Do you ever buy the small minerals for your children for trips or treats? If so don’t throw them into the recycle bin, why not make a few colourful recycled plastic flowers for your garden?
You will need scissors, empty bottles, strong wire (I used a metal coat hanger), pliers, then twine, gardeners wire or an elastic band to secure. Decorations of your choice.
Wash the empty bottles out and cut them just above the half way mark.
Taking the bottom piece, cut strips as far as the fold that’s in the bottle to make the petals. They can be as thin or thick as you like. We found the thinner they were the prettier but whatever your child can manage. Repeat with the top half, once again stopping the cuts at the fold. Bend each cut strip outwards so that it flattens, just like a flower.
Here’s where an adult will have to intervene. Using the wire cutting part of the pliers, cut the wire to the appropriate length – about 30cm is a good size. The bases of the bottles are very difficult to cut holes into. I found the easiest method was to hold the piece of wire over a hot flame, the heat from which will pierce the base easily.
Once the wire is through the plastic bend the top over to form a loop with the pliers. The loop should be about the width of the neck of the bottle as it’s this that will keep the flower in place once you’ve threaded the top onto it.
If you have still have the cap, simply screw it back onto the bottle, hiding the metal wire. If you’ve lost it, wrap some string or raffia around it or even make a little woollen pompom that will act as the centre piece.
To stop the flower sliding back down the metal wire, just tie some string or an elastic band between the wire and the back of the bottle.
That’s it! You can decorate with paints, ribbons, raffia, wobbly eyes ~ anything you have to hand that might jazz your flowers up – or just leave them plain. The flowers are sure to liven up a garden on a dull day.
I can’t take all the credit for this post as it was inspired by Penny at the Millennium Community Garden in Kilkenny who’d been cutting out lots of bottles ready for a summer kids camp. There they will be making a wall mural with a gardening theme (and my own children would like to thank you for the idea too Penny as it meant I had to buy a pack of bottles to make this project with them – double bonus :))