One of the best ways to help save our environment from overflowing landfills is to upcycle items that would normally be discarded after they serve their purpose. Upcycling is basically taking an item that has reached the end of its intended purpose then altering the item in some way that changes its usage or ability to be used, rather than sending it to a landfill.
The upcycling process is one of the aspects of this project that makes it a "green" one. The other is the materials, all of which are easily obtained for free, because they would otherwise be discarded, (you probably already own glue and scissors) and there is minimal energy/effort expended.
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Step 1: Gather Materials.
What you need:
-insulating bubble wrap (silver)
-scissors and/or exacto-knife
-glue, preferably hot-glue but any other quick drying glue will do
-ruler or tape measure
-marker or pen
-about 45 minutes to an hour of free time
Where to locate materials:
Crate - I found this crate at my local grocery. One of the produce clerks informed me it's something they usually discard/recycle them because the distributor doesn't re-use them for shipping.
Insulating Bubble Wrap - Also found at the grocery. Cheese is often shipped with this material so try asking the Deli or Cheese departments is they have any leftover from their shipments.
Scissors, Glue, Marker or Pen, and Ruler - You probably already have in a drawer or cabinet some where. If not, you can purchase these at most any grocery, convenience stores, etc.
Step 2: Measure.
The crate is a 3D object so measure its height, width and length with your ruler or tape measure. I find it best to write the measurements down on a scrap piece of paper or note pad. That way you only have to take measurements once.
If you feel confident in your ability to make marks on the bubble wrap without having to measure with a ruler, then do so. It will save you time and a piece of paper. Just be sure to keep the crate still so the marks aren't slanted or crooked.
Step 3: Cut.
Following the marks you made earlier, either from your ruler measurements or from placing the crate directly onto the bubble wrap, cut the bubble wrap.
Once you're done cutting the wrap, you should have 3 pieces; one bottom piece and 2 side flap pieces.
Step 4: Insert.
Fit the trimmed bubble wrap inside the crate, using the long, bottom piece first. It should be a bit snug but not overlapping the corners. If the wrap overlaps a corner or edge, make small mark where the wrap needs to be trimmed down. Pull the wrap out and re-cut it. I used an exacto-knife for all my cutting and trimming. The exacto-knife keeps from having to pull the wrap out over and over again to re-cut.
The wrap should fit right underneath the top edge. So when you close the crate, the wrap it won't crunch against the top flaps.
Then insert the side flaps one at a time and cut them down as needed.
Step 5: Glue.
Get out your hot-glue gun and dab some glue on the side railings. Glue the long, bottom piece first. Make sure to hold the wrap in place for at least 5 seconds with a small amount of pressure to ensure the glue and wrap stick together.
On the bottom of this crate there are spikes, probably from the mold the plastic pieces were created in, and they are great for keeping the wrap in place. Press down gently on the wrap until you here a pop noise. Sounds like when you pop a bubble on the bubble wrap.
Now do the same with the other 2 side flap pieces.
Laying the crate on its side helps when trying to glue the side flap pieces. When gluing the side flap pieces, make sure not to glue the wrap to the crease and fold of the flaps. If you glue the wrap to the crease and fold, the crate won't close properly.
Step 6: Finished.
Once the glue sets, you're ready to use your new modded crate for storage or whatever you might need! My original idea was to make a light-weight toy box but it could be used for storing just about anything.
To give it a better decor- look, just peel the labels off the sides.
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