Category Archives: Furnishings

Converting dead plastic to flower power

So there I was, teetering on the edge of chucking a broken laundry basket into the grey bin and slamming the lid shut. But wait. This laundry basket may have been useless and fit for nothing but a 1,000 year degradation period in landfill AS A LAUNDRY BASKET but it had a shape that could be mended. It could be transformed into a thing of beauty. It could be a very large plant pot.

Plants1smallMy philodendron oxycardium, which has shot up and out two feet since this picture was taken, is in dire need of a proper thing to put it in, rather than being perched in an old tin thing. It needs style and élan. It needs the respect that only a recycled and beautified laundry basket can give it. I eschewed the grey bin and positively thrummed with thought.

Have you ever played cat’s cradle when you’re drunk? I have. Which is why I can say with authority that trying to mend that laundry basket was like playing cat’s cradle when you’re drunk, i.e. you’re all over the place and you get in a tangle. But untangle and mend I did, with judiciously applied tape, and ended up with all the bits of plastic back in place, giving me a basic structure from which to coax forth my sculpture of awe.

First to give it a couple of layers that would adhere to the plastic for strength. Newspaper would come later – for this I needed the carefully-squirrelled-away brochures, takeaway menus, Specsaver booklets and travel offers that are printed on glossy paper. Large torn up bits would do as the paper was pretty robust, and sticking it all over the frame, inside and out, was a doddle with water-based glue that would harden and ensure good adhesion. Left it overnight to dry completely, and my word that’s a pretty tough covering. No chance of any bits of plastic coming loose and poking someone in the eye, and all those holes are covered up.

Voici le masterpiece so far. You’re correct: it looks exactly like a papered-over laundry basket. Next up, filling in the underlip and finishing the top rim. By the time it’s done, finished and painted in a nice earthy colour, has a waterproof inner lining and has a giant philodendron nestling inside, it will be a proud and fierce ex-laundry basket.

Hooray for dead plastic! Stay tuned for further developments over the next few days.