DIY – Make a Bird Brooch from Recycled Materials

Today, please say hello to Erica Louise, co-founder of Recycled Market, a marketplace for the eco-conscious!

According to PlanetArk, Australians consumed over 3 billion aluminium cans in 2005. Of these, 51% were soft drink cans and 31% were beer cans. “Aluminium does not ‘degrade’ during the recycling process, which means it can be recycled over and over again. Recycling aluminium reduces the need for raw materials and reduces the use of valuable energy resources. For every tonne of aluminium recycled, five tonnes of bauxite are conserved.” More here

In this instance, I have chosen to work with a discarded soft aluminium drink can to make a bird brooch. Did you know you can cut through an aluminium can fairly easily with scissors? You can actually sew through it too!

To flatten curved aluminium is the tricky part, you can try leaving between heavy books, but I found the quickest way, was to iron flat in between a folded tea-towel.

I drew a bird shape and wing freehand onto the aluminium sheet with a marker pen, and cut with scissors.

Using mod podge, I’ve glued scrap fabric pieces to the front of cut aluminium shapes, left to dry, and cut excess fabric away.

The bird wing, is secured in place on top of the bird body with hot glue. With one wing, I machine stitched a few mm from the edge, to add a little texture and interest.

Deciding the bird is too flimsy as a brooch without an appropriate backing, I remembered some dead stock cork board I picked up from Resource Rescue some time ago, and glued (with glue gun) the aluminium birds on top of the cork, cut to shape when dry, and secured a brooch / hair pin. You need not attach a brooch pin, you could attach a simple safety pin

What else could you use as a brooch backing, if not cork board? Perhaps corrugated cardboard, reclaimed wood, or a polystyrene tray, the ones you might get with pre-packaged vegetables.

Choosing to craft with ‘trash’ materials; plastic bags, bottles, scrap material, old clothing, paper rolls, aluminium cans etc, means whatever you do create, will avoid the material potentially polluting our already overflowing landfill sites. The second advantage to working with discarded material is the minimal financial cost involved in using it.

Please do check out Recycled Market for more interesting upcycled craft ideas, and if you do create products yourself using recycled materials, you might consider opening up a Recycled Market shop yourself!

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