What Do You Get When You Combine 8 lbs. of Chunky Junk and A Ton of Creativity?

Posted by: Ursula Zamora on Monday, June 25, 2012

Wondering what to do with 8 lbs of chunky junk? Make an everlasting, sturdy and chunky ottoman!! Please continue to read below for pictures and instructions on how I made my 1st ottoman….and please make your own! No need to go to IKEA anymore! Plus, we all know by now that recycling is alright if there is no other option, but it’s not very eco as it takes a lot of resources to break down plastics and other materials. Instead, reusing items is the best we can do….

Idea: I got this idea in 2009 while visiting a museum in Brazil. The museum exhibit was on “up-cycled art” and an artist had made a seat out of 6 2 gallon soda plastic bottles and pizza boxes.

To begin: I reused 4 #2 plastic protein shake containers. (At our house, we go through one of these containers every 2 weeks, meaning an ottoman will be born every other month).

To fill these containers and make the best use of space, I collected recyclables and non-recyclables like: broken flip flops, broken hangers, plastic bags, used and disinfected toothbrushes, make-up containers, jar caps, used/empty pens and markers, old paint containers, hardened play-doh, broken hair clips, empty spools of thread, etc, etc, etc.

After filling them up to the max (around 1-2 lbs each), I duck taped them together to keep them in place. See our cat Silvi in the back doing quality control….
The next step is to use cardboard…one piece for the top and one for the bottom….I reused an empty designer tape spool, but you can also use pizza boxes or any other cardboard you have around…..

…..and duck taped them to the containers…..

I then stuffed the inside and surrounding areas with plastic bags and any junk mail/used envelopes…..

…..then I rolled/wrapped it with construction paper to create a wall….


 ….and then I duck taped all that together (I promise, next ottoman I will try to use yarn or thick string instead of tape, Project Ottoman 100% Reuse!!)…..


If you use address labels or any sticker type of paper, this is a good time to save the empty sheets and reuse those little bits of blank sticker left on the sides….and any misprints also come in handy….

 …use these stickers to sticker down any construction paper that is sticking up…..so that all becomes flat….. 

Cut out 2 extra cardboard circles, one for the top, one for the bottom….

 And use the glue gun or rubber cement to glue them down….remember, one of the bottom and one on the top…..

 Then make a removable and washable cover for it…..it’s best to use a stretchy type of material like lycra….I used stretchy fleece for a cozier look……cut out a long rectangle for the sides and a circle for the top….and sew….also I added elastic to the bottom part of the cover…this helps the fabric hug the ottoman all the way around and underneath and so no construction paper is exposed, it’s easy to remove as well….

Last but not least, I added another (optional) removable cover which I finger-crocheted out of left over designer tape and multiple yarns…..

….so come on over, take a seat and relax your legs and feet!

Check out more great upcycled items at http://aldanamica.com/blog


Ginny Meaks commented on Monday, June 25, 2012
This is one of the most clever, ridiculously resourceful and crafty things I have ever seen! I would never have guessed that this was made from Raw Meal containers. Certainly takes recycling to a new level!
ben commented on Monday, June 25, 2012
Go Micky (AldanamMica.etsy.com)! You're my hero. Nothing goes to waste!
Ben commented on Monday, June 25, 2012
This is great. Congratulations Micky (http://aldanamica.com/blog/upcycled-ottoman-seat). I'm proud that not only are you saving me from contributing to the waste stream, but are creating wonderful functional art.
Melanie Finch commented on Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Absolutely RAWsome!
Micky commented on Friday, August 24, 2012
Thank you so much for sharing my work on your blog. It's so exciting to see it go virtual and read such nice comments!!
tanya commented on Friday, August 24, 2012
I've got one and I love it! Big fan of Aldana Mica, always coming up with something new, creative, good for our planet and beautiful.
Ananda Lee commented on Friday, August 24, 2012
Thanks for the great idea & easy to follow steps! I have been needing something like this for my place & this is perfect!
Molly commented on Friday, August 24, 2012
Amazing Micky. You are so inspirational and inventive!
Lisa Hernandez commented on Saturday, August 25, 2012
Absolutely wonderful! Micaela, you are always creating beautiful & awesome pieces! Thank you for sharing your "creative reuse & up-cycled designs with us!

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