All you need for this elegant and original pencil case is two identical fabric softener bottles and a nice piece of string of the type you find on the handles of shopping bags provided by the better stores in Knightsbridge.

Some people, when shown this design, suggest that one might equally make it from shampoo bottles, but that, of course, overlooks the fact that you have already used all your empty shampoo bottles to make computer mouse holders.

Anyway, you start by cutting off the top of one container to leave the piece that will serve as the body of the pencil case. Make two holes in it as shown in the lower diagram on the left.

The other portion, hereinafter to be referred to as the lid, is made by cutting the other bottle lower down. Now comes the clever bit. To ensure that the lid fits the container snugly, you cut a thick slice from the remainder of one of the bottles. Snip a small section out of the slice, to ensure that it will fit inside the lid.

Use glue or double-sided sticky-tape to fix this strip inside the lid, with half its width protruding. The sticking-out bit then fits into the top of the case to hold the lid on.

By making two holes in the lid, you may also attach lid to case by threading your piece of decorative string through the holes, forming a carrying handle, while also holding the case shut and ensuring that you don't lose the lid.

Do you have any good ideas for recycling objects that would otherwise be thrown away? If so we should be delighted to hear from you at: Don't Junk It, The Games Page, The Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL. We hope to recycle the best ideas at a later date in this column.

Bawn O'Beirne-Ranelagh

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