How to upcycle a plastic tennis ball container

Filed in Blog, Reuse by on March 17, 2014 3 Comments
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plastic tennis ball containerYou can’t keep a good septuagenarian down, can you?

Grandma Green has gone back to school.

And no, she hasn’t donned her mini skirt and taken up tennis, but she has raided the recycling bin and learned all about upcycling.

Well, truth be told, she shot straight to the top of the class by being the only student who knew what upcycling was. They’d all heard of recycling, but upcycling produced a few furrowed brows, shuffles in seats and glances at the floor.

This week at her adult art class – the beautifully named ‘Dare to Dabble’ – Grandma Green and fellow students eagerly grabbed hold of old plastic tennis ball tubes, a pile of unloved books and magazines and set to work with glue and scissors learning the art of decoupage.

Here’s a write-up from the burgeoning artist herself:

The base of the vase is a plastic tube first used as a container for tennis balls. A background cover was chosen according to personal taste: I covered the tube with remnants of coloured tissue paper. Small pieces were torn, crumpled in the hand and then smoothed out to give interesting texture to the tissue. Each piece was then stuck to the outside of the tube using a mixture of PVC glue and water applied with a paint brush. The covered tube was left to dry. When dry, the tissue was liberally glued and decoration was applied to it. Layers of glue, paper and glue were repeatedly applied and the whole was then ‘varnished’ with glue and left for several days to dry completely.

Individuals chose from many materials, both natural and manufactured, for decorating: I chose to cut pictures from someone’s unloved book about natural remedies. It felt criminal to attack a beautiful book with scissors but now some of its languishing illustrations have been up-cycled into a pretty vase for my grandchildren’s bedroom. That has to be better than the book being thrown into a skip!

Now you all want to see Grandma Green’s creation right? I know you do!

upcycled vase from plastic tennis ball container

Isn’t it fantastic?

Tell me what you’ve upcycled recently.

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (3)

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  1. from this overseas afficionada of the Greens, a medicinal bouquet of tulips, soon to appear out of our snowy homage to your beauty and your heritage, ascendant and descendant..
    what have i done to up-cycle lately? only spent a portion of our long winter to categorize thousands of arty photographs cut out of glossy mags and old books from the local library’s refuse pile..the intact pages were given to the local community center to read and peruse for their collage projects as well.
    a new use of wooden stretch cup racks helped to hang awkward jewelry, beads and bangles on wall, camera still out of order, sorry.

  2. sooz says:

    That’s so clever and pretty!

    I can’t think of anything I’ve upcycled recently, but I bought a 50p bag of broken jewellery bits from the charity shop this week which I have my thinking cap on for!

  3. Philippa says:

    That is very pretty. I find that those and the unrecyclable unless you take them apart and strip off the foil Pringle containers make very good packaging for presents. So good in fact that someone didn’t open it thinking the present was crisps (it was a T-shirt). So I suggest you spend more time and cover the crisp tube with paper!

    I like see-through containers a lot as you can’t forget what you put in them. I think I might be tempted to keep strings of beads in them. They keep falling off the corner of the bedroom chair.

    I’m still looking for a good container for tights.

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