celebration, but this DIY feature won't waste too much energy and you'll be reusing something you would have thrown in the trash.

You can order a personalized one or make your own by using scrap booking paper for the background and printing the letters out of cardstock paper from your computer printer; but that would entail the use of more paper… and really, more manual work.  Imagine cut out the scrapbook paper to size, cut out the board paper, glue together…

Or you can go my way and create the digital layers in Photoshop. 
 After printing the out, I just cut them out to size using my cutter.  I then proceeded to cut some slats on both sides of the the wide base of the triangle.  Then, string in some re-purposed ribbons from last year's christmas gifts.

To all of you who do Photoshop, I am sure you will agree with me when I say it’s very simple.  To those who are not familiar with Photoshop, if you would like to do this project, simple shoot me an email and I will gladly share with you the JPEG file of this banner for FREE so you can do it by yourself – print out, cut out, string together, celebrate!

2.  Welcome Poster
 Without any party sign, our buffet table would have looked too plain. I wanted to add something that won't overwhelm the treats on the table, but will instead compliment the party theme. So I just printed out a self-designed 8 x 11 print on photographic paper, mounted it on a re-purposed wrapping paper from Christmas 2009.  Placed all that in a really large frame that was just lying around in my storage room.

The result?
 3.  Party Food Container.
Although I used NEW food containers for the party, they are still a better alternative to paper plates, since these can be re-used after washing.  I do not usually use them again as food containers, BUT they can still be useful to hold a multitude of household items and school supplies.  In addition to them being re-usable, I chose these plastic containers because they hold food better than the borderless paper plates... a slight tilt won't bring all the food crashing down on the floor.
4.  Party labels
I have seen these board papers lying around my kids' table for quite a few days already so instead of using new board paper to support the food party labels, I just simply asked J to make good use of it. The decorative pattern on the border served useful in adding more color to the buffet table. 
I hope I was able to inspire you to re-purpose, up-cycle, re-use… whatever name you call it. 
Let us all be more conscious to tread on earth more lightly… Let us not take more from Earth than we are giving back.