21. How to Create a Game from Plastic Milk Bottle Lids

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

This episode is subtitled: ‘How’s your memory…?’

I was telling the girls in the flower shop about the children’s game I’d been making for this week’s project. It’s a memory game like the one where you lay lots of cards out face down and take it in turns to flip two over, hoping to pick out a pair. The only difference with this game is that it’s made from old plastic milk bottle lids and you have to find pairs of matching fabric instead of two identical pictures.

Anyway, that got us talking about how your short-term memory is supposed to be less reliable as you get older, especially if you don’t exercise it.

Have you ever run upstairs for something and completely forgotten what you’ve gone for? It happens quite a lot with me now and I’m hoping a few of you are nodding your heads too. I can put some of my lapses down to inefficiencies in multi-tasking – trying to do too many things at once, such as going to get the clean sheets for the bed then seeing a cardigan that needs to be hung up then spotting some fluff in the wardrobe so getting the vacuum cleaner out then when Blue and I are ready to turn in for the night, finding the bed isn’t made up.

They are just little things but I spent some time with my sewing circle ladies this weekend and that got me a bit spooked. We were at Claire’s house and as I walked into her lounge I said, Oh, your new sofa’s arrived! It looks great,’ and then as I sat down I added, ‘it’s so comfy.’

The new sofa was worthy of the praise but apparently I’d said the exact same thing last time! I had no recollection of this and when I re-told the story in Tulips, Jaz (mid thirties with total recall) thought I was making it up, but I wasn’t. Oh dear. Is anyone else as bad as this?

I think I should play the game to keep my brain active. I’ll probably need to save twice as many lids to make it more difficult and find someone who’ll play it with me three times a day! I don’t think Blue’s going to be up for it (and in any case I’d be worried he might beat me). salvagebox.co.uk - BlueAh well, here’s how I made it.

Blue's signatureI saved the lids for weeks but when I came to inspect them closely there were several that looked nearly the same but weren’t identical, which is no good for this game. I managed to gather 18.

Even though I’d rinsed each of them as I was collecting them, I gave them all a good scrub to get rid of every last scrap of dried milk.

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

I cut out a cardboard template for the inside of the lid.

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

Then I chose the fabric for the pairs – 9 designs. The fabric choices will probably remind you of the shabby chic pictures we sewed a couple of weeks ago.

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

The fabric can show through the lids so I decided each one should be lined with paper. The easiest way to make sure there was complete overlap between the fabric and the paper was to glue (PVA glue) the pieces of fabric to the paper then use the template to cut out two of each. Below is a picture of the fabric stuck to an A4 piece of paper so you can see how little was needed for 18 lids, which meant most came from my scraps jar.

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

Here they are ready to glue into the lids.

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

All ready to play.

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

If your pattern is large it makes the game a bit harder. My patterns were all quite small – this one is the trickiest, but it’s still not difficult.

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

I also made a gingham drawstring bag to keep them in.

salvagebox.co.uk - memory game

Now all I need is to find a child to play with.


  • Use coloured felt for young children to make a simple memory game; use large patterns to make the game more difficult for older children.
  • Keep adding to your game as you get more lids!

Salvaged Items:

  • Plastic milk bottle lids
  • Scraps of fabric

I was inspired by this feature from Purl Soho. It was another very quick project to make (once you’d saved the lids) and there were so many lovely photos I’ve given you lots this week. Hope you like it.

Please have a go yourself and post your photos on Facebook.

Jenny signature

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6 thoughts on “21. How to Create a Game from Plastic Milk Bottle Lids

    • You’re right, Laura. Also you could use fewer lids (about 10) and only two designs of fