Category : recycle idea



About the artist and author of this post: Ranjani Chandran is an amateur hobbyist. She loves painting, especially focusing on indian folk art and she tries and reuses as many discards as she can to upcycle them into intriguing pieces of work. She is also a foodie who loves to cook. She has been learning carnatic vocal music as a part of Mathrubrundam, an initiative by Dr. Seetha Rajan. She also likes photography, swimming and is currently learning kalari payattu which she finds very addictive. All this comes later! She has a humble home and two boys that she loves supremely !

Wood is one of the most interesting materials I have worked with after terracotta. That it had scope to be transformed into a piece of art is something I  stumbled upon by accident.

Carpentry work was happening at home and I was all alone watching over the house. Strewn with tools, pieces of reapers and cut out wastes of 6MM ply, fevicol, nails… and to inspire me my carpenter was perfect and patient with measurements and design. Watching his precision tingled a thought in my mind.

I picked up the pencil, scale and the 6MM ply, and drew six 4-inch square boxes. Then I picked up his hacksaw when he was out for lunch and cut them out. My hands were killing me but the achievement factor kept me going. I had six pieces. Next I sandpapered it all to get a smooth finish on all four sides.  

He came back and his jaw dropped to see me do something so crazy! 


Now that I had the pieces, I decided to experiment with paints. This is how my journey started and Maya- Craving to create was born. Now, its my fourth year as a hobbyist and I can say that I am comfortable with a lot of media after so many experiments and the spirit to stop wastage.




I would like to share with you how I go about this process and encourage you to try it too. Why? Because I think today recycling is a very important concept and ply wood can be beautifully recycled. Also we are now so equipped with supplies that experimenting will not really cost us much, on the other hand it gives us a moral boost – chance to feel like a five year old all over again.

Keep a few things in mind before you venture into this for a better understanding.
  • Make sure the piece is cut out properly. For eg: edges should have a precise 90 degree angle on all sides.
  • Sandpapering all the sides is very important. This will give it the required smoothness. An 80 or 100 grade sandpaper will do the job for plys or all kinds, 4MM to 1-inch. Sandpaper is available in any plywood shop.
  • Always apply termite control oil and leave the piece of wood for drying at least for 24 hours before starting art work on it. Termite oil is a tin bottle you can get in any shop that sells ply wood boards. It costs around Rs 80.
  • Use water only to wash off paint from the brush. Else wood will absorb water and tend to warp over a period of time.
  • Make sure paints are fresh. If they are old and thick then they can be used as base paint.  When you paint the base make sure you also paint the sandpapered area so that the remaining frays on the sides get further smoothened by the smeared paint.
  • There are two ways to look at painting wood. One is to retain the texture of it and give it the grainy look and the other is to quote it with at least three layers of base paint and make it look like a smooth surface. 
    • After the base paint (acrylic) is done you can compose your picture in it either directly or using a carbon copy. 
    • All painting rules apply here too. Only advantage is acrylic can be corrected, that is, painted over. However, this has a drawback. It leaves a sticky finish on the surface.
    • In the end giving it a quote of varnish will make sure the piece of art remains in tact for a significant period of time. Either your carpenter will be able to do it for you or you can buy yourself varnish aerosol cans from any art supply store.
      MDF can also be painted on, the only thing is you need to make sure absolutely no water gets in contact with MDF, before during or after the process of painting it. The advantage in MDF is that it can be machine cut into various shapes allowing such a large scope for creativity in terms of art work on it and the usage of that item.

      Why wood is close to my heart is because it is versatile. It can be used as a base to stick tiles on. It can be used as a frame for a mirror. Photo frames can be made out of up-cycled wood. Glass paintings can be framed with pieces of wood where in you can continue the concept on two different textures. Tea coasters can be made out of small pieces of ply. Pebbles can be affixed on wood because it can bear the weight.


      Although it took me more than two months to finish I enjoyed every minute I spent on it.

      Get up and grab you piece of waste wood from the nearest ply wood show room and try your hand at it!


      Not much is really happening with DIY or woodworking. Too many things have happened, life has taken a 180 degree turn and all in the positive direction. As cliched as it may sound, sometimes we wish a day had more than 24 hours. The project that I last started is in its almost complete state for more than 3 months now. It is only the last mile that I need to complete and yet, it remains unfinished. My hands itch at times hoping that I get to do something, however small it might be.


      Anyway. Remember the glass door that we installed for our TV unit. There was a major draw back to it that I never foresaw. Because it was not a see through glass (partial see through), I had to keep the door open every time I had to use the remote. While we put up with this for a long time, we decided to do away with the translucent glass door and replace it with clear glass.

      Recycling tip
      Recycling project 
      One glitch though.  What do we do with the already existing partial see through glasses. It would really break my heart to just throw them away after having spent some bucks on them. And just when this thought was running through my mind, a situation presented itself that gave me just the right opportunity to reuse these glass doors. And voila ! Without having to spend a single penny (except of course for the hinges which cost about 40 a pair) we had the glass doors converted into bathroom accessory stands / shelves.

