I have explained in several of my blogs that when I had my heart attack and became unemployed we needed to cut back. The one area I could help with was the trash. I knew I could do it cheaper than the $25 a month we were paying to get it carried away. Just hauling it to town and paying per bag was cheaper than what we were paying. We did not have a lot of trash. About eight bags on average.
Having had several people ask about it I decided to do a page with a lot of pictures to show you how to do it. You can make your stuff out of about anything. This first picture is of an old detergent bottle. Pictures of birds using it is what sells it. I get $3 to $5 out of them, I call them redneck feeders, gets laughs and a few
Milk jug feeders usually bring only about $3 but but even a $1 beats paying to get rid of it. It is another of my Red NeckFeeders. Selling point is that the buyer does not have to do the work. A razor knife, a piece of clothesline and drill a hole in the cap and your in business with this one. You can make about ten of these an hour. Some days they fly away and some days they just sit. Sooner or later they sell though. Especially if you have proof they work. With all feeders make sure you make plenty of 1/8 inch holes for drainage so the feed does not go bad. You can get creative and paint them bright colors, but I usually leave them the color they are. My big contributions is to take a marker and put the words Red Neck Feeder on them.
I break my trash into several groups. Garbage which goes in my compost pile and helps the garden.Burnables which is exactly what I do with them. Junk mail makes good fire starting material. I live in the country but still have to burn in a metal container. If you work it right you can get a $1 to $2 from neighbors for hauling off their trash. Then you break it down and end up with only about one bag to get rid of and you have made $10 to $20 if not more. Being a trash man is beneath some peoples dignity though.
You can make lots of things from gourds. The hard part is getting them started, but if you put them in sunny area, Give them a place to climb you can get 10 or more per plant. If you get more than that. Take the time to pinch them off so you get bigger gourds..I try to limit mine to about 5 per plant. Bad thing is it takes two years to become self sufficient with gourds. First year you grow them then lay them out over winter in a dry place. Like a barn loft and by spring they are ready for you to make something out of them. When picking make sure the vine has turned brown. That means they are grown. Freezing does not seem to hurt them. Like I said just make sure the place is dry and out of the weather. You can make lots of things out of gourds or you can just sell the gourds. People who do crafts will buy them. Here I have two patriotic bird houses and a gourd bird house chime. It is in the background. The spoons I pick for virtually nothing at yard sales. A drill some fishing line and a few washers and you are in business. I get the beads from jewelry I buy for next to nothing at yard sales and take apart.. My trade mark an preference is to use a piece of dowel rod to make the hanger. You can buy it at any hardware or lumber place. Usually 3 or 4 feet for a buck. You only need 8 inch pieces so you get 8 to 10 per rod. Like I said when you clean them out you get seeds for your next years crop. You should wear a mask when sanding on gourds. The dust can cause breathing problems if you get to much. It is commonly called Gourd Flu and can be serious/
This is a side view of the earlier sunflower and patriotic bird house. You can use cans, old plastic coffee cans or glass bottles. I have about three or four sizes I like to use. Especially the Vlasic Pickle jars. You do not need the lids, but do not pitch them. I use the lids for paint mixing cups to get the color I want when I am doing something I want to looks a certain way. Notice how the piece of dowel hold the bottle in placed. I leave the labels on, but many take them off and some have told me you can watch the birds making nests and feeding. I have not done it myself. I am more into feeding. Some winters I go through over a 100 pounds a month. I do not mind it as these little critters make me my spending money. Only fair they get their share. I have found on the bottle houses a 1 1/2 inch opening seems to work best. Some people will tell you they do not want perches on the houses cause predators can use them. One thing I will tell you is that if you get into making this stuff. There's always going to be the people who tell you a better way to do things. Just smile and take their advice and their money.
| These gourd characters are my favorites to make for a couple reasons. One is that it is just fun figuring out how to make a neat face that will attract people. The second is they sell real good and make real good money. Some of them I get $20 and more out of.|
Notice the skin color and the eye color. That is what I use those lids for. Just mix enough to do the job at hand. It does not seem to keep good. After a while you will know how much to mix for almost any project. When done pitch them and cut down on the amount of cleanup you have to do. I keep my paint in my garage. Drilled a hole in the side of an old freezer and rigged up a light fixture. One sixty watt bulb will keep the temperature about 60 degrees when the outside temperature is at 10 degrees. Paint can be expensive. Make it last. Clean your brushes as you go and it will make life a lot simpler. The idea is to keep the cost down and some spending money
These swords and shields I made from wood scraps I would normally have burnt. The handles on the shields is held on with rivets and the material is old lawn chair seating straps cut to size. The more creative you are the more you can make. I usually sell the swords for $10 and the shields for $10 or $17 for a pair and believe me kids rule and they will get both. Remember the only thing you have in this is your time and some paint. You just saved something from being thrown on the burn pile. You just helped beat global warming if your into that. It is a good line that sells the stuff.
