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How to Use Recycled Softener Containers for Crafts

written by: •edited by: Tania Cowling•updated: 5/21/2010

Nobody likes to throw plastic bottles in the landfill. Whether you're phasing fabric softener out of your life or looking for a way to put those leftover bottles to work, read on for how to make crafts with recycled softener containers.

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    Don't Throw Them Out

    The green trend has us moving away from items like liquid fabric softener, which so often contain harmful chemicals and may even trigger food allergies. You may even have started using vinegar in place of a fabric softener. But don’t let your old bottles go to waste. Instead, make crafts with recycled softener containers.

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    Yarn Holder

    Use an awl or sharp knife to poke a hole in the center of the fabric softener cap, working from the inside of the cap. Next time you start a knitting or crochet project, place the skein of yarn inside the clean and dry fabric softener container, thread the end through the hole in the lid, and craft away. This will keep the yarn clean and free of tangles.

    For a variation on this theme, remove the container lid and slice through the bottle at an angle, starting just above where the top of the handle meets the bottle’s body, slanting sharply down toward the no-handle side of the bottle. Place the skein of yarn inside the bottle and thread the loose end up through the handle.

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    Remove the lid from the fabric softener container and coat it, inside and out, with spray paint. Let the paint dry completely, then fill the lid with appropriate seasonal decorations--fresh blooms for spring or summer, dried flowers or berries in autumn, small evergreen branches or red berries in winter.

    Place a fabric softener cap mini centerpiece at each place setting, then trim straight across an empty fabric softener bottle just below the handle. Discard the top of the bottle and spray paint the outside of the bottom. Line the inside of the bottle bottom with a piece of pretty cloth that’s large enough to drape over the edges, then fill this larger centerpiece with seasonally appropriate materials like berries, fresh blooms or pine cones, or fill it with decorative gravel, then poke silk flowers into the gravel.

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    Trim the handle off the fabric softener bottle, slicing straight through the handle on one end and cutting through it at a sharp angle on the other. Next time you need to draw a small circle or oval, use the appropriate end of the handle as a template; just place it on the paper or fabric and trace around it. The top and bottom of the lid make templates for two different sizes of circles, and slicing straight across the bottle at different heights will give you yet another set of circle and oval templates of various sizes.

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    This list of crafts with recycled softener containers would be terribly amiss if it didn’t include the quintessential recycled craft item: a pincushion. Remove the bottle’s lid, discard the bottle and place a ball of floral foam inside the lid. The ball should be the largest size you can squeeze into the lid; pick the right size, and you shouldn’t even need to glue the ball in place.

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    Going Green, Sort Of.

    While fabric softener is far from a green product, you can lessen your impact on the environment by making crafts with recycled softener containers whenever possible. You may not be able to use every part of each container, but at least you'll be giving some portion of them a new lease on life. Although far from ideal or a real solution for saving the planet, it's better to contribute a little bit to a green lifestyle than nothing at all.