Solarpunk Action Week, Day 4

So yesterday, I started on a cool upcycling project because my aux cord died. I snipped off the ends of the cord and tied it in a coil. This coil will eventually be part of a basket once more dead cords are added. Because cords die in abundance in this house. I’ve always thrown them away before, but waste not want not!

If you’d like to do a similar project, here are the basics:

  1. Get some super strong polyester thread. Yes, I prefer natural materials, too, but when you want something that can take a lot of stress, you want high-strength polyester. We always have a spool in white and a spool in black in my house for repair needs. For colours and delicate fabrics and crafts that won’t take much stress, you can use natural materials.
  2. Tie a strand on to the end as tight as you can get it. Learn from my mistakes, I did this by myself, using a pair of pliers held closed with rubber bands as a clamp. Either get a partner to help you or use a real clamp. You’ll be able to tie it tighter with another set of hands helping you. Also: at first I was tying really long strings for this, but it becomes inevitable that you’re going to have to add more threads anyway, so cut whatever size feels manageable to you.
  3. Once you’ve tied your thread to the end of the cord, loop the cord as tightly as possible and tie it to itself.
  4. Add two more threads. Continue coiling the cord and tying it to itself. You can see what this looks like in the first photo
  5. As your coiled cord gets bigger, your tying threads will become more spaced out from each other. When the gap feels that you too big to you, just add another thread between two.
  6. When you run out of cord, just add another by holding them end-to-end so they match as well as possible. If they accidentally move apart into a small gap, don’t worry about it, but you can glue them together if you want.
  7. Once you’ve got the coil as big as you want the basket to be, start building the walls up vertically by coiling on top of the cord instead of next to it. If you want a bowl instead of basket, you can build it out at a sort of slant. The easiest way to do that is just not coil it very tightly.
  8. I know this kind of project would do better with a bunch of photos or some illustrations, but I don’t have the means for that. You can look up how rope baskets are made. It’s basically the same thing.

Some people would probably glue the coil instead. It’s certainly less fuss. I’ve seen plenty of DIY YouTubers do that. I don’t like that because it always ends up a bit crusty, but it also relies entirely on the structural integrity of the glue, and most glues can’t take much weight or wear and tear. As well, when it comes to this particular project, your different cords are going to be made of different materials, and you won’t always know what that material is. The only thing that can reliably hold all of them strongly is probably epoxy, and that is incredibly messy and stinky and toxic. So just use the thread instead.

Plans for tomorrow

Tomorrow, we gotta go to the doctor and get some cleaning done. But then, I have some compost I’ve been saving up for the sheet mulching. I intend to try a more chaotic, surreptitious form of composting by hiding it under layers of mulch, as suggested by the book Compost Everything. We hope that will work better in a small space yard and hide it from the sight of neighbours who think the proper thing to do with scraps is hand them over to the city to compost so you can buy it back later. 🗑️💵😫

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