What do you get when you combine another shelter-at-home weekend with a bin full of crusty kitchen castoffs and grungy used hardware? If you guessed “an upcycled junk rabbit,” you’ve obviously been reading this blog for too long.
Turning other people’s thrift store castoffs into seasonal decor is kind of my thing. Or at least buying up other people’s junk and stockpiling it in bins in my basement (while telling myself that I might maybe someday turn it into seasonal decor) is.
But with thrift stores being closed these days, I am currently unable to add to my basement hoard, and with my newfound free time at home, I no longer have an excuse to put off diving into my junk stockpile and actually making something out of it.
An upcycled junk rabbit seemed like a good project to start with, considering that Easter is just around the corner. Here are the pieces I pulled out of my cache of castoffs to make him with:
And here’s what he looked like once he was done:
Upcycled junk rabbit materials & supplies
If you want to make your own upcycled junk rabbit, here’s what you’ll need:
- 1 vintage aluminum salt shaker (body)
- 1 vintage aluminum mini Jell-O mold (head)
- 1 small brass dome (nose)
- 1 mysterious wishbone-shaped hardware item (ears)
- 1 vintage aluminum Christmas light reflector (neck ruffle)
- 2 small vintage aluminum measuring spoons (arms)
- 2 metal disks, washers and/or beads (eyes)
- 1 vintage aluminum heart-shaped mold (feet)
- Quickcrete or Henry’s FeatherFinish Skimcoat
- Various nuts, bolts and washers
- Drill and drill bits
- Gorilla Glue (or other brand of super glue)
- Orange soda can (carrot)
- Nozzle (carrot top)
- Wire (whiskers and carrot greens)
- Kitchen shears or tin snips
- Protective gloves
The first thing I did to make this guy was to drill two holes into the mini Jell-O mold, which was going to become the rabbit’s head.
One hole went in the bottom of the Jell-O mold, where it would attach to the salt shaker body.
The other hole went in the center of the Jell-O mold, where his nose was going to be.
Then I ran a bolt through a pre-existing hole in the small brass dome …
… and through the hole in the middle of the Jell-O mold.
The mysterious wishbone-shaped hardware item with the orange handles (are those handles?) conveniently had a threaded hole in it that held a small bolt. I unscrewed that bolt and threw it out (because it was too short) and then screwed the longer bolt that was running through the brass dome and Jell-O mold into it.
The bolt held the rabbit’s nose, face and ears together. Here’s what his head looked like from the back once I had all the pieces attached.
And here’s what it looked like from the front.
The bunny’s body
Moving on to the bunny’s body, I drilled a hole into the center of the bottom of the salt shaker. Then I removed the cover from the salt shaker and ran a bolt up from inside.
I stacked an aluminum Christmas light reflector on top of the bunny’s body. The reflector is supposed to look like a ruffle or a fancy collar (the latest in haute couture for this season’s discriminating upcycled junk rabbit).
Next I attached the salt shaker body to the Jell-O mold head, by running the bolt through both pieces …
… and fastening them together with a nut.
Arms and feet
I had a couple of 1/4-teaspoon measuring spoons to use for his arms. To attach them, I drilled holes into both sides of the salt shaker.
Then I ran bolts through holes at the tops of the measuring spoons and through the holes in the salt shaker, securing them with nuts inside.
I was planning to use the heart mold as the base for my rabbit, thinking that each half of the heart would look like a foot. The mold was super lightweight, though, which was a bit of a problem. It needed to be heavier to anchor the bunny and keep him from toppling over. I decided the best way to accomplish that was to fill the mold with cement.
I used Henry’s Feather Finish Underlayment Patch and Skimcoat because I had some left over from a previous project (the concrete pumpkins I made last fall), but any substance that dries hard and heavy, like Quickcrete, joint compound, or grout would have worked.
Once the cement dried, I stacked the salt shaker cover on top of the heart and drilled a hole through both.
Then I screwed a bolt through the hole in the concrete …
… flipped the heart over…
… and slid the salt shaker cover onto the bolt.
Attaching the bunny’s body to the base was just a matter of screwing the salt shaker back onto its cover.
They’re bunny ears, not devil horns
The rabbit’s ears had been bothering me the entire time I was making him. The orangey-red plastic coating on them reminded me more of devil horns than bunny ears. I debated painting the plastic coating (grey? pink? black?) or peeling it off altogether.
Then I saw the box of Henry’s FeatherFinish that I had used as ballast in the feet and decided I could use that to cover the plastic coating on the ears, too.
After the skimcoat dried, I found a couple of metal discs and beads to use for his eyes and attached them with Gorilla Glue.
For his whiskers, I drilled a few holes in the side of his nose …
… and inserted wires into them.
The holes I had drilled were too big for the wimpy wire I had on hand, so I ended up twisting three pieces of it together for each whisker .
Soda can carrot
To finish my bunny off, I decided he needed a carrot to hold. A quick dig through my recycling bin turned up an empty orange soda can that seemed like a promising start.
I cut the top and bottom of the can off with an old pair of kitchen shears and laid the aluminum out flat. (Note: If you’re trying this at home, wear protective gloves. Aluminum has sharp, jagged edges.)
Next, I rolled up the aluminum, carrot style, trimmed off the overhanging portion, and Gorilla Glued the edge in place.
I found a bunch of random wires to use as the stem, but I was stumped as to how to hold them in place inside the carrot until I found this thing in my bin of miscellaneous parts that I’m guessing might be a nozzle from a tiki torch. (Let me know in the comments below if you have any other ideas.)
I bent the mass of wires in half and fed them up through the nozzle, like so:
Finally, I attached the carrot to the lip that ran around the bottom of the nozzle, using glue to hold it in place.
Like most things I make, the carrot is far from perfect, but considering I was only using what I had on hand, I’m counting it as a win.
He’s kinda cute, right? In an Island of Misfit Toys/second-hand junk rabbit sort of way.
For anybody who’s considering making their own upcycled junk rabbit, let me say the key is to think outside the box. Odds are you’re not going to be able to find the exact same pieces I did, but you don’t have to. His body could be a coffee can. His ears could be a couple of shoe horns. His feet could be two L-brackets that attach to the back of his body. That’s the joy in making these guys. Every one is unique.
That’s all for now! Hope you’re all able to stay home and stay safe and do a little crafting of your own during these troubled times.