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As a result of taking up this craft in earnest, I've found that you can label yourself the quintessential environmentalist, recycling everything or a candidate for the TV show Hoarders.
I happen to work for a major US environmental advocacy organization and have found my "recycling/re-use" antennae keenly turned up. Before I discard anything I tend to see if I can use it in my crafting. I have a couple of ideas that I’d like to share and hopefully others can contribute to this thread (Don't just take a look at these posts; contribute something to the dialogue).
I was recently at Subway sandwich shop and had a salad. As I finished it, I realized that the shallow bowl and possibly the lid could be used as moulds. Both had an interesting scallop design around the edge that might add a nice feature to a project.
In a similar manner (please don't think that I only eat), I found another mould in a plastic desert container. It was one of those containers that's clear plastic, squared, with slightly curved corners that a restaurant might put a piece of cake in to take out. I cut it in half and now have two, one a bit shallower than the other, moulds for bowls
What's neat about both of these recyclables is that they are flexible, making it easier to release the PM. Though these plastic containers are not the strongest materials and subject to splitting if handled too roughly, they can be used over and over and if they do just order a salad or piece of cake ;-)
Not only can plastic (and other materials) be used as molds, they can be built upon.
If you start a project from scratch with PM, you're slowed down early with the drying time. But if you start out with a waste form as a base (leaving it inside), you just add PM, allowing you to build faster.
Plastic bottles are one example. Sit an empty soda or water bottle in front of you and imagine what you could turn it into. An angel? A collection of Santa figures? Figures for a nativity scene? A sitting cat or dog or rabbit? Your own version of Native American kachinas? Stacked to form a totem pole of creatures? Halloween or snow creatures? Body base for a Dan Reeder-style dragon or monster?
Does the bottle have a 'waist'? Make a doll.
What about using just part of the bottle? Cut off the neck; cut in half, vertically or horizontally. Just use the bottom? Or the middle?
Lay the bottle on it's side... fish for a colorful mobile? An orca whale? An airplane? The torso of an animal or a strange, exotic bird bird? A horse or dragon head? A piggy bank? Do you have some flat ones for flat fish?
A burned out light bulb: just right for the basic bodies of a collection of PM birds? Small sitting cats? Penguins?
Egg shells (raw) can be opened at both ends so there's a 1/4"/5 mm hole, pierce the egg yolk with a clean wire or bamboo skewer and blow out the contents. Wash the inside of the egg thoroughly with soap and water, and dry. Cover with PM, and then build on it. Or just cover with white or colored tissue paper and decorate. Heads for the bottles? Baby birds?
Or plug one of the holes and fill the egg with liquid plaster and let it harden. Cover the shell with a very thin coating of petroleum jelly, then cover with patches of tissue paper (white or colored). Let dry, then take a sharp craft knife and slit the PM shell carefully ALMOST all the way around (leave a "hinge") and remove the plaster-filled egg (this can be reused). Add another layer of tissue patches, let dry, and you've got some delicate, translucent eggs.
Have some old glass Christmas tree balls that have the color chipping off? Cover with PM (strips or pulp) and redecorate for the tree!
Cardboard boxes, light (like cereal boxes) or regular corrugated can make all kinds of forms. Beat in the corners with a hammer to round them off; cut off the corners to make pointy things on another form. Round, cylinder-shaped boxes are good for some stuff, whole or cut down.
Old shoes: Cover with PM and decorate to hold dry flowers?