Introduction: Soft Toy Tidy - Upcycled From Diaper Bin Refill Cassettes
If you are a parent you can’t help but feel bad about the amount of waste that raising children’s produces. As bad as I feel though, I’m afraid I can’t face the laundry associated with going the cloth diaper route so we opted for biodegradable nappies (or diapers).
We use a nappy bin with angel care refill cassettes to dispose of them in the house before they go to the outside bin. If you are not familiar with this basically you push the nappy through the slot in the bin and it is gobbled up by an ever expanding thin plastic bag to keep the stink out and so you end up throwing out a big long sausage of nappies! Anyway when each cassette runs out you are left with the plastic ring that holds that large plastic bag. I have two boys in nappies at the moment so I end up with a lot of them.
I decided I needed to find a way to upcycle them. I actually have a number of ideas I’m working on, this is the first and probably the simplest. It involves using the empty cassette rings, some scrap fabric and some twine to create a hanging soft toy tidy/display unit.
- 3 x Empty Nappy Bin Refill Cassettes
- 3-4cm wide strips of scrap fabric (one pattern or multiple)
- Needle & Thread
- Fabric Scissors
Step 1: Cut or Tear Your Fabric Into Strips
The first thing to do is to prepare your fabric. This fabric was leftover from an upholstery project but it is a relatively thin cotton fabric. You can use almost any type of material for this though - from an old bedsheet to old worn out clothes.
I made one cut about 4cm across and tore my fabric vertically in one long strip per refill cassette. I didn’t measure it because my leftover fabric was quite long – approximately a metre long. It ended up being too long so I cut it off again at the end. If you don’t have enough in one fabric or one strip you could always sew strips together to continue so don’t worry about the length too much at this point.
Step 2: Attach Fabric to the Cassette
I tied the strip of fabric to the cassette with the knot to the back and the patterned side of the fabric facing out.
Step 3: Wrap Your Fabric
This step is super easy and super quick. You just wrap your fabric around the cassette overlapping the previous loop of fabric each time.
The overlapping is just to make sure you don’t get any of the blue plastic peeking out.
You can see I’ve let the edges of my fabric do what they want and curl over a bit but if you don’t like how that looks you could just take a bit more time with it and fold those edges under and that would make the overlapping sections a lot less visible.
Step 4: Attach the End of Your Fabric
When I had all of my nappy cassette covered in fabric I cut off the end of my strip of fabric, folded it under and sewed it to the inside of the cassette where the stitches wouldn’t be visible. I used a basic running stitch and I wasn’t too precious about it either as it was on the part of the cassette where you won’t see it.
The stitches would of course be less visible if you took the time to match the thread with the fabric, which in this instance I didn’t do. You could also try leaving the end of your fabric uncut and tucking a longer end into one of your overlapped loops to finish it off that way. I didn’t do that as I was concerned it might be bulky or come untucked.
Once you've finished one cassette, repeat the process for the other two (or as many as you want to use!).
Step 5: Attach the Rings
To attach my fabric covered nappy bin cassettes together I used twine. I started by folding a long piece of twine in half so I had a loop. I threaded the twine around the fabric ring, through the loop and pulled tight. I then wrapped the twine around the second fabric wring and threaded the ends of the twine back through themselves (see the second photo above).
I wrapped the twine around both rings at once several times until it both felt secure and looked thick enough (one or two strands of twine I thought would look a bit strange, but somehow a thick band felt like it looked better!).
Lastly I decided which side would be the back of my tidy and looped the twine under itself on that side to tie it secure with a knot. Then I cut off the loose ends and tucked them in. I repeated this to attach the third fabric ring.
Step 6: Create a Hanging Loop
Creating the hanging loop was just a case of taking two lengths of twine, folding them and looping them around the top of the tidy. I tied a knot at the top and trimmed the ends.
If you don’t like the twine look you could do this step and the step above with more scrap fabric and you could attach it by sewing on the back rather than looping and knotting.
Step 7: Add Soft Toys
I decided to make this a soft toy hanging tidy/display unit, but it could also be used to hang scarves or even jewellery or to pin up photos, momentos or other items.
I personally thought it was cute to use it in my son’s room considering it was his nappy usage that landed us with all the refill cassettes in need of upcycling!
I will of course need to come up with some more ideas for these though as there are only so many soft toy tidy display units that one home needs!
Lots more upcycling tutorials like this can be found on Upcycle My Stuff.
Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest
3 years ago
Reply 3 years ago
Thanks so much!