Hello I need help in the re-purpose/recycle dept. I have some old matchstick roll up blinds. Any ideas on what I can do with them or make them into? I have about 10 or so I would hate to toss them and a week later realize that I should have kept them. The only thing I have thought of is making a few place mats. Thanks for the help.
Connie from Colt, AR
Maybe a rug for the patio or deck or porch. Doesn't have to be huge.
By gina (Guest Post) 12/09/2008
To match the placemats, you can make a table runner (the kind that runs down the center of the table) by cutting the blinds to about a foot and a half wide (or whatever would suit your table) and then stringing together as many as you need to reach the desired length. Using the invisible fishing line type thread is good for tying them together because it disappears visually.
I have also made a freestanding lamp (actually, at first I suspended it from a ceiling hook-- and it worked equally well) by wrapping the matchstick material around a pair of wooden embroidery hoops (for stabilization) that I got for a quarter at a garage sale. I positioned the wooden hoops right at the line where the matchsticks are sewn together-- and then sewed them in place with invisible thread. You could probably use hot glue to do the same thing and it would be much faster, but I didn't want any glue to seep through. (I doubt it would be visible but I'm a bit of a perfectionist.) I did glue a small cross stick across the diameter of the wooden hoop that had a smsll notch cut into the center for the light cord to be pushed into. I initially suspended the lamp by using one of those light bulb socket things attached to a hanging cord with an on/off switch. I scavenged mine, but you can buy them as kits at Target, Home Depot,hardware stores,lighting stores, etc. for about $10. Later, when I used it as a floor lamp, I cut more notches in the crosspiece and hot glued a second notched cross piece to the bottom hoop. I switched to a long string of christmas lights as the lighting source so the light would be more diffuse. I strung the lights up and down the inside of the lamp using the notched cutouts to secure them. Making two or three of these of different heights and circumferences sitting grouped together in a corner would look nice. If you want to ditch the natural look you could also spraypaint the lamp once completed and then add colored christmas lights instead.
I have also added matchstick blinds to revamp a chest of drawers that had recessed inset panel areas. I just cut the blinds to the right size and stapled them in place. I stapled across the string where they are sewn so the staples would disappear. I also saw a version of this done to update cabinet fronts by first creating raised frames smaller than the size of the cabinet front by nailing (with tiny nails!) 1/4th inch square stained lathing strips (but molding could also be used) and then gluing (with wood glue) rectangles of cut-to-fit blinds into the frames.-- you obviously have to take down the cabinet fronts to accomplish this-- so its a little more labor intensive.
My brother and I also used some matchstick blinds to hide the ugly outdoor meters and air conditioning vents that detract from the landscape plantings around his house. We just stapled the blinds to hinged frames --basically making a small folding screen. It has worked well because it can be easily moved to access the meters, but hides the ugly stuff away and the weathered wood fits in with the natural greenery. Obviously, the screen won't last forever outside in Minnesota, but for something created out of stuff scavenged for free, we won't feel bad about throwing it away after a couple of years and making a new one.
I also think you could cut some blinds up carefully and glue them to the front of old frames as a way to update them. I havent done this, but it might be a good way to use up the scraps. (or maybe wrap it around votives or other glassed-in candles and tie it with raffia?)
Finally,I contemplated using some old matchstick blinds suspended from the ceiling in the middle of my living room to create a suspended partial room divider. I see no reason why it wouldn't work, --I just ended up suspending a pre-made World Market beaded curtain type-thing instead because it was visually lighter.
Whew! Just a few ideas. good luck
By elizabeth (Guest Post) 12/09/2008
perhaps covering an ugly wall...or making a pattern on the wall by cutting them up into smaller sections and alternating their direction or as a privacy screen or many cities have a website called www.freecycle.com. There will probably be someone who is interested.
By cindy. (Guest Post) 12/09/2008
you can offer them on free cycle .some one can always us them.hope this helps
By Carol in PA (Guest Post) 12/09/2008
Oh, I just love those type of blinds. I have used them as shelf liner (or paper) on the metal cabinet in my laundry room. The shelf was starting to look rusty, but my addition made it like new.
Also, I've often thought I'd like to have some of those blinds to line the backside of my book cases or perhaps the drawer fronts of an old dresser. I think the color is great and they add texture to wooden pieces.
Are you sure you dont have unadorned windows in your basement or garage where you can hang them? It would make the house look nicer from the outside.
I"d try to think about using your blinds as a framed photo on the wall. You know what I mean? A picture. OR I'd see if I could figure out a way to cut them and make the mat for a picture to hang on the wall.
I think your blinds would add a lot of texture to a bathroom which can be sterile, hard, and cold. Wood accents add warmth.
By Vickie Kibellus 12/09/2008
Tear apart and make a dollhouse or use for other kids or craft projects.
