One question that youâ€™ve most likely asked yourself thanks to spending so much time at home is, â€œHow do I go through so many containers?â€ Hollie Velten-Lattrell, who runs a creative design studio in Maplewood, N.J., canâ€™t exactly answer that. But she does have an innovative way to repurpose your empty cans, toilet paper rolls and old newspapers: by making a â€œjunk vessel.â€
Ms. Velten-Lattrell, her husband, who is an animator, and their two young children have made dozens of these vases from assorted trash that is papier-mÃ¢chÃ©d and then colorfully painted. Her neighborhood, perhaps unwittingly, is also in on the act: On a recent walk, Ms. Velten-Lattrell, took a big, plastic detergent container from a neighborâ€™s bin and turned it into a junk vessel that she now uses to hold feathers.
In an interview, she called this craft â€œhyper-localâ€ â€” since it means using readily available materials â€” and â€œhigh-touch.â€
While these vases shouldnâ€™t be exposed to water, they are perfect for holding dried flowers or pens, or can stand alone as statement pieces on your bookshelves. Follow these steps to turn your trash into your own artsy junk vessel.
Make your vesselâ€™s form.
1. To start, youâ€™ll need to comb through your trash and recyclables for the makings of a large, sturdy base â€” a plastic or cardboard box should do the trick. Tissue boxes, cans and oatmeal or bread crumb containers are good circular options. You may have to combine multiple items, like two plastic cups.
2. Then, look for a longer, tubular item â€” like an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll â€” to mimic the neck of a traditional vase. To attach this to the junk vesselâ€™s base, use generous amounts of masking tape. Painterâ€™s tape and duct tape also work, as would a hot glue gun.
3. To make your vesselâ€™s form more elaborate, add handles, knobs or flaps by cutting out shapes from any leftover cardboard you might have. You can tape or glue these on.
Papier-mÃ¢chÃ© your structure.
1. You may remember these steps from making your coroÃ±ata. Cut or tear your newspaper into strips; make more strips than you think youâ€™ll need.
2. Make your paste: Ms. Velten-Lattrell uses Mod Podge glue and she also recommends wallpaper glue, but most liquid glues should work. Whatever glue you decide to use, start with a ratio of two parts glue to one part water so that itâ€™s viscous.
3. Dip your strips into your glue mixture. Pull the strip between your thumb and forefinger to remove excess globs of paste.
4. Layer the vessel with strips until it is fully covered and let dry completely.
5. Repeat so that your vessel has a minimum of two dried papier-mÃ¢chÃ© layers.
Paint and decorate.
1. Hereâ€™s the fun part. Using any paint you have around the house, transform your vessel into a colorful decoration. Ms. Velten-Lattrell, often uses chalk paint, a durable self-priming paint which adheres easily to most surfaces. She said when chalk paint dries, â€œit almost looks like a terracotta finish.â€ She has also used kid-friendly washable tempera. Start with a base coat of a color of your choice.
2. Let the first coat of paint dry completely and assess if it needs a second base coat.
3. Add patterns, stripes, blocks of color â€” anything your heart desires. And voilÃ , youâ€™ve turned your trash into your own treasure.