Hot Sand and Skill Turns Plastic Bottles into Jewelry at Sahrawi Refugee Camp (Photos)

© Florie Salnot

Usually I am not a big fan of decoration crafted from plastic bottles; the products often look shabby and it would probably be better to upcycle those plastic bottle industrially.

However, French designer Florie Salnot's Plastic Bottle Project is different. The designs are stunning and the production technique is magical! Using what is readily available at the refugee camp: plastic bottles, hot sand, simple hand tools and a long tradition of craft, the Saharawi refugees in Western Sahara now generate an income which reduces their dependency on humanitarian aid.

© Florie Salnot

Salnot explains the technique she invented:

The plastic bottle is first painted and then cut into thin stripes with a cutting tool. After that, any type of drawing can be made by positioning some nails into the holes of a nail board: the plastic stripe is placed all around the nails and the whole is submerged into hot sand. The plastic stripe reacts to the heat by shrinking all along the nail drawing and keeping its shape. The piece of jewelry then requires a few last steps and fittings to become finalized. It is a very simple technique which, however, has the power to make the non-precious become precious.

Here you can see the tools as they are currently on show at the British Council's exhibition “Everything Forever Now” at the TCDC in Bangkok:

© Petz Scholtus

Pretty ingenious to use the desert as a free oven to recycle plastic bottles into jewelry.

© Florie Salnot

Tags: Africa | Appropriate Technology | Crafts | Fair Trade | Plastics | Recycled Fashion | Recycling | Upcycling | Waste

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