Green Crafter Book Review: Crafty Cans and Perplexing Plastic, by Mahe Zehra Husain

jewelry and ornament from Crafty Cans and Perplexing Plastic by Mahe Zehra Husain

At CAGW, we embrace the DIY mindset in all its forms, from sewing your own underwear to starting your own indie craft fair to publishing your own DIY handbook. Sure, we love DIY books from big authors and major publishing houses, too, but in my opinion there’s nothing better than a crafty crafter discovering some brand-new methods to work with the same old materials, and getting the world out all by herself by publishing her very own e-book.

That’s why I think you’re really going to like the e-book Crafty Cans and Perplexing Plastic, by Mahe Zehra Husain. If you’re a recycled artist or crafter, you may think that you know everything that can be done with old soda cans and plastic packaging, but trust me–Husain has some very new things to teach you (and something to give you, as well–read on for the details!).

Crafty Cans and Perplexing Plastic ebook by Mahe Zehra HusainHusain’s biggest contribution is the bravery that she shows in her willingness to potentially ruin fancy scrapbooking supplies such as her Sizzix, Cuttlebug, and Crop-o-dile in order to test what tools will work with aluminum cans and plastic packaging. Thanks to this, Husain can tell you exactly which Sizzix and Cuttlebug products work well with these materials, and how to use them to create elaborately die-cut and embossed aluminum and plastic pieces.

For embellishing these pieces, Husain has also tested numerous inks, paints, and markers, and can tell you what works and how to use it to add color and create detailed embellishments.

You can likely imagine for yourself all the uses you could make of die-cut, embossed, and embellished aluminum and plastic, but if you need some inspiration, Husain also includes in her book detailed tutorials for several projects using these materials, from jewelry to bookmarks to gift tags to home decor to lots and lots and lots of scrapbook and altered book embellishments.

Scrapbooking, in particular, can be such a high-waste, heavily consumerist hobby–imagine all those store shelves filled with stickers, chipboard shapes, and plastic doo-dads of all kinds!–that it’s thrilling for a recycling-heavy scrapbooker like myself to now have access to a whole host of additional ways to create upcycled scrapbook embellishments. Aluminum and plastic are both sturdy, and we all know, to our sadness, how long-lasting they are. With Husain’s methods, they’ve suddenly become incredibly versatile craft supplies, too, allowing scrapbookers and altered book artists to create alphabets, photo frames, and other shapes, in an infinite variety of colors and embossed patterns.

Check back right here on Crafting a Green World tomorrow, when Mahe Zehra Husain is giving you a head start on Christmas by giving away 25 copies of her e-book The Christmas Guide to Upcycling.

Full Disclosure: I received a complementary review copy of Crafty Cans and Perplexing Plastic. 

[The images on this page are the property of Mahe Zehra Husain.]

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. Pretty cool stuff! I didn’t know you could use coke cans with a Sizzix. With the amount of cola we consume in our household, that’s a LOT of embellishments! I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m guessing aluminum motifs can be used in a variety of other crafting projects, like desk sets, jewelry boxes and other stuff like that.

    Sounds like a nifty author… will check out their website.

  2. Really great stuff! I ordered both of her ebooks and her free book. A fun and useful reward for a full weekend of doing taxes. Thank you! I never miss a posting from Crafting a Green World!

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