When it comes to purchasing decor pieces that can help you create a particular theme for your kitchen you can end up spending a lot of money. By the time you’ve purchased wallpaper or borders, tablecloths and place mats, wall hangings and other decorative items, you can have a fortune wrapped up in the kitchen theme. But, there’s one thing that you already buy, you have plenty of, and can help you make a different type of theme for your kitchen: food! Everyday you throw away jars, labels, cans and other things that could, instead, become your new decor. Whether you’ve just moved to a new home and don’t have the money to decorate yet, or you’re just looking for a cheap way to create a complete kitchen theme, start looking inside your cupboards to find exactly what you need!
One of the cutest things you can make for your kitchen is a set of candy bar magnets. Collect miniature candy bar wrappers and turn them into magnets that are unique and fun. Be careful as you tear the end open, remove the candy bar and eat it, then fill the wrapper with foam, paper toweling, cotton balls or similar items. Use hot glue to seal the end and stick a piece of magnetic sheeting to the back. You can make other magnets from powdered aspirin wrappers, gum wrappers and similar items.
Collect labels from various things you would normally throw away and you can make food-theme place mats. To take labels from bottles and jars soak them in water, peel carefully, then allow to dry. For boxes, cut the front off, peel the extra cardboard away from the back, and keep the front for the place mat. Use clear shelf liner to make the mats. Cut the shelf liner twice as long as you need, arrange the labels on one half (on the sticky side), then fold the shelf liner over. Trim if necessary. You can make similar coasters for the kitchen, too.
Any glass jar with a label can become a food-theme candle for the kitchen. Use a wick weight to position the wick in the jar. Cut the wick longer than needed, wrap the end around a pencil, then balance the pencil on the open part of the jar. This will hold the wick steady as the wax dries. It’s not a big ordeal to make candles nowadays; melt the paraffin in a microwave-safe measuring cup and it’s a breeze to make any number of colored and scented candles. Use crayons for coloring the paraffin if you don’t have real candle tints. After the wax is set you can wrap a pretty ribbon around the top area of the jar. Other things you can make candles in include coffee cups, juice glasses or small, non-plastic bowls.
Use coffee tins to make a unique pyramid-shaped set of cubby holes that can hold everything from rolled hand towels to silverware and implements. Set three cans side-by-side, butting them together, and attaching them with glue strips. Hot glue also works for this project. Position the cans – without their lids – so that all the openings are facing towards you. After you’ve created the first row of three, stack two cans on top of the three, then one can on top of the two. This cool pyramid can be made from really large or really small cans, depending upon your needs and the amount of space you have.
Oatmeal canisters make fabulous canisters to hold all sorts of dry goods. Use various sizes of oatmeal containers to make a matched set. Cut a long, skinny window from one side and cover it with plastic wrap or even clear acetate from an old product box. Glue the acetate or plastic in place over the window. Glue a wooden knob or bead on top of each lid so you can easily remove and replace the top. Make similar canisters from tall or short potato chip cans.
Small boxes, such as those that contain single-serving cereal, can be made into decor pieces for holidays or special occasions. Simple glue the box shut so that you can’t tell it was ever opened. It’s a good idea to place some gravel, beans or rice in the bottom of each box to weight it. Now you can glue on appliques to spell out words, using one letter on each box, or you can mount things to the top of the boxes. For example, purchase wooden letters at a craft store to spell “Kitchen” or “Welcome”. Glue one letter to the top of each box and set them on a window sill or shelf.
Remove the label from a can, turn it upside-down, then glue it back on. These clean, empty cans make fabulous candle holders. Other cans, like tuna cans, are also useful as candle holders for the kitchen. Glue four boxes around a fifth one to make a square. Fill with fake flowers and use as a centerpiece. There are literally hundreds of ways to turn your old trash into new decor pieces. From now on, when you start to throw something away, take another look at it. You’ll start to see your trash in a whole new light!