Here’s a little story about the trash-to-treasure (actually repurposed recycling bin junk!) design, Eco Freako.

recycled eco design - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

A few years ago, we carried a Soul Flower Original design called Eco Freako for both men and women. Remember this old gem?

old soulflower sol056 - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

It has been in retirement for awhile now, but we still love the message. So for Summer 2014 we decided to freshen up Eco Freako to make it a little more freako and a lot more eco!

eco freako t shirt - Made from Trash: Eco Freako
eco freako art - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

I knew I wanted to make this design really handmade. Not just hand drawn, but pieced together with real, physical objects. Thinking of the message “eco freako,” I knew exactly where to begin: my recycling bin!

recycled stuff to print - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

At my apartment building, we co-mingle our recycling. So I took a look through my big bag of mixed recyclables under the sink and emptied the whole thing out. I picked out some things to repurpose, cut up, and print.

recycling cardboard - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

I cut out the letters from a packaging box with scissors.

printing cork - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

Rolling out some waterbased printmaking ink, I stamped a wine cork in the ink and made some cork prints.

tree cutouts - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

The trees I cut out of the lid of an oatmeal canister.

printing with recycled lid - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

Then I stamped through the cutouts with some watered-down ink on a repurposed t-shirt rag.

bubble wrap texture - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

I rolled the ink brayer on top of bubble wrap, cardboard, onion and orange produce bags, plastic produce bags, and more and stamped each piece down on paper to create a print.

all textures - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

In the end, I had a whole bunch of ‘printed’ recycled materials!

illustrator tracing - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

Next step is to digitize everything. Scan it in and turn it all into one-color graphics so it’s easier to piece together into the final design.

eco freako recycled - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

A little bit of pixel pushing and the final design is complete! Every part of the design is made from the recycled materials, printed, digitized, and collaged together to be freaky awesome.

soul flower eco freako - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

Eco Freako for women is available now, printed on a 50% organic cotton, 50% recycled plastic, made in the USA T-shirt. It was featured in the Soul Flower Summer 2014 Lookbook Lost in Ever Everland.

artist leiah - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

I love making designs this way! It’s a fun way to reuse materials, and the final product is always surprising when you learn the process behind it. I love how the message Eco Freako is literally infused into the design.

The best t-shirt is the one with a story, and an eco-friendly story is always best. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose on!

PS: Emptying out my recycling bin for this project, I realized that my husband and I go through way too many plastic produce bags. I never realized just how many plastic bags we were recycling until I saw them all at once 🙁

reusable produce bags - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

This realization gave me a swift kick in the pants to make a change. I immediately bought a set of reusable produce bags. Now we either put our fruits & veggies in these reusable bags, or pick the big plastic produce bags at the store that are large enough to reuse as liners in our garbage can. We’ve cut out all those extra small plastic produce bags that were literally going from grocery store, home, and straight into the recycling.

Just a small change in my eco freako quest 🙂

ajax loader - Made from Trash: Eco Freako

3 Comments on Made from Trash: Eco Freako

  1. J Hawk
    June 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm (6 years ago)


  2. Gretta Lively
    June 11, 2014 at 4:57 pm (6 years ago)

    [lightbox title="LightboxTitle" url="PageURL"]so so cool, it is amazing the stories behind all the cool stuff at Trash to treasure indeed. I am going to show this to my kids & see if we can come up with a fun summer art project!

  3. Rochelle
    July 23, 2014 at 1:26 am (6 years ago)

    This is so awesome, Leiah! What a great way to talk the talk and walk the walk!


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