Thanks for all the great ideas. They really do have a nice look and feel. Thanks again connie
I have used matchstick blinds as a headboard. I removed all the hardware and layed them flat. I measured how big I wanted the headboard and cut them, then had them framed and attached to the frame of my son's bed. I used three blinds for a twin bed.
By KJ (Guest Post) 12/09/2008
What about a runner to put by your door, as a shoe or boot collector? If you put clear contact paper on the bottom, it will be somewhat waterproof.
1) If these were my blinds I can tell you EXACTLY what I'd do with them. (I wish they WERE my blinds!) I'd use them outside. I'd drive some metal stakes or bury 1" x 1" wooden posts into the ground at my fence line, or next to my house or along my garden or anywhere I could use privacy then staple, wire or nylon twine to tie these blinds to the posts to make a sort of "fence" from them, then on the back & the front, I'd spray them with a clear linseed oil deck sealer or an colored stain to keep them safe from the weather. (You can just use a garden sprayer for $12).
You can then plant Ivy, clematis or any vine & have it climb & grow up the blind. If you seal them properly, they can withstand the weather. They would make excellent trellis's for your peas or beans grow up too! They could also be use to make a great little privacy sunbathing or temporary courtyard if you use metal posts you can just pound in to your yard then remove them later & roll the blinds back up & store them for the winter season.
2) If you have a chain link fence for more privacy you can zip-tie or wire them to your chain link fence after sealing them (Privacy, privacy, privacy. Can you believe I live in a mobile home area?).
3) On a DIY home decorating show, they took these same blinds & use them to cover a whole peaked ceiling on an indoor porch. (If you're interested I can find the show for you) I've also seen them hung on a wall then framed with thin but rough wooden boards.
4) But the coolest thing I saw was on a Christopher Lowell show. He hung these up on pretend windows then hung mirrors behind them. (In a small room with no windows) the reflection of the mirrors glinting through the matchsticks made it look like light was coming through the windows! It was VERY cool!
5) If you'd like a shorter garden trellis, I bet you could cut them in half with wire snips, sturdy scissors or even a jig-saw.
6) I could also see them cut to size, then framed in to cover up old kitchen cupboards. They could even be painted to match.
7) How about tied around an indoor or outdoor planter with rafia! WOW!
8) As a backdrop for a fountain.
9) To cover the sides of a treehouse or a kids clubhouse.
10) As a last effort when the shades are ready to fall apart, If you live in an area with lots of mud as I do, how about just laying them down on the ground by the front & back door before you step on the porch to stop mud from tracking into the house. I bet grass would grow up through the holes!
11) Lay them under your car when working on it to keep clean.
12) Keep one in your car trunk for traction when you get stuck in the snow or mud.
13) As a rug for outdoor furniture. Or as extra seating, kids can sit on it during a barbecue or picnic.
14) Lay your towel on one when sun bathing
15) If you have an outdoor pool or hot-tub, lay one down in the area when you enter it to stop grass from sticking to your feet before entering the pool or hot-tub.
By Artist (Guest Post) 12/14/2008
A small, placemat sized matchstick piece with strings or ribbons on the ends makes a handy carrier for artists' brushes. If the bristles of the brushes are damp, the stiff rolled up and tied matchstick thingy keeps the bristles from drying crookedly. I forgot to say that you lay the matchstick thingy on the table, place the brushes on the matchstick and roll it up and tie it. The ones you buy in the art supply store have pockets to hold the brushes. If you buy it in the store, it might cost $3.
By Lynda (Guest Post) 12/15/2008
If going outside, be sure to stain them with exterior fence stain, if not already painted/stained natural..? If going on the floor, use epoxy but paint them on newspaper outdoors.
If going in the bath, remember that they are perfect for roaches to live behind and they are BIG dust
catchers. I used them in several places when we lived in Hawaii. If yours are already old, they might be made better than current ones, but if new, beware that they might not weather well, nor take foot traffic without splintering.
If using for a lamp, keep the diameter at least 10-12 inches away from ANY size bulb. The larger the bulb, though, the farther from the VERY flammable "matchstick" blinds the blinds need to be.
I'm just a practical grandmother, thinking of all the angles! lol
God bless and help you. : )
In order, I would use them as they aged:
1. Window coverings for rooms I use frequently, but probably not for a truly formal room if I had one.
2. Window coverings for basement windows, workout room, laundry/utility room, work shed, kids' playhouse/treehouse if I had kids.
3. The walls of a sukkah for the festival of Sukkot (look it up, Wikipedia is your friend).
4. Floor mats for the sukkah, or for lining the walk between house and pool/hot tub, or for lining underneath a sunbathing towel.
5. Car trunk for traction on snowy, icy, or muddy days.
6. Kindling while camping or in a fireplace.