Monday, February 09, 2015

Repurpose with MSU Surplus: Wine cork corkboard

What do an old picture frame and wine corks have in common? They can be combined to make a desk-friendly corkboard! After finding an old frame for $.75 at the MSU Surplus Store and taking a collection of donated wine corks, I made something creative and useful.

What you need: Tacky Glue (a hot glue gun would work as well) 
                          About 40 corks
                          Back of an old picture frame
                          Paint - if you want it. 

Step 1 (optional): Paint the frame backing. Mine was in good condition so I didn't need to, but the corks won't cover everything, so if you want a splash of color, go ahead and paint it! 

Step 2: Lay out your corks in the design you want. This gives you a better idea how they will fit before you start gluing them

Step 3: Start gluing! I just used a line of glue on each cork. 

Step 4: Let dry. I used a book to speed up the process. It was dry in about two hours.

Check out our Pinterest board for other wine cork craft ideas!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

RePurpose with MSU Surplus: Beaker vases

The MSU Surplus Store has a large collection of laboratory glassware that can easily be repurposed into beautiful vases, vessels, or containers. There are endless techniques and color combinations to creatively turn the glassware into decorations great for your home.

What you need: 
  • Chemistry beakers (the Surplus Store always has a ton in stock)
  • Oil-based paint markers

Level of difficulty: Easy
Time: Less than 30 minutes

Step 1: Wash your glasses. You want to make sure the paint sticks to a clean surface. 

Step 2: Choose the design. These designs are very easy and only require lines or dots, so it is difficult to mess up. Just make sure before you add another color the first color is dry! These designs are simple but they really add a great effect to your vases. 

I found holding the glasses upside down made it a lot easier to draw the design. The design possibilities are endless! 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

RePurpose with MSU Surplus: Twine candle holder

What you need:

  •         Clear glass container (I purchased mine at the Surplus Store).
  •         Tacky glue
  •         Twine

Level of difficulty: Easy

Time: Less than 30 minutes

Step 1: Wash the clear glass and make sure it is completely dry before you start gluing.

Step 2: Find your starting point. I started at the bottom of the glass and worked my way up. Place glue on the starting point and hold the twine down for a minute or two to make sure it sticks. Add additional glue and repeat this process with the twine around the entire glass. I didn’t use much glue around the whole glass, just a few dots here and there. Make sure you hold the glued strand down for a few seconds each time so it stays in place.

Disclaimer - if you have a cat they might just play with the twine roll if you drop it.

Step 3: Let the glass dry for about an hour, or until the glue dries clear. Add a candle and show off your repurposing skills!  

Twine isn't necessarily the only material that can be used for this project. Some other ideas include:
  • Ribbon  
  • Twigs
  • Tissue paper
  • Lace
  • Book pages

Thursday, December 11, 2014

RePurpose with MSU Surplus: DIY coffee mugs

Coffee mugs are the perfect holiday gift for the coffee or tea lover in your life. But instead of buying one that is already decorated, why not personalize it for your loved one? There are always tons of plain white mugs at the Surplus Store waiting to be turned into a treasured gift.

What you need: Coffee mugs
                         Tape (I used duct tape, but masking tape would work fine)
                         Oil based markers
Level of difficulty: Easy
Time: Less than 30 minutes

Step 1: Wash your mugs. You want to get all the dust and grime off so the paint sticks well to the mug.

Step 2: Choose your design. I decided to use a holiday themed design. It is easier to buy scrapbook stickers shaped in letters for this design but I cut mine out of duct tape I had laying around. I cut out the word "joy". You want to place your word wherever you think is the best spot and make sure the stickers are secure.

Step 3: Pick your colors. I originally wanted to use just red and green but I figured gold accents would make the colors pop.


Step 4: Time to decorate! This is the easy part. Just fill the entire mug with small dots of your colors. Once you are content with the way the mug looks, let it dry for 24 hours. Take the tape off, and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Check out some other mugs I have made with the same technique, just different designs!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Electric and Hybrid Vehicles

Electric vehicles have been around for over one hundred years, starting as early as the mid 1800's. 

The first use of electric motor power was a "small drifter" with a mini electric motor and was built by Thomas Davenport in 1835. In 1838, Robert Davidson built an electric locomotive that could travel at four miles an hour. Meanwhile, some time between 1832 and 1839, Robert Anderson invented the first electric carriage. These three men contributed greatly to the electric vehicles we have today.  

Electric cars give a significance decrease in air pollution, greenhouse gas and less dependence on foreign oil. They don't have tailpipes and therefore don't emit pollutants. 

Miles Electric Vehicles was founded in 2004 by Miles Rubin. These vehicles were all-electric and primarily low-speed vehicles.  We have two 2007 Miles Electric vehicles for sale at the Surplus Store - one runs and one doesn't. One is a parts car because it can be difficult to find parts needed. 

HEV refers to hybrid electric vehicles, which combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors. Hybrid vehicles can reduce air emissions of smog-forming pollutants by up to 90 percent and cut carbon dioxide emissions in half.

We have a 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid for sale a the Surplus Store as well. 

Driving these environmentally friendly vehicles will serve a constant reminder about contributing to the earth's sustainability. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Construction and Demolition Repurpose Ideas

            Michigan State University is always updating and improving campus buildings and grounds. So what happens to the construction and demolition waste materials when these jobs are completed? Fortunately, MSU Sustainability strives to recapture value from waste materials through various recycling and reclamation efforts, even going as far as sorting out dumpster bins to divert materials from the landfill.

The Surplus Store and Recycling Center takes sole responsibility for sorting and processing these materials to ensure maximum landfill diversion rates. Materials are sorted in hopes that the Surplus Store will be able to find good homes for the items. If no repurpose possibility is found, we try recycling the items, or worst case scenario, we are able to at least condense the materials by 60% capacity, saving on transportation costs and landfill trip charges. 

Some people may ask, "What are we supposed to do with the construction and demolition materials, like scrap wood, offered at the Surplus Store?" To which we would answer that there is an abundance of projects for which these types of materials can be used.  For instance, scrap wood can be used to create pallet furniture, raised bed gardens, lawn art, and much more. Let your imagination run wild!

For more ideas on what to make using MSU Surplus Store’s construction and demolition materials, be sure to check out our Pinterest boards exhibiting a wide selection of crafts and DIY projects.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Make Your Halloween Green!

Halloween is quickly approaching and here at the MSU Surplus Store, we encourage you to have a green and safe Halloween!

DIY costumes:
Costumes will be one of a kind; you could even incorporate your favorite shows characters as your kid’s Halloween costumes. Making your own costumes can help you reuse materials, save money, and make memories with your kids.

Use what you already own:
Those reusable shopping bags, pillow cases, or baskets you have laying around are perfect to collect Halloween candy in during Trick-or-Treating. The $3 pumpkin bucket at the store might seem like a good idea, but why not save money and use your resources when you can?

Arrange a costume swap in your community:
Costume swaps allow fewer resources used to make new costumes. It also means less packaging, less transportation of the product and less waste! This once again can save money and allow items to be reused.

Use those fall items in your composting pile:
Throw those leaves in your compost pile! You can also use your whole pumpkin this Halloween. Save the seeds for roasting as a great snack, use the pulp in pies, soup, or other recipes, and when the holiday is over, use them in your compost!

After the holiday is over, donate your costume to the Surplus Store! Instead of letting it go to waste, let other people reuse those fairy wings or pirate costume. If not, save them to be reused next year, just don’t throw them away. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Bonus Friday Find-its

Good luck! --Joel