Foraging expert Fiona Bird shows how being a good beachcomber can not only really help the environmental problem of ocean pollution, but also help make some brilliant eco-friendly art…

For a long time, people thought getting rid of waste at sea was a good idea, but it isn’t and is now threatening the foundations of life in the oceans.

The Kraken

Make this Kraken (or an octopus if you prefer) by recycling a plastic bottle you’ve found on the beach. It is very easy to make, but adult supervision may be required. Dried pom pom weed (Vertebrata lanosa), carrageen (Chrondus crispus), or beach sponge are perfect for hair.

WHAT TO USE

  • Scissors
  • 17fl oz (500ml) clean plastic bottle
  • Knife with a pointed end
  • 3 lengths of craft cord, one measuring 28in (70cm) and two measuring ¾–1¼in (2–3cm)
  • Dinner candle in a suitable holder (e.g. a glass bottle)
  • Pair of googly eyes
  • Nail polish
  • Craft glue
  • Dried pom pom weed, carrageen, or sponge (for the hair)
  • 2 pieces of dried dulse or bladder wrack, 6in (15cm) in length

WHAT TO DO

  1. Use the scissors to cut the top off the plastic bottle. Turn the bottle upside down and use the pointed knife to make a hole (large enough for threading the craft cord through) in the middle of the bottom of the bottle.
  2. Use the scissors to cut strips in the open end of the bottle—these are the Kraken’s tentacles – leaving about 1½ –2in (4–5cm) of plastic at the base for the Kraken’s head. (If you are making an octopus, then you’ll need to cut eight tentacle strips.)
  3. Thread the longer piece of craft cord through the hole in the bottom of the bottle (the Kraken’s head) and tie a big knot in the end so that you’ll be able to hang up your Kraken.
  4. Light the candle and then create the wavy tentacles by twisting the strips over the flame to melt the plastic. Be careful, but quick, or the plastic may go black.
  5. Stick on the googly eyes and add extra details with the nail polish.

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