Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Recycling Fun- Making a Set of Funnels for Frankening

Ok, once again I've gotten crafty and creative with some of my recycling. I got super excited after I was done because the finished product worked so well, and after a bubbly tweet, I realized other people might be interested too! (Ok, it was the requests for photos that suggested other people might be interested, but hey... at least I figured it out, right?) So let me share with you the story of how I made two tiny funnels from an empty eye drop bottle!

It all started with frankening, of course. I've mixed colors for as long as I've played with paint in any form. In fact, I made a glitter paint several years ago to use on a pair of red canvas sneakers! Unfortunately, it gets really hard to put glitter into nail polish bottles. Up til now I'd been rolling up paper to make a temporary funnel, but that got messy and annoying. What to do, what to do...

Yes, I know there are mini funnels you can buy, but as you may have noticed? I'm frugal. Exceptionally so, and if I don't absolutely have to buy something, I generally won't. Plus I really do love finding ways to make whatever I want/need. It's sort of the best of both worlds!

So, today I was working on a paper mache art project (more to come on that later!) when I realized that hey, I had an empty eye drops bottle, and hey, that bottle was perfect size to go into a nail polish bottle, and HEY, what if... 

Some of my best projects start with "what if..." So, if you would like to make some tiny funnels, here's what you need!
  • An empty eye drops bottle.
    Mine was a generic brand, but as far as I'm aware they're all pretty much the same- flexible sturdy plastic with a tiny tip.
  • A coarse file or some sandpaper.I used my 8-step buffing block that came from the Dollar Tree. I've used this thing on SO many projects, and most of them weren't nail-related. Hmm...
  • Scissors.This one's fairly self-explanatory. We'll get there in a few minutes.
  • An X-acto knife.This may or may not be important. I don't know if it's totally necessary or not, but it's good to have on hand.
  • A dotting tool, bamboo skewer, or something else long and thin.Again, I'll explain what this is for farther in.
  • Plenty of elbow grease.This could be done using a dremel tool, but I didn't feel like digging it out and plugging it in and having to deal with all that. I used what I had on hand, and so can you!
First, I decided to turn the cap of the bottle into a funnel. I felt fairly sure there wasn't all that much plastic to remove to get things open, so I held the bottle upside down with the cap on and started rubbing it back and forth on the buffing block.

I know it seems like it would take forever, but it really didn't. After maybe two minutes the top of the cap was gone and I had a funnel. Unfortunately, there were little bits of leftover plastic inside the opening, which would be a disaster to try and use.

Top right- outside of funnel
Bottom right- inside of funnel
Click for larger image.
This is where the long skinny utensil comes in handy. I used the large dotting tool to push the shreds out from the inside and fold them over. Then I removed the dotting tool and sanded them away with a few more strokes on the buffing block. This took 4 or 5 different repeats of poke out the shreds, then sand them away. However, once they were gone I was left with a lovely tiny funnel, just perfect for glitter, micas, pigments, or even other polishes!

After finishing the small funnel, I looked at the bottle and wondered if I could make it into a funnel too! I sanded a bit on the bottom of the bottle, but it wasn't responding nearly as well to the buffing block as the cap did.

That's when I pulled out my scissors. I squished¹ the bottle flat and grabbed my scissors. I was expecting to have trouble cutting the plastic (like when I cut a soda bottle to use as a large funnel or a container for organizing stuff), but my scissors cut right through it, taking the very end off in one clean cut. YAY! (Although now I'm looking at the bottle end and thinking how perfect it would be as the base for a hat for one of my paper mache critters... I know, I need help, but this really does keep me sane! Imagine how bad it'd be if I didn't make stuff!!)

Then came the hard part- removing the part of the bottle tip that keeps the eye drops from squirting out in a stream. I had no idea how to do this, but since when has that ever stopped me? I grabbed my dotting tool again and put it through the open end of the bottle and pressed down, forcing the droppy-tip out nicely! What a surprise!

Once the very tip was out, I could see the dropper mechanism inside. Unfortunately, it was part of the tip so I couldn't just pop it out. I grabbed my X-acto knife to try cutting it out without realizing that I could just cut the very end of the dropper off. That would have worked much better than what I did, and it's what I suggest you do if you decide to make some funnels.

Once I got the dropper part out, I was finished with an awesome result: two adorable funnels that only cost me a few minutes of time. They're even easily stored- the cap still screws on to the bottle! I can't wait to use them next time I'm frankening!

Til next time!

¹ Squish: very technical term. Only the best for my readers
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