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Monday, May 26, 2014

DIY Recycled Garden Art - Dandelion Inspired - Make Something Monday

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I wanted to do a little recycling and I was inspired by the dandelion.  A bunch of water bottles later and I ended up with this gem!

You will need:

-  Styrofoam ball - I used a 4 inch size
-  A bunch of water bottles
-  Candle
-  Glue
-  Resin (optional) - I used Easy Cast (to find it internationally go to www.
-  Pigment powder (optional)
-  Glitter
-  Dowel rod
-  Outdoor acrylic paint
-  Patience
-  Adult supervision - if you are young or untrustworthy around an open flame  

Here are a few of the items available at Amazon, incase you want to give it a try:

Here is the video tutorial:


1.  Take your dowel rod and insert it into the styrofoam ball.  Remove it.  Add glue and reinsert.  Set it aside to dry.

2.  Take some old scissors and plastic bottles and carefully cut them into strips.  See video above to see how I cut them.  You will need a bunch!  I suggest you either do it over time, or recruit friends and family to help!

3.  Once you have them cut, light your candle.  Hold the plastic strips at either end.  Hold above the candle and gently melt them.  Don't hold them too close and DO NOT stick your fingers too close or in the flame!  Then hold at one end and melt the ends.  The reason I melted the plastic strips is because the water bottles are very thin and flimsy.  When you melt them, they become thicker and rigid - like Shrinky Dinks.  I didn't think about it until later, but it's possible it might work in the oven.  If anyone tries it, be sure to report back and let me know how it went.  Otherwise, watch the video above to see the melting technique.

4.  Paint the styrofoam ball and dowel rod.  I used an outdoor acrylic paint.

5.  Mix your glue and pigment powder - this is optional.  Instead of pigment powder, you can mix it with just glitter too!

6.  Smear the glue mixture onto the styrofoam ball, one section at a time.  Put it on pretty thick.  Then, stick in your plastic pieces.  You do not want them all in a row.  You want them staggered.  Continue doing this until the whole ball is covered.  Allow to dry.  TIP:  Keep a damp paper towel on hand to wipe your fingers.

7.  Once dry, take your glow in the dark paint.  I bought the Glow Inc. paint because of the high ratings on Amazon.  It is more expensive than other options.  Use whatever glow in the dark paint you want to use.  With a small brush, dab the paint in the areas between the plastic bottle pieces.  Also dab on the ends to the plastic bottle pieces.  Allow to dry.

8.  Mix up your resin.  This step is optional.  I used it because I really wanted it protected outside and I wanted it to have a shiny finished look.  If you are not planning putting it outside, you can skip this step.  I mixed some fine glitter into the resin, just for a little extra sparkle.

9.  I wrapped the stem in a garbage bag and Saran Wrap, so the resin wouldn't run down the stem and get stuck to anything.  I also put the stem in a garbage can, so it would stand upright and when it dripped, the garbage can would catch it.

10.  I slowly poured the resin onto all sides of the styrofoam ball, making sure it was covered.  I also took a disposable foam brush and dabbed it on the ends of the plastic pieces to protect the glow in the dark paint there.  Allow to cure.

11.  Once cured, I removed the garbage bag and Saran Wrap.  I had little resin from another project I was working on and I painted the lower part of the dowel rod with the resin.  I did that so when it is stuck in the ground, the water will not rot the wood dowel rod.

Once everything is dry and cured, you have a one of a kind piece of garden art.  It will brighten your garden day and night!

I used a dandelion as my inspiration and that is why I used green on the styrofoam ball.  There is no reason it could not be pink, or yellow, or blue, or any other color!  I also think this would be awesome if instead of using a dowel rod, you used an eye screw and suspended it from the ceiling.  I could be used a home decor accent piece, or instead of a traditional nightlight in a child's room.  Oh the fun!

That's it!  Thanks for stopping by!


For those of you who like to encourage your garden, here's a fun addition to your garden, from Exterior Accents:

Here are a few other recycling garden art projects you might enjoy:

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  1. Wow so cool. I am interested in trying this. Just a few questions tho. Why do you put all the plastic in before painting the glow paint?Cant you do all the painting then insert your plastic with glue that pour on the resin to secure? Or am I missing something? Thanks! Therese Haas

    1. Thanks Therese. There could be many different ways this could be done. I used the glue to secure the plastic pieces in place. The resin gives it extra stability and strength, but I used that because I wanted to give it a shiny, more finished look. I painted the glow paint between the glue step and the resin step because if I mixed the glue with the paint, it would have been milky and I would have lost some of the glow. In hindsight, I probably would have dipped each end of the plastic pieces into the paint and let it dry and then inserted them in the ball. Hope that helps! Mona

  2. HI! I love this! And I am in the process of creating a "Firecracker" version of your dandy lion for the 4th of July. I ended up using a heat gun on its low setting instead of a candle to melt the plastic though. The jar candle I was going to use had melted too low in the jar for the flame to be accessible.
    Had I known I was going to use the heat gun I would've painted the bottles before cutting and melting them because that would've been a LOT easier! But I've got the first row glued into the Styrofoam ball so it is sort of looking like a sputnik or something but I am excited to get it finished! When I do I will post a picture of it on your Facebook page.

    Thanks for sharing your idea!

    Oh and I found this chart online about how to craft with plastic safely & thought you might like to have the chart too:

  3. What a cool effect! This would like great in my garden.

    1. Thanks Kathleen! It was fun to make. It held up great! I'm about ready to put it out again for the season!

  4. how many bottles would you guess we are looking at? I would like to make this but wasn't sure if I needed closer to 10 or 50 ?


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