Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Behind the Scenes: Upcyled Zipper Pulls

I love giving old things a new purpose. I think it is something I get from my grandma. She was upcycling way before it was called upcycling. This is the woman who made a purse for me out of an old margarine tub and yarn when I was a little girl. (Next time I go home, I will dig out that photo and post it here.) I also hate spending more on an item just because it has Dora's or Clifford's face on them. So when Bug needed a backpack for preschool I decided to make my own "Clifford" backpack.

I purchased a small backpack from a second hand store (a $4 score) and made a Clifford zipper pull out of a garage sale Clifford book and zipper pull parts I had from my shop.  At that time I was experimenting with personalized zipper pulls, which is why I had all the parts. If you follow me on facebook you may have seen this picture I posted of one experiment:

A few weeks later I was missing my nephew and when I miss him, I get crafty. I found a hoodie on clearance at Target ($3.50) and a beat-up Disney Cars picture book at a local thrift store ($.50) and created a one-of-a-kind sweatshirt. It was the perfect back-to-school gift for my favorite little guy. 

I had so much fun making those two projects,  I decided to put the personalized zipper pulls (above) on hold and turn my attention towards these upcycled zipper pulls. Here are a few I have made recently:

Abby from Sesame Street:

Curious George:

Winnie the Pooh:

Tiana from The Princess and the Frog:

Ariel from The Little Mermaid:

Here is how I make them:

First I start with a discarded or damaged book. Here is the perfect example-a used Spider-Man workbook.

Next I cut out small images of the character. In this case I used three Spider-Man images from the page on the right.

Last I used a button making machine to turn them into one-of-a-kind zipper pulls for some lucky little Spider-Man fan.

I only have a few upcycled zipper pulls in my Etsy shop right now because I have some interest from a brick and mortar store. More on that soon!  In the meantime, I'd love it if you would leave me a note on my facebook page. Let me know what characters your kids are into these days. Thanks!

Choking Hazard-contains small parts. Not intended for children under three or older kids (like mine) who still put everything in their mouth.
These pulls are water resistant but you should remove them before you toss your item in the washing machine. 

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