When my son Jacob was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 3, I never thought this illness would inspire me in such a positive way. Yes, we did go through some hard times dealing with T1D, but now we’ve become stronger than ever.

I started blogging about diabetes (in French—get your translator on!), which was very fulfilling for many years. But then I started to get even more creative, making blue circle keychains for World Diabetes Day for my friends and family, along with diabetes-themed bracelets, necklaces, and other things. Now I sell these items in my own Etsy™ shop called D MamaOwl Boutique.

Recently, looking at all the plastic waste that’s left after each of my son’s insulin pump site changes got me thinking. I’m a knick-knack hoarder by nature, so I began keeping all the empty insulin vials, infusion set caps, reservoirs, and tubing, hoping to find something to do with them.

And here it is! A picture frame made from packaging and other discarded items that otherwise would have wound up in the trash. Use it to frame a family photo, artwork, or an inspirational message for your child.

I hope you enjoy this diabetes upcycling craft project… Who knows what other fun things we can think up to make with our diabetes waste!

What You’ll Need

  • Picture frame
  • Old diabetes supplies (such as empty, rinsed insulin vials and pump tubing)
  • Other craft decorations or embellishments, optional
  • Hot glue gun
  • Spray primer
  • Spray paint
  • Clear finish spray

What You’ll Need

  1. suppliesCollect your old diabetes supplies. Make sure to empty and clean everything before reusing, and if you use syringes, please, don’t forget to remove the needles—I wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt! I included a couple of additional items as well, like beads, a syringe charm, and an old Mickey Mouse night light.
  2. gluePlan the layout of your items on the frame. Then, get your hot glue gun ready and glue each item to the frame. (If you’re making this project with your kids, you should be the one to use the glue gun for safety reasons.)
  3. PrimerNext, spray on a coat of primer. This step is optional, but if you’re using lots of colorful items, it might save you additional paint coats. Just don’t do this inside the house—you’ll need a well-ventilated place where it’s okay to get wild with spray paint!
  4. paintOnce the primer is dry (usually in about 10 minutes), then it’s time to paint. Again, do this part outside! Choose a spray paint in your favorite color and apply up to four thin coats, letting each coat dry before applying the next one. (You’ll get better results this way than if you try to apply just one or two heavy coats.) After the last coat is dry, apply a coat of clear finish spray. Now all you have to do is put a picture inside and hang it!

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.

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