Showing posts with label howto. Show all posts
Showing posts with label howto. Show all posts

Monday, February 4, 2013

Living Sculptures: 3 Bottle Ecosystem Projects

They're very easy to make, hyper-creative and fascinating and like many other cool things they used to be very popular in the 70's: Bottle Ecosystems, also known as 'terrarium's and 'vivariums', are simple bottles which include the basic ingredients for life to survive: light, dirt, moisture and of course a DNA based organism, or a few of them. The following are 3 bottle ecosystem projects we find particularly inspiring. Think Bottle Ecosystems are cool and want to give it a try? Check out Jenna Consolo's project (below) or just watch this 5:20 min video from Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden that demonstrate how to create a simple terrarium out of a 2L pop bottle and some other easy to find items.

[1] Summer Fun: Ecosystem Edition

It was never her idea for a summer with the kids but some other kids did something similar for a science project and then her friend Michelle posted about how to build an Ecosystem that is "perfectly contained and functions without any outside work or maintenance" describing what she did and show she did it with her children in Alaska. So, Jenna Consolo decided it's time for her and the kids to build their own terrarium.

Here is what you'll need to follow-up on such project with your own terrarium. The process and results (shown above) are described in this blog post on the Cranberry Corner blog:
  • 3 clear 2-liter (empty) soda bottles
  • Clear packing tape
  • Aquarium gravel
  • Water
  • Dechlorinator
  • Rubber band
  • 4" piece of netting (or just cut up pantyhose)
  • Soil
  • Fish, snails or other aquatic life
  • Elodea, duck weed, anachris or other aquatic plants
  • Crickets, pill bugs and earthworms
  • A few dead leaves and small sticks

[2] Clea Cregan's Miniscapes

Started 6 years ago as  as a hobby, Clea Cregan's Miniscapes now merges desktop gardening and design to produce beautiful terrariums they call "miniature gardens" and "living sculptures".

Cregan's creations are usually made for for office receptions, board room tables and studios but also for home environments. Interested? Check out Miniscapes's site or read this interview with Cregan on TheDesignFiles.

[3] Wet Environment Terrarium

Nicole Cammorata, a Boston-based journalist, writer, and editor and a talented photographer published this story in the Boston Globe detailing how to make your own plant terrariums. Sadly, the full story which takes you through the process step-by-step, is behind the Globe's paywall but we still loved the this sequence she posted on Cammorata's blog how to create a terrarium that "favors more of a wet environment". Know any more cool bottle ecosystem projects? Be sure to contact us or post them in the comments thread.

Friday, January 16, 2009

20 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Cartons (in Pictures)

20 Creative Ways to Reuse Egg Cartons (in Pictures)

Did you know the egg carton was invented in 1911 in British Columbia in an attempt to solve a dispute between a farmer and a hotel owner who kept on blaming one another when the farmer's eggs often arrived broken? Probably not. But approximately 100 years later, egg cartons are obvious items in almost every modern house and a significant portion of the trash we generate. Yet, from modern art and high-class lighting sets to beds for cats, seed starters and toys - there are countless of ways egg cartons can be reused and otherwise useful. CultCase has photo-listed 20 of them here, but we know there are more. If you know of any others and have some photographs please do feel free to drop us a line anytime and we may publish them here.

1. Eggcubism Village Party

Completed in December 2008 and titled Village Party this new monumental masterpiece by Dutch artist Enno de Kroon is sized 154 x 209 x 24 cm and made of acrylic and egg cartons. If you are a regular reader at CultCase you may have already stumbled The Art of Junk: 7 Creative Approaches to Trash Reuse and met De Kroon. From his studio at Rotterdam, The Netherlands, De Kroon leads a new wave in reuse art and helps taking cubism into the 21st century. (Re)using ordinary egg crates for canvas De Kroon makes spectacular "two-and-a-half" dimensional paintings in a style he defines as Eggcubism. Above: A frontal view studio shot of Village Party. Below: details (cut by the artist).

