Monday, July 11, 2011

Crochet Pattern: Recycled, Upcycled Frappuccino (or "The Trash Frapp")

...this one was for Annie, who asked why my desk was accumulating empties...

There are endless possibilities for every article of refuse, trash, or recyclables.

There are also endless possibilities for unwanted clothing and fabrics.

Here's just one way to put an empty, environmentally sinful drink container and an undesirable t-shirt (it shrunk) to good use. There are endless other ways (honestly!). Hopefully some of my bizarre little projects inspire you to try creating something of your own. The beauty of using things that would otherwise be thrown out or given away is that there is no cost to your little 'experiment', and if it turns out hideous, you can simply recycle it and forget it ever happened. Risk free art!

I made this little recycled-materials project into a coin bank (yep, even that ribbon was reused! Nice!) for a coffee savings fund. It works nicely on a desk, in the break room at work, or even in one of the many cup holders in your vehicle, in which case it serves to keep parking meter change within easy reach! 

You could also omit cutting a coin slot in the lid and use this cute little container to hold jewelry or hair accessories to tidy up a vanity. Or for holding paper clips and pens on a desk. Or fill it with coffee beans for an air-freshener (this is a great way to use up beans you don't like, or beans that fell on the floor...!).

You could also use the Trash Frapp to store charging cables and earphones (coiled up), which I find hard to store neatly. I've got a veritable vipers nest of cords, cables and wires in a desk drawer for my camera, iPod, etc. (Note to self - make another Trash Frapp!).

Or the whole thing could simply serve as packaging for a gift certificate to a friend's favourite cafe.

I made it just 'cause I could. And to show off my recycling skills. I feel this can be all the rationale one needs!

The Trash Frapp: Coffee-Fund Coin Bank
These instructions should be loosely followed, according to several variable factors: the thickness and consistency of the 'yarn' being used, how tightly/loosely you crochet (gauge will vary!), and of course the exact shape and size of your beverage container. Please keep in mind that these are guidelines, and that the true joy in creating a craft like this lies in the 'executive decisions' you make while creating your art! If it's looking too wonky here, or is getting a bit wide there, adapt! Add another increase, or another row of sc only, or be very scientific about the whole thing and bring in a level of precision that I have not - whatever works for you is the right way to do it! Enjoy the creative process!

- empty drink container (preferrably transparent, so you'll be able to see your hard work!) with lid
- t-shirt yarn* (or other very thick yarn in a coffee-like colour)
- 6.00mm crochet hook (may vary depending on thickness of your 'yarn')
- scissors (of course!)
- sharp knife/blade (for cutting a coin slot into the lid if you are making a coffee-fund change bank)

*Don't be intimidated! Here's a great video to show you how to make t-shirt 'yarn'. No ironing board - I did it while watching TV on the couch. Easy peasy.

For my Trash Frapp Coin Bank, I did the following (I think - I wasn't counting stitches, but I did try to keep track and take notes as I went):

Round 1: ch 5, sl st into first ch
Round 2: ch 1, 2 sc in each st
Round 3: (repeat round 2)
Round 4: front loops only (FLO): ch 2, sc around (1 in each st)
Round 5: back loops only (BLO): ch1, sc around (1 in each st)
Round 6: BLO: (sc in each st) x 4, 2 sc in next. Repeat.
Round 7: BLO: sc in each st around
Round 8: BLO: sc in each st until halfway point (then 2 sc in next stitch). Then sc in each st until end: 2 sc in last st
Round 9: increase by 2 st this round (sc around, then to balance out shape, 2 sc in a st twice in the round). I did this at the 1/4 and 3/4 marks to compliment the slight bulging from last round at the 1/2 and end area. (On a clock dial, this would be 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock, because the inc in round 8 were at 6 o'clock and midnight)
Round 10: Repeat round 9, but place the 2 sc increases in new positions to help correct any bulge (i.e. 1 o'clock and 7 o'clock)
Round 11: Repeat same again, but move those two 2 sc inc (i.e. 2 o'clock and 10 o'clock positions) - use your judgment to see where you need to bring up the height.
Round 12 (last one - add more between 11 and 12 if you're not close enough to the rim!): sl st all the way around - it can help to even out the top where bulges may have formed by increasing. Finish off by cutting the yarn and weaving in the ends 'til you can't see the tail. Pop on the lid and voila!

I have to confess that I started working in rounds (i.e. ch 1 before starting the next 'level') and then got lazy and started working in a spiral fashion. I've tried to retroactively adjust this pattern, but please keep this in mind if it gets extra wonky on you! This is 'art', not a tailored sweater, so be sure to make any adjustments as you go (as you see fit)! You're the boss - tell that t-yarn where to go!

Oh right - the bottom of the cup didn't look 'full' (there was a gap), so I cut a length of the t-yarn and coiled it around the bottom before pushing in the crocheted frappuccino. It helped the overall appearance quite a bit.

When cutting a coin slot into the lid, do make sure you're very careful and don't slip with the knife/blade. (I've done this before - it sucks, and you feel like a twit. I can only imagine it would be even more embarrassing if you end up requiring stitches! Do your pride a favour and cut the plastic carefully!). Make sure the surface below the plastic lid is expendable - I recommend using a cutting board or a stack of paper or a cereal box or something to save your table below. I found it easiest to cut from the inside of the lid (I turned it upside down on the cutting board), so that the plastic I was cutting sat flat against the cutting board. This gave me the best control, and I didn't have to contend with the plastic bowing and bending as I cut it (which wouldn't give as straight a line, I'm sure).

If you don't have any ribbon on hand with which to tie a bow around this little gift, why not use the leftover hem from the t-shirt you made the yarn from to make a bow?

When you are finished using this little Trash Frapp, please remember to recycle the component parts (i.e. put the cup part in with the plastics recycling), or reuse it again (plant a seedling in the cup after you poke in a drainage hole or two, and unravel the t-shirt yarn for another project, or for use as plant ties, or in place of ribbon for gift wrap, or some rather unusual shoelaces, or just a convenient ball of 'twine' for your toolkit, or.....!).


  1. 2 things: it took me halfway thru reading this to realize that is not in fact coffee beans in there, and that the yarn is made from the tshirt! yeesh. Cool idea-r! :)

  2. Ha, thanks! :) I have a weird brain.... ;)