Up cycling plastic containers,
first aid / emergency preparedness.
Updating our day trip bags and Bug out kits recently I realized one of our vehicles did not have a basic kit and decided to put together something practical and fun and try to use some plastic jugs I've been holding on to waiting for re-purpose inspiration.
This Zombie Response Team DIY First Aid kit and General use steel storage container is what was born.
I'm going to show you how to make these out of a 15oz soup can and 2 laundry conditioner bottles.
Step 1: Find Some Stuff & Gather Tools
In the first part of this instruction we will making the containers if your just interested in the emergency kit contents skip to step 13
If you want the full ride please proceed...
Things you will need to save up or find:
- 2 empty plastic fabric softener bottles
- 1 empty 15oz pull top food/ soup can
- Hot glue and hot glue gun
- Razor blade
- Heat Gun
- Flat Screwdriver
- Marker (option but helps)
Optional materials for labeling/ Finishing:
- Printable Shipping labels
- Self adhesive (non heat) laminating sheet
- Label maker
- spray paint
- Water color or acrylic paint
- Clothes Iron
- Metal Mend Tape
- Card Stock
- Duct Tape
Step 2: Prep Containers for Fitting
You will be doing some "freehand" knife cutting be sure you are using a good blade and follow safe knife practices.
Be sure your containers are clean and rinsed out.
Using the 15oz can as a height jig (as seen in the pics above) scribe a cutting line around the 2 plastic bottles. Hold your cutting tool steady and rotate the bottle. This will ensure you have a uniform line to cut on.
Once in half clean the bottom portions again to remove any residues that did not come out in the initial rinsing.
Next Remove the spout tops from the top section of the bottle halves. This proved to be more difficult that I thought the seating ring of the cap is glued into place.
Step 3: Remove Spout Caps and Mod
Trim the bottle just below the cap lower ring seat making the price easier to handle.
Work your way around the ring with the flat head screw driver to break the glue free and pry the ring from what is left of the bottle.
Once the caps are removed cut the inner pour spout from the cap ring as seen in the pics.
Step 4: Part Check So Far
- 2 bottom sections from your softener bottles.
- 2 thread rings and 2 caps
( also an empty soup can)
You have a ways to go... so to get a quick burst of instant gradifacation go to the next step.
Step 5: Steel Canister Assembly
That was easy!
Now decorate to your hearts content or just use it as is.
In this instruction all the decal and label creation I did will be lumped into several steps.
But at this point I simply painted my container lid and cylinder black and set it a side to dry while I did the DIY first aid kit canister forming.
Step 6: Trimming Before Thermo Forming
To make the thermo forming a bit more predicable pick one of the bottoms you have to be the top side of your canister. This will become the half that sides over the bottom.
Looking at the bottle section eyeball where the widest section of the bottom section is and make a mark.
Using the same scoring method as used earlier score the section and cut this top area off.
This does not have to be super precise if you cut right on the wide section or just below it should not effect your outcome.
Step 7: Stuff the Plug
I used another empty can and 2 wash clothes.
Doing this the walls of this bottom will not calapse while we are fitting the trimmed (top) section over this piece.
Step 8: Thermo Forming Top Cap
•••• If you have never tried to heat and reform plastic before practice on a section of bottle that was left over from the trimming. Simply heat it and see how it reacts. Take your time and be careful. ••••
After practice... With a heat gun heat the side walls of the top section all the way around.
You will need to heat the inside of the section as well as the outside. Keep the part moving holding high heat directly to the trimmed edges or the parting seam of the bottle may cause it to buckle and become unusable.
These bottles are fairly thin so take your time.
The plastic should relax and become more mailable. If you notice the edges starting to wrinkle you are heating too fast/ too much and or not uniformly enough. Keep the price moving.
Take your time. As long the piece is not over heated you can heat and reheat over and over.
While the plastic is hot remove from heat gun and slip fit over the bottom section that has been stuffed. The heated piece should stretch and fit over the plug / bottom section like a glove. You should not have to force the 2 two halves together.
If it feels forced and or the side walls start to buckle on either piece : stop, separate the two sections and heat the top halve more.
If the heated top part seems to shrink too much after several forming tries flip the lower(plug) section and use the bottom side of the plug section to stretch the top cap.
Step 9: Forming Results
For a basic slip fit container you are done at this point.