This is another of my favorites. I love doing mobiles. I got hooked on them in a college art class and have been making weird stuff out of scrap every since. I call it "Found Art" it is literally made from stuff I find laying around. The trick is getting every thing to swing and spin and turn in the wind without hanging up on itself. Some of these I have gotten over $50 out of. I might have a dollars worth of chain and a few old key rings in it. They do take time to make, but it is what I do while I am waiting on customers to show up in my shop. Or when I am waiting for paint to dry. Just basically for killing time, but making some money while I do it. You are only limited by your imagination while making this stuff. I usually try to make a catchy name and a simple certificate that says this is a one of a kind piece of art, Created by___ Date___ and Name__ This particular piece I call "A time to plant, and a time to build" Still have it cause it was my first one. Lot of sentimental attachment. Remember it is just junk. I would sell it, but the price
together. The beads and shiny stuff on the bottom attracts the birds to the feeders. I use cotter pins to hold them to the pan. You need to drill lots of 1/8 inch holes around the edges and all over the bottom pan that holds the feed. That lets the water out so it does not make the seed or feed moldy that you put in the pan. To fill it I use a coffee cup, You have to keep the pans far enough apart to be able to fill it. These sell for anywhere from $10 to $25. The look will determine the price. Do not try to charge high prices for cheap work. Give the customer his moneys worth but charge for your creativity. If you spend three hours making one charge accordingly. I can make one in less that 30 minutes, but I been doing it awhile.
Tea pot wind chimes easily bring $15 to $25 dollars. The hard part is finding the pots. I get mine at yard sales normally, The most I will pay is normally $2 which I do not mind if it is a nice pot it will make ten times my money back. The chimes can be from metal pipes, silverware, bamboo, trinkets or beads, Really anything you might want to try and have enough of to make it look right. The trick is finding the right balance and not overloading the thing with to much stuff. Weight can also be a factor. Have made some pretty heavy ones myself. Sometimes I buy wind chimes for a $1 or so at a yard sale with the idea to tear it apart and make something more marketable or the way I want to make it so it will sell. After awhile you know what your customers want and what will and will not sell. If it will not sell it is a waste of your time.
As the old saying goes, Time is Money. Don't waste it.
This one is made from an old porcelain teapot. Porcelain is hard to drill but it can make some really nice pieces. I usually buy one ten foot rod and it divide it to get five pieces. They have to vary in length. I usually use 2" or 3" variations. I use chain to last and cotter keys and fishing swivels to make it so it is strong and will spin. The clanger can be about anything you want to use. To give the clanger good mobility I use a piece of an old license plate and attach it with a fishing live swivel. Then I bend it so the wind can make it spin. Even when it is not blowing hard enough to ring the chimes. One like this can bring $35 to $40 easy. You can always cut prices if stuff is not moving, but do not even think about raising prices. It will get you bad word of mouth, even if you never hear it yourself.
Finally my favorite pot chime with spoons and beads. These can bring really good money if they are shined have good balance, good sparkelies and make a pleasant sound. Have seen these go as high as a hundred dollars at flea markets. It is all about how good of a salesman you are. You have to pitch the sale to make it work. Farmers markets and flea markets can be great fun and you can have a great time doing it. Just remember your doing it to make money and keep your eyes open for new and better ideas you can steal and improve on. The best money makers versus investment I have seen are the guys who do the sandblasted rocks and the guys who are really good at making scroll work art(very time consuming though) with a jig saw. They make some awesome bucks.
Hope somebody gets some use out of this article. Especially ones that need to make a couple bucks to get by. You can now make going to yard sales into a tool. You can find materials and ideas for things to make. Also if you have business cards hand them out with the date and place you will have your yard sale and what you will be selling. Network,,,,Helping each other, helps everybody.