According to De Kroon:
"The egg carton works came about out of my previous work where I find the relationship between the viewer and the piece as an object to be of great importance. I've always played with distortions of perspective, which puts the viewer on the wrong foot and makes them conscious of their manner of observing. The way we see things is so conditioned and decides what our minds eventually see in something. The egg cartons had been lying around my studio for some time ready for me to be painted upon, but it took some courage before I could take the plunge. It also took a while to come up with a product I was satisfied with."

No textual explanations had been made available about Village Party so far but, since we asked, De Kroon did provide us with a few words of clarifications about the inspirational roots of it. "Village Party was inspired by open air dinner parties that take place in the village streets of Provence in the south of France." Says De Kroon "it is a mixture of different perspectives one can have of such parties and the special social relations they involve. Someone has described my technique as "exploding" perspective. I don't know about that but they are related to Pieter Breugel works."

According to De Kroon he did not use any real photos of the described village party dinners but he did send us a snapshot of the painting 'Peasants Wedding' by Pieter Brueghel the Elder.

2. Heart

Patricia Zapata is a mom, wife, graphic designer, author and an avid blogger at where she shares and explores new ideas and projects. Zapata's paper craft book "Home, Paper, Scissors" will be published in August in 2009. Above: Recycle project no. 11 - egg carton turned into a heart.

3. Mona Lisa

This interesting pixel-like piece is made of cut-out egg cartons and paint. It was first sketched with a pencil and then ("slowly"…) painted. "Took a long time to fully visualize the look of it". We love it! Via niveakpl

4. Dubrovnik

This sculpture is named "Not Montenegro, but Dubrovnik in Croatia" and made from egg cartons. via Greenwich Photography

5. Volkswagen Trucks Ad

"Volkswagen Trucks. For every kind of load" is a print advertising campaign by advertising agency from Sao Paulo, Brazil named ALMAPBBDO. Copywriter: Eduardo Andrietta. Art Directors: Marcus Kawamura, Ary Nogueira. Photographer: Hugo Treu. Via publicidad21

6. Lighting sets

This fellow was feeling guilty for buying the blue egg carton "because it contained eggs from caged hens" which he usually does not buy.

Handsome guilt!

And here you can learn how to make your own egg-carton flower fairy lights.

The original intention here was to show local artisans how reusing materials could become a source of income. Yet, this quickly turned into a passion for Salvadorean designer Eugenio Menjivar. Dancer includes three shades made from egg cartons. The shades sit slightly askew, dancing, on a recycled iron base and held in place with recycled iron rods. You can get your own Dancer in three different colors including violet, lime and black. Via

Egg Carton Flower Pendant Light is a DIY Lighting project. Made from paper pulp egg cartons, this pendant light is promised to give off a soft, beautiful ambient light. Via

7. Cat beds

Flickred by cieraphotography this wild animal looks very much and comfortably asleep where 12 chicken eggs used to reside. We are guessing he is dreaming about the chickens.

After a few days out of the box, Flickr user Kimberly Jennery was already used to finding those three clumped together in the "human bed". The other day she came home and found them all clumped in an egg carton. Goofies indeed.

Please meet Toby, (staring) on his very own egg carton.

And this is Alice who think egg cartons are "irresistible, especially when they're precariously balanced atop the recycle bin".

And this one is another, slightly smaller, wild cat in the same carton. "I assure you that no human intervention was involved in these poses. Last 2 by jiffy from

8. Footstools

This versatile Good Egg footstool by award-winning industrial designer Inna Alesina is handmade from recycled paper pulp egg cartons and colored with water-based fabric dye ("no varnish or lacquer is used"). It can be used upright or on its side for a relaxing rocking motion and is also designed to make a sturdy base for a coffee table. Alesina is an award-winning industrial designer who looks to "keep the spark of invention alive in each of us." Via

9. Seats

A cool seat made mainly of egg cartons. Not for heavy folks. Via Grynster

10. Seed starters

Egg cartons are perfect as seed starters. Just fill each cup with potting soil and plant some seeds. Cut each cup from the tray and plant it after seedlings sprout. Above: Tomato sprouts

Sowing Coriander and Chives

This one also has a sense for shapes.

