Make a Mrs Recycle Model

Materials: (see picture)

Start collecting some bits - a couple of flower pots (one a bit larger than the other), lots of colourful bottle tops (milk-bottle sized for the legs and fizzy-drink sized for the arms), and a couple of bigger bottle tops (about as big as fabric softener measuring caps is good) for feet.
Remember to wash and dry all the lids and things you are using so they aren't smelly or sticky!

Materials Needed

You will need:
  • Arms: 18 - 22 larger bottle tops (about 30-35mm across).
  • Legs: 16 - 20 smaller bottle tops (about 20-25mm across).
  • Feet: 2 measuring caps (about 60-120mm across, about 120mm or more long).
  • Body: 1 clean plastic flower pot (about 90-105mm across the top).
  • Head: 1 clean plastic flower pot (about 60-75mm across the top).
  • Wire or string.
  • 4 beads (about 5mm across).
  • 1 Marker pen.
  • Method:

    You will need a bradawl or a thick darning needle to make holes, a pair of small pliers and wire cutters (to tie & cut wire) or a pair of scissors (to cut string), and some newspaper to protect your working surface.
    You can make a Mrs Recycle as seen on BBC's Blue Peter


    Ask an adult to help make a hole in the centre of each bottle top.


    To start each leg, attach a bead to the end of a piece of wire.


    On each leg, thread on of the two bigger lids for feet.


    For each leg, thread about 9-10 larger tops, the same number on each leg (keep one larger lid back for each arms).


    Turn the larger 'body' flowerpot upside down and mark one of the holes with the letter 'A'.
    Next, find the opposite hole and mark it with the letter 'B'.


    Mark one of the holes in the smaller 'head' pot with the letter 'A'.
    Next, find the opposite hole and mark it with the letter 'B'.
    Stand the head pot the right way up on top of the upside down body pot, lining up 2 'A's' on one side and 2 'B's' on the other side.
    Take one of the legs you have already made and:


    Pass the wire up through hole 'A' in the body pot.


    Pass the wire up through hole 'A' in the head pot.


    Pass the wire down through hole 'B' in the head pot.


    This time, do not pass the wire down through the body.
    Pass the wire across and in between the 'head' and 'body' pots so that it comes out on side 'A'. Repeat steps a-d for the other leg, but on the other side of the pots:
    Up through body 'B' & head 'B', down through head 'A' and across & out on side 'B'.


    On each arm, thread one larger lid for the shoulder onto the wire.


    For each arm, thread 8-10 smaller lids onto the wire, the same number on each arm.


    For each leg, hold on to the leg and draw the wire tight, pushing the arm lids up to the body.


    To finish each arm, thread on one bead and fasten.


    Make a face on the smaller 'head' pot with the marker pen.


    • Wire or String? - Which ever you use, both sides must be the same.
      Wire - arms & legs can be positioned but are very stiff. The best wire is modelling wire, but florists wire or an old guitar string can work. Take care with wire as the ends can be sharp.
      String - arms & legs are more flexible but a cannot be positioned. Instead of string you could also use some old fishing line which is thin yet strong.
    • Instead of marker pens, use left over plastic model paints to paint a face on.
    • For a musical Mrs Recycle, use 4 small 'budgie bells' in place of beads.
      • Give Mrs Recycle hair by growing some grass, cress, mustard or a herb in the head pot.
        To grow hair, quarter-fill the head pot with a bit of the leg of an old (washed!) pair of tights, fill with some fine soil or potting compost (or even cotton wool can work), sprinkle with seeds and wait.
        Don't let the soil get too dry or too wet, a little damp is nice.
        If you use herb seeds, Mrs Recycle will have a lovely long lasting special perfume!
        You can give Mrs Recycle a haircut if it gets too long for her!
      • Use an old odd-sock or the leg of some old coloured tights pulled over the body pot to make an unusual dress for Mrs Recycle, but make sure and wash it first!
        Or perhaps give Mrs Recycle a suite by drawing one on and gluing on some small buttons.
      • To give Mrs Recycle shoes, use 2 rectangular or oval lids like the ones found on sticks of deoderant.
      • To stop the legs hiding inside the body:
      • *

        Cut out a circle of card from an old cereal packet so that it is a tight fit inside the top ridge of the body pot. Do not fit it yet.


        Get an adult to help make two holes in the card, opposite each other on the centre line about 20mm in from the edge, then mark one hole 'A' and the other 'B'.


        After threading the lids for the legs (method, item 4), before passing the wire up through the pot pass it up through the circle of card, matching the letters as before.


        When both sides have been completely threaded (method, item 8), before finishing the arms tightly pack pieces of screwed-up newspaper into the body pot until it is full.


        Put paper glue all over the back (inside) of the card and push it into place inside the pot.


        Finish as in method, item 9.

      • Most of all, use your imagination and have fun!