What's happening in the Azores

Turning trash into treasure

Turning trash into treasure

On Valentine’s Day I’d like to share with you something I love – upcycling! My previous post featured buckets full of old tiles that we found in the pig sty area. This week I’ve given one of them a new lease of life!

People are having problems finding our house because there’s no house number or name outside. We live on a small lane, where we are one of just three houses – and the only one on the left – but for some reason lost in the mists of time our house number is 16-A.

Many Azorean homes have their house numbers or names hand painted on tiles in a traditional Portuguese style. So following suit I repurposed one of the tiles to be our new house sign.

How I did it: There are special pens for decorating porcelain. (Many of them work on glass too.) Just draw out your design on a tile, plate, mug, bowl, or other ceramic item. Let it dry then bake in the oven (30 minutes at 160c) and the upcycling is complete. (See the end of the post for details of the pens I used.)

I then moved on to making some coasters. Ours are still heading this way on a slow boat from China, and probably won’t get here until end of March. Tiles work well as coasters too, but the smallest tiles that we’ve inherited are 20x20cm, which is way to big for coasters.

How I did it: Took leftover pieces of pallet wood from another project, sanded them down to smooth them, sprayed them with gold paint – job done!

The final project for today is the ultimate upcycling project for beginners.

Instructions: Open bottle of wine. Drink it. Wash and dry it. Insert lights. (See below for the ones I used). I confess that I cheated and skipped the first two steps and simply used an old empty whiskey bottle that was left behind by the previous owner of Solar Branco.

What I used: (I have no affiliation with these products, they are just items that I have bought and enjoyed using.)

Porcelain pens: There are lots of different brands and I have tried out several. The ones I used are from Baker Ross. There are several different sets with a variety of colours. The ink from this brand flows really well, and the design has good staying power. The pens from Edding are also worth trying – they are very easy to draw with, but I find that the design can get scratched even after being baked.

Bottle lights: I used these. These ones are recharged through a USB charger so you won’t need to keep buying batteries.

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