Psst, Want a Million Film Canisters? 

Thursday, April 27, 2006

My job allows me to explore all sorts of crafty things and I have a strict budget which makes it all the more challenging and fun. I get to spend lots of time going through artsy books and browsing through dollar stores for materials. My favourite crafts, though, are recycled, with minimal new materials.

Last week, for Earth Day, I taught the kiddies how to weave coasters out of plastic bags - ideally they will go home and put together wall-to-wall carpeting. I also taught the kids to make hipster PDAs. The PDAs were one part recycled paper (remember to use both sides), one part new binder rings and one part playing cards from a casino (where they can only use cards once). The kids loved that best, except for the huge model of pollution invading our watersheds.

One site I have ogled often is Arvind Gupta's Toys from Trash. And the focus of my adoration is the Touching Slate, or the Slate for the Blind. It's a DIY Etch-a-Sketch!

Yesterday, at a dollar store, I tested out yarn on my velcro shoe buckles. Yes, the yarn stuck. I've been on reconnaissance missions for cheap velcro and erasers. A fellow Freecycler offered me some velcro, too. Old pen bodies should be easy to find; make a friend clean out their desk and there should be a dozen there for me to use. The cycle spoke? A twisted paperclip ought to do.

The funnest part was the film canisters. The first supermarket I visited was already saving their film canisters for another collector. Foiled! My second supermarket had 66 film canisters for me. I told them it was for a museum and the girl at the counter got excited about it. "If you make any more film canister crafts, please come back for more - we've got plenty for you!"

Touching Slate

Photo courtesy Arvind Gupta*

Now that I've got a cornucopia of film canisters, I will now be even more obsessed with tracking down bagpipe-maker Francis Wood, who makes disposable Northumbrian pipes out of plastic straws, plastic bags and 35mm film canisters." His friend, Paul Rhodes, says, "They sound surprisingly good."

About a month ago, I spent a couple of hours plugging different combinations of Francis Wood, bagpipes, film canister and Northumbrian pipes into Google, with nothing to show for my labour except pretend bagpipes and film canister maracas.

If anyone has bagpipe-making experience, you must know the secret behind film canister-drinking straw-plastic bag Northumbrian bagpipes. Please share your knowledge for the good of humanity.

Now if only I can find a kid-worthy use for 60 empty cd cases.

*I emailed him and he's a really nice guy. He says he wants teachers everywhere to share in these resources.

That ingenious! I wish, for you, that you had patended it first. Bummer!
It is such a great idea.

But, now that I am doing a lot of work on copyright, I am really thankful that Mr. Gupta didn't patent the idea.

It's nice to be able to use this great idea without worrying that the intellectual rights police will break into my house at night to drag me off to the intellectual property thieves' hard labour camp.
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