Monday, February 21, 2011

Create Responsibly

We have moved on from three feet of snow to a week of rain, resulting in people being cooped inside their homes. While sitting inside, you can try creating some of these crafts using corks, pop tabs, or cork holders!

Why not create this cute bistro chair that can be found on This little chair could be used as doll furniture, a cute ornament to hang on a tree, or something that you have sitting on top of your shelf.

For something a little bit practical, you can create a cork board out of corks (Who would of thought!) All you need is a tangerine crate (We have crates here for 25 cents!) and a load of corks. Instructions found on

You can also create a trivet and coasters. Design*Sponge posted this great idea and all you need is wine corks, a sharp utensil for cutting, a needle, and thread. For complete directions: click here.

If you are feeling fashionable, you can grab some pop tabs and create your own jewelry, wallets, or bags. All you need is wire or colorful string to hold the pop tabs together! For inspiration, you can visit and see what other artists have been creating. The example shown to the left is from Crandall's Jewelry and Accessories.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Weather is Beginning To Bloom

Now that we are slowly transitioning from winter to spring, it would be nice to spruce up your living space with something green. It's perfect time to make your own indoor planters out of reusable materials! Here are a couple of ideas to get your mind start spinning.

First, we have a floppy disk plant holder that is simply made by making a box with the floppy disks and a plastic container to hold soil and water. The nice thing is once the plant dies, you can easily transform this box into a storage item that could hold spare change, pens, or other odds and ends.

Another idea is using cardboard coffee sleeves, which we have plenty of here at the store. This is a project that needs no glue or tape, just simple folding. For the directions, click here. These obviously will not be able to stand for a long period of time for their own, but they are perfect to give as a gift.

Finally, you can plant your seedlings in these old book planters. For inspiration, you can look at the number of examples they have on These planters could be made out of hard cover books, magazines, phone books, or old paperback books.

If you are a little bit more ambitious and want to make sure you are ready to garden when the weather is right, you can make your own gardening gear out of PVC pipes. You can create your own strawberry tower or even your own PVC garden trowel.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Linking the Community Together

Many of you may know of the fire that wreaked havoc in Downtown Champaign in November of 2008 and now in 2011, it has left a large hole at the corner of Neil and Church Street. The I.D.E.A. Store is taking an initiative (along with the community) to create a beautiful installation involving chains created from eco-vinyl and a chain-link fence.

The I.D.E.A Store is providing kits to create chains from eco-vinyl. This is a great project to do with friends and family and once they have been completed and returned to The I.D.E.A Store, they will be installed in a number of venues. First, they will be displayed in The I.D.E.A. Store exhibit at the Indi Go Artist Co-Op during April 12th- 19th. Then, they will be transported to the CUSF Gala, where they will be displayed in the I-Hotel. Finally, these Eco-vinyl chains will be woven into the chain link fence surrounding the corner of Neil and Church Street. This art installation will bring awareness about creative reuse and bring something beautiful to the community!

How to make a chain from used eco –vinyl (bill boards)

While the idea may seem complex, the craft itself is actually quite simple. Follow these instructions to make a chain out of dollar-bill sized rectangles of bill board material:

1. Cut as many different colors of eco-vinyl as you can into the size of a dollar bill. The more variety you have, the more colorful the chain will be.

2. Place it on a flat surface

3. Fold it lengthwise and crease it in half

4. Open it up and fold each edge toward the center to the crease you just made

5. Fold it half lengthwise again so you have one thin piece of eco-vinyl

6. Take both ends and fold them in toward the center until it creates a "prong"

7. Slide the "prongs" of the folded eco-vinyl into the tabs created by the first wrapper.

8. Continue to do this until a chain is made

Friday, February 4, 2011

All you need is love

Valentine's day is fast approaching and time is running out to find the perfect Valentine's gift. Here at the I.D.E.A Store, we have that something special to make your gift spectacular! We have piles upon piles of felt and yarn waiting to be used. Here are some creative ideas for your Valentine's Day:
Need a small, but cute Valentine's day gift? Why not make these felt fortune cookies. All you need is felt, ribbon, paper, wire, and whatever kind of candy that you want. If you're interested in completing this craft, click here for directions! These are perfect for friends because you can customize each message and they can also be used as party favors for your Feb 14th celebrations!
You may need some decorations to go along with your party. So, why not make garland that can spice up any apartment, house or dorm room. You can create wire heart-shaped garland using yarn, cardboard, and wire or you can crochet your own heart garland.
If you have already purchased a gift, why not make something that can protect you from the cold? Make a heart scarf that will put you in the holiday spirit and will keep you warm at the same time! You will need different colors of felt , a large sewing needle, and some yarn. To go with the scarf, you can also make this stylish heart covered purse!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Found Objects in Assemblages

Found Objects + Your Creativity
 = Inspired Assemblages

You’ve surely noticed that The I.D.E.A. Store offers many “found objects”, three-dimensional everyday or unusual items that are “discovered” by people who re-purpose them, incorporating them into unique craft and art projects. Found objects are not your traditional art supplies, and they usually don’t have significant monetary value. Their “value” is perceived by the person who chooses these items: “this would make a great ______!” Found objects are often used in an assemblage, a “sculpture consisting of different objects and materials arranged in a unified 3-D composition.” (

The I.D.E.A. Store’s workshops intentionally feature found objects because we hope you will see their
potential as creative elements. In this Saturday’s “Design Your Family’s Coat of Arms” workshop, participants can incorporate interesting bits and pieces in their projects. Later this month, Melissa Mitchell’s “Cigar Box Shrine” 2-part workshop will really help you understand how to effectively use found objects to develop the theme in your box assemblage. Look for great found objects around the store on your next shopping trip, and reserve your place today in an upcoming workshop!

Article by Carol Jo Morgan, The I.D.E.A. Store's Education Director

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cold Weather Happiness

Ah, there is a blizzard going on and we're all stuck at home. Well, hopefully we're all stuck at home.

Re-Use Plastic Bag project
Perfect time to make some awesome projects. Think ahead to when the weather will be lovely and beautiful. Likely, you will looking around your home thinking.. I need something to do. Often an over supply of plastic bags is hanging around.

There are different methods of re-using plastic bags. One of our volunteers created a dress by melting the bags together with a hot iron, see her project in one of our older posts. You can also rip them into strips and use them to knit, such as this particularly pretty project. >

Check out this website for best methods of creating knitted bags.
 Here are even further cool creations from bags to inspire your thoughts.