Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Wednesday's Workbox (9th May)

This pretty storage jar started life as a Coffee Mate (powdered non-dairy creamer for coffee) container!  I thought it would be the perfect size to make into a jar using some of the lovely rose-patterned paper that Papa Bear had used to wrap the wedding anniversary gifts that he gave me.  It was far too pretty to throw away after I'd unwrapped them, so instead I kept it with the idea that I'd use it for a craft activity, and when we'd used the last of the Coffee Mate yesterday, I seized my opportunity!

First of all (after making sure the empty container was absolutely clean inside), I used ordinary Sellotape (Scotch tape) folded double to stick to the sides of the container so that I could cover it with the wrapping paper.  I used this rather than glue, because as wrapping paper is quite thin, I did not want to spoil the texture of it by using a liquid adhesive.  I would suggest only using glossy wrapping paper, as this is, rather than the matte sort which is usually thinner, for this reason.  You could of course also use patterned sticky backed plastic but this is much more expensive than the clear sort which I used. 

To make the finish look quite neat, I folded over the edges of the paper that I used to cover the body of the container with.  I cut one long strip of wrapping paper just longer and wider than the size of the container and folded all the cut ends down about 1/2 cm, making sure that the edge nearest the open end of the container lined up just beneath the edge so that it would not catch on the lid when it was being used.   To reinforce it further, I used a strip of Sellotape on the inside edge of the folds also.  I tried to line up the pattern repeat so that it joined, as you would with wallpaper.

Having done this I then covered the side of the container with sticky backed plastic.  This is basically a sheet of clear film which is sticky on one side.  It can be used to cover all kinds of surfaces, but is particularly useful for covering craft items like this, or boxes, binders and book covers.  It makes them hardwearing and creates a wipe-clean surface, but they will not be waterproof.   It comes printed on the paper side which you peel away with a grid which makes it very easy to cut to size.  To avoid air bubbles, you lay the sticky backed plastic paper side up, with the item you wish to cover lying on top of it, with one edge of the paper facing you.  Peel away a tiny amount of the paper backing, then apply the item to be covered to this by pressing it slowly on top of the exposed area of plastic.  Now lift the item slightly so that it takes the plastic with it, and then gently ease the paper down at the same time as moving the item (with the plastic attached) away from you, smoothing it down as you go.  It is harder to describe than it is to actually do!

For the base, I started by using the container as a template and cut a circle of wrapping paper the same size.  I then covered this with sticky backed plastic.  To cover a circular item in this way, using the sticky backed plastic I cut another circle using the lid (which is slightly larger than the base) as a template.  I then cut small 1/2 cm tabs all around the circle, so that I could get it to fit neatly.  I used the sticky backed plastic circle to cover the wrapping paper circle, and then used a bonding agent (UHU) to stick this to the base of the container. 

I repeated this technique for the lid, making sure to tuck the tabbed edges of the sticky backed plastic well under the rim of the lid so that it would still fit the container after it had been covered.

After that, I used some small embellishments to finish the container off, and it was done!

Guess what the container is being used for?

Goldfish food!  Yes, I decided  that it looked far too pretty to put away, so I thought it would make a great receptacle for keeping our pet goldfish's food in, out on the worktop in the kitchen, next to the tank.   It looks so much better than the old container did - and makes a sweet reminder of our very special day (when of course we had fish and chips for our lunch!  Eek!  Not goldfish of course!).

I think I will use this technique again for any more empty containers that we come across.  We don't often use Coffee Mate - none of us drink much coffee - but we do have other similar containers of varying sizes, and it's a far cheaper way to have some pretty accessories for the kitchen than having to buy them ready-made.  And it was fun making it, too!