11. Flowers

Colored egg carton flowers. Via munchkinmay

12. Dozen figs containers

Someone gave Marilyn Blanche's mom - a genius mom - a dozen figs. We digg you Miss Blanche!

13. Concrete slabs

The above shanty shack concrete slabs are made with egg cartons.

An egg carton "detail" poured into a porch slab.

14. Bulletin Boards for office

This may actually work.

15. Toy Cameras

Daniel takes a picture with his creatively reused egg-carton-and-water-bottle camera.

16. Toy Potties and Toilets

Via deanj

17. Costumes

T-rex Costume

Frog eyes egg carton mask

18. Proofing sound

Experts say Egg cartons are not very good as sound proofing devices but this is still one of the most common ways to reuse them. Shown above is journalist Abdourahmane Toure in a studio lined with egg cartons to improve sound quality at Radio Pindjiguiti in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau. It might not work so well but admit it looks pretty cool.

Sources: dontbesostubborn, swimvixen2, poligraf

19. Apparel

Not exactly made from the classic carton type but this nice dress was once containing eggs, that is for sure.

20. Organizers

Flickred by willowpoppy, a "Klutzy, creative, spirited British lass" from California, U.S.A, this is titled "favorite activity".

Have any photos of other cool usages for egg cartons? please let us know.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How To Protect Yourself from Sandwich Pirates

With a nice looking well-made sandwich, some folks at the office might be shameless enough to, well... pirate it as a pre-lunch snack.

The above photos of a simple reuse solution in the form of a plastic bag arrived by email from a dedicated CultCase fan named Avi. P.S. please do not share this with any known sandwich pirates.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Handmade Craftivism: 3 Ways to More Precious and Less Ultra-Slick Stuff for Kids

Handmade Cfaftivism: 3 Ways to More Precious and Less Ultra-Slick Stuff for Kids

By nitsanbmg

Could handmade products be the new avant-garde of modern design? It may be the irrepressible inflation economy, or the fact people are fed up with their children playing with lead-tainted toys such as My Baby brand silicone pacifier, but it seems that handmade is a new trend. According to The Statement, with their often "loosely constructed and decidedly amateurish-looking look" handmade products find their way to shops like Urban Outfitters as well as to upscale firms such as furniture designer Donghia. In contrast to "ultra-slick, high-touch and high-performance" products, people look at handmade things as "infinitely more precious than all the ultra-slick stuff". They do so, because handmade reflects honesty and authenticity, or in The Statement's words: "speak of our humanity in a time when people are being replaced by machines".

Handmade is not just a fashion trend but also a form of Craftivism or a way to improve life and the world at large. Ask anyone of more than 29,000 people who already took the pledge to buy handmade this holiday season and ask others to do the same for them. Read Why Buy Handmade for more details or simply enjoy the following works of three creative mother artists who make spectacular handmade and personally customized products for children. A little less ultra-slick, maybe, but definitely more precious.

Jasmin Sasky: Personalized Canvas Portraits

Jasmin Sasky: Personalized Canvas Portraits

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina and artistically educated in Israel, Jasmine Sasky is a fascinating Canadian illustrator, painter and clay sculptress. While some of her comissioned paintings are displayed at children hospitals, schools, private clinics and restaurants across North America, Sasky has recently ignitioned a new service she calls "Personalized Canvas Portraits".

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Maya's canvas

The Personalized Canvas Portrait process is simple: parents email Sasky a photo of their child and list special traits, hobbies and background preferences. She then replies with a sketch, receives approval and start painting. Sasky uses mixed media meterials including oil pastels, dry pastels, acrylics, glitter and embellishments. All paintings are then covered with a final clear coat for extra-ptotection.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Maya in her room

Each of Sasky's kid portraits is a unique and special work of art with no duplicated copy anywhere in the world. Isn't that the most fantastic way for a parent to treat a child with a non-commercial non-mass-produced present that will last for lifetime? It is, if you ask Maya, shown above, with her beautiful blond curls and personal customized canvas. Always cheerful and happy as a bee...

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Yoel and Eitan

Another great example is the double portrait of Yoel and Eitan. They love the movie Toy Story but also are great fans of dressing up as pirates and cowboys.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Kiara and Cienna

Kiara and Cienna love fairy tails and butterflies. Same as with Yoel and Eitan, dressing up (with skirts that can spin around them) is also part of their world. Their favorite colors are pink and purple.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Camille

Camille as a "sweet" character taken from a children book: Being Camille the middle child of three, her parents asked for her character to be placed in the center of the painting, with her beloved brothers showing in the background. In her arms Camille holds the family pet.

Personalized Canvas Portraits: Katy

Katy's mom asked to match the painting colors with Katy's room color and decoration. So, the color palette here is of pink, magenta, light turquoise and polka dots in black and white. The result is in a perfect match with an interesting color scheme. For more:

Lizette Greco: Stuffed Dolls based on Kid Drawings

Lizette Greco creates custom hand-made dolls based on children's drawings with her young daughter and son. The dolls are made using only thrifted and recycled materials aiming to "create artwork that celebrates a child's perspective of the world and will hopefully be passed from generation to generation." Some of this perspective is, well, clearly shown in the above 'Bigfoot Inside and Out' made with recycled and thrifted fabrics to "consume less and recycle more" and Sixfoot Cyclops (below) - thrifted fabric, recycled polyfill stuffing based on original drawing by six-year-old boy.

Lizette Greco: Stuffed Dolls based on Kid Drawings

Greco accepts commissions for artwork using ("only") your children's drawings. You children don't draw so nicely? No problem. Greco's eight and nine-year-old artist team will get in the mood just for you.

Lizette Greco: Colorful Bunny

Colorful Bunny: thrifted fabrics, linen lint stuffing, original drawing by five-year-old boy.

Lizette Greco: Svea's doll

A little girl named Svea turned 5. As she happens to be a very good friend with the Greco's, Svea was lucky enough to receive the above super-personalized doll based on one of her drawings, of course. The doll comes in its own customized box and includes a few trading cards...

Lizette Greco: Bird

Bird, based on Lizette's son drawing, is covered with lines and wiggles. According to Lizette, translating this drawing into a "softie" was harder than the usual. "The lines needed to be seen and appreciated, so embroidering made sense." For more:

MyKangaroo: Handmade Shaped Crayons

MyKangaroo: Handmade Shaped Crayons

Crayons can be creative in many ways but this particular neat venture is clearly part of the new customization-personalization trend. With MyKangaroo you can personalize a gift using your child's name or even create a special message. Each personalized Your Name in Crayons set (above) can include up to 9 letters and is packaged in a cute tin with paper inside.

MyKangaroo: HAPPY BIRTHDAY spelled out in assorted colored crayons

Above: HAPPY BIRTHDAY spelled out in assorted colored crayons. Includes a 1 1/2 inch crayon shaped gift. Letters are 1/2 inch tall.

MyKangaroo: 5 spooky Halloween crayons

This set comes with 5 spooky Halloween crayons. Get one witch hat, cat, pumpkin, owl and haunted house in the price of one. Sizes vary in shape but are approximately 1.5 to 2 inches.

MyKangaroo: more crayon patterns

Nearly every pattern you can think of is an option here and possibilities are endless. Above are a few more interesting patterns.

MyKangaroo: How it's done

How it's done, in case you'd like to try for yourself.

MyKangaroo: The Jewel Crayon set

MyKangaroo: The Jewel Crayon set

It appears that not only we at CultCase think MyKangaroo are awesome. When The Jewel Crayon set was featured on Etsy Finds, a popular section on Etsy website, the orders, according to the official MyKangaroo blog, just "came pouring in". Above you can see what success looks like (in craftivism business...) Way to go MyKangaroos! For more: