• Louise Worner

Recycling Plastic and Ikebana for Children




One of the advantages of studying Sogetsu ikebana during confinement has been the ability to use unconventional (man-made) materials. Here in Madrid, even after our strict confinement period finished, I still find myself raiding the recycling bin for ikebana material. Although our use of plastics has diminished greatly over the years, we still have a few empty plastic milk bottles in our recycle bin each week. An idea came to me while sorting through the recycling…why not try and reuse the empty milk bottles for ikebana?

Cutting the plastic bottles into spirals

Once cleaned I cut off the bottom of the bottles so that they could be cut into continuous spirals.

Twisting and knotting the plastic spirals into different shapes.

The spring-like shapes were then easy to twist and knot into different shapes. My youngest daughter cut several milk bottles, twisting and interlinking them together.

She chose a bright yellow vase to match her flowers. She cut the stems of the flowers under water and arranged the plastic shapes and sunflowers using a kenzan (needle point). To protect the glass vase the kenzan was placed on a rubber mat.

Using the stems of the sunflowers to support the plastic shapes.

The sunflowers have strong stems so my daughter was able to use them to hold the plastic shapes. A plastic shape was twisted around one of the sunflower stems, this was used as an anchor to hold subsequent plastic shapes.


Once the main shape of the arrangement was formed, she added extra flowers. In Sogetsu Ikebana if a kenzan is used, it is important that it is not visible. As a result, my daughter added leaves to hide the kenzan. A final leaf was added low and towards the front of the arrangement, breaking the line of the top of the vase. By adding this leaf harmony between the vase and the arrangement is created.

Adding leaves to hide the kenzan.

When she finished her arrangement, my daughter told me that it was such a fun arrangement to make as she didn’t have to worry about breaking the plastic bottles as they would have gone into the recycle bin anyway.

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