      Bathroom stand
      Recycled glass - Serving as a bathroom accessory stand
      The smaller glasses were just perfect and didn’t require any cut. The bigger ones were cut into 4 quarter circles and used as corner stands. All I did was I gave the directions to my plywood vendor and he had them all cut for me. He also smoothened the edges. I needed 12 hinges to have them installed on the wall and had the electrician install the once-a-door-now-a-shelf for me (While I normally do my installations, I have never tried drilling into a bathroom tile. I am also scared that I might puncture the concealed pipes. So just this, I leave it to the professionals).

      Please ignore the not so perfect quarter circles
      Corner shelf for bathroom
      Corner shelves recycled from glass door
      End of the day, it made two happy owners and possibly two happy tenants too.


      This pickle jar that was given to me recently comes with a lot of legacy. It comes from my Mother-in-Law's collection of traditional pickle containers otherwise known as Jaadi in Tamil. So in a sense, it is special to both of us and gave me enough reasons to preserve it well and right.
      Pickle Jar
      Pickle Jar
      Not wanting to let it store pickles and be stacked inside a cabinet, I decided to embellish it with traditional art and showcase it somewhere in the open. I have been wanting to learn Kerala style mural paintings and so used up this opportunity. I also settled for decoupaging on the jaadi.

      To save me some time, I chose to reproduce sketches (duly credited at the bottom of this post) that were already available on the net and added my own choice of colors to the sketches.
      Sketch
      The sketch
      Mural Painting - Work in Progress
      Mural Painting and Decoupage - Work in Progress
      The paintings themselves did not take much time which made it less time consuming to complete the entire work, though I did it in phases. Just as how Mod Podge is supposed to be used, I was very generous in smearing my paintings with the glue.

      Mod Podge
      Smearing the decoupage glue
      I did not want to complicate it much and so left the top portion of the jar in its natural glory. When I tried decoupage on water colors for an earlier project, I had issues with smudging. This time I was careful enough to use acrylic paint to avoid any blotching.

      Kerala Mural Painting
      Mural Art on a Pickle Jar
      Mural Keral style art
      Jar embellished with Kerala Mural Painting
      I should thank my sister-in-law for sending me a bottle of Mod Podge from Bangalore. Since I was able to source the decoupage glue, I did not have to resort to Somu’s cheap method of making his own Mod Podge.

      I would love to try different styles of painting and your words of engouragement will certainly up my motivation levels. Do leave me a comment and let me know what you think of this work. It would mean a lot.  Also, enter you e-mail address below to subscribe to updates just so you do not miss out on our forthcoming blog posts.

      Painting Credits :
      I have been true to the sources from where I picked the paintings. If these are not the original sources, I would be happy to make the necessary corrections.

      Linking in : Colours Dekor


      So far, Woodooz has always been about our works. We thought it is about time that we also use this platform to showcase arts and crafts by others, particularly those that do not have a blog to write about their work. In the recent days, we have been reaching out to talented friends and family and the first in this series of Woodooz Showcase is a DIY bottle art by my sister Subbu Padmanabhan.
      Preethi and I have always been fascinated by wine bottle art, and so when we laid our eyes on these bottles during our last visit to Bangalore, we wanted to know how it was done.
      DIY Wine Bottle art
      DIY Wine Bottle Art
      Woodooz Showcase
                     Art by Subbu Padmanabhan
      So here it is, in her own words : 
      "I wanted to keep it simple and so went for a minimalist design. The green wraps that you see in the bottom is handmade paper, bordered with glitters. I stuck the paper on to the bottle using cellotape."
      Yeah, Cellotape. No fancy decoupage glue used. 
      How to recycle wine bottles
      Wine Bottles - Recycled
      "For the top, I again chose a simple design, and had it drawn lightly using a pencil. I filled up the line drawing with Fevicryl 3D glitters. I then completed the design by gluing sequins around the top of the bottle"
      Wine bottle Craft ideas
      Craft idea for your Wine bottles
      "I left most of the surface area of the bottle blank, because the green backdrop was by itself enhancing the look.  And now this pair of bottles lay right where everyone can see them - In the living room."

      So how did you like it ? Sometimes overcrowding can be an overkill, and we thought it is the simplicity of the design that makes it stand out. Leave your comments and let the artist know what you think of her work.
      Another wine bottle idea that we loved : 
      by Sarmistha Roy 

      About the Artist
      Subbu Padmanabhan is a mom to a 3 something year old boy, and works as faculty in a premier play school. She likes to indulge in mini crafts projects, for the school and her home, during her spare time. The wall art that you see in the backdrop of this bedside lamp is her handiwork too. She lives in Bangalore.

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      Linking in : Made with Love PartyColours Dekor
      - Somu


      When we decided to do away with some of the old clothes, we thought we could put one of my old kurtas to good use... And thus began our first experiment with lamp shades.
      making a lamp shade using old fabric / kurta
      DIY Fabric Lamp Shade
      Incidentally this is the first shade that we ever made... and was quite a learning experience. We used flat sticks to build the frame... and because it was flat, the shade looks a little odd from the side. While we have moved on and started using sticks that look the same on all the sides, this one still remains special. We are still wondering whether to use it with a lamp stand, or plant it on the wall, or hang it in the room :)

      It was only after this that we started exploring shades using fabric... The rich color and the ethnicity that they exude when lit is quite interesting. Just the perfect option when we needed to match the shade with the rest of the living room accessories.

      So, what do you think ? Leave us your feedback.

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