The next sections will cover the process I used for creating the decals for the Zombie Emergency prop look. The final section will conclude with my approach to developing a usable First Aid/ Emergency Kit contents.
Step 10: Label Making
Overview of the Sticker Process:
- Pick a Theme
- Search the inter-webs for ideas and pictures
- Print or create your pics on shipping label
- Laminate the printed surface for weather protection
- Press laminate with iron to seal
- Cut out labels
- Apply to containers
I picked a Zombie Response theme since these containers are going in my truck. And who doesn't like Zombies?
I used the large Internet shipping labels 5.5" x 8.5" and laid out the pics to get the most use of the label.
The large label for the "soup can" I created in MSWord using object clip art.
The stickers applied over the "soup can" label I did not laminate to add some texture variety to the container.
For decals printed on an ink jet printer and not laminated I use white candle or gulf wax and rub down the decal surface. The wax will add some weather protection and also add additional patina and surface texture to the container surface making it a more pleasing object.
Step 11: Notes for Better Prop Stickers
If you don't have personal access to a laser jet your local Staples or other print center can handle this for you just bring them your files.
If you want a metal tag look cover your sticker with a thin piece of lexan or and rivet the corners.
Step 12: Finishing Touches
Metal mend tape can be found in automotive part supply stores or in home improvement stores. This tape is about $5 for a roll in our area. It has great adhesive properties and can handle heat up to 250deg.
For additional patina of the "soup can" I used some red and black and brown water color paint for aging. Just dab it around/smudge after it dries and try to avoid patterns.
Step 13: Building the Emergency Kit
With that ill say there is no right or wrong way of putting a kit together and you will find as your knowledge base grows the things you consider essential emergency items will change. The kit contents to follow are not the same I used to carry on hiking trips in my scouting days of years past but it is not far from it either.
Preparing a kit is a great study in space management. If you had to run out your house and only take this kit what should be in it??
But the simple fact that you are thinking about being prepared is a major factor.
You should use items that you are comfortable and very knowledgable at how to use and make the most of them. If you put a compass in your kit because everyone says you need a compass but you are not good at using a compass to navigate the compass is useless and that space could have been used for something else.
There are tons of sites on the web to get you started with more knowledge and tips on kit building so i am not going to spend a lot of time on this and all in all knowledge is your best survival tool.
The next section lists the contents of the kit for this DIY First Aid Kit.
Step 14: Kit Contents and Packaging
- Waterproof Matches
- Magnesium bar w Flint and steel
- Petroleum jelly soaked cotton balls (or lint)
- Small Piece of Balsa wood
- Tea light Candle
- Penny Stove w Alcohol fuel
- 2 Maxi Pads or XXL gauze pads
- Assortment of band aids ~3 or each size etc
- Alka Seltzer cold tablets
- Hand Sanitizer gel with high Alcohol content
- 2 sheets of aluminum foil
- 6 paper clips or length of solid wire
- 2 Razor Blades
- 6ft Duct tape
- 10ft or cord
- 3" Tube or straw
- 3 elastic bands (fabric style hair bands)
- 6 8" zip ties
- Electricians scissors (optional)
- Stick of Hot Melt Glue
- Large Thumb Tack
- LED Flash light (optional)
The packaging for the components seen above is simply thick paper stock folded into a match book pouch and covered / held in place with yellow duct tape.
The balsa wood / sheets of paper and pencil halves were plastic wrapped and the ends taped to seal.
The duct tape was wound on the tube and then the elastic bands loops around the tape roll.
Alcohol gel hand cleaner and Vasoline was put in a stackable weekly pill containers I found at a dollar store.
Step 15: Closing Notes
Several items in this kit are multi purpose the hand sanitizer and Vasoline make great fire starting fuel. The tampon pad and the copy paper can be used as kindling. The pencil and balsa could be used as a small splint if needed.
The plastic wrap and or aluminum foil along with the kit container itself can be used to make a water still.
My kits tend to have more fire and tool items than most. I have the mind that being able to make fire in an emergency situation is highly important. Having several options for fire building is essential. Building a fire is as much a tool to keep your mental well-being as it is a physical survival tool.
In my tool selection I highly recommend a good pair of electrician scissors they are compact and able to sheer through about anything you need to cut from thin metal sheet to Kevlar belting.
You may note that I did not add and water treatment etc to this kit. Being a vehicle kit I left these out / may add later I do keep these in my hike day bags.
That's about it!
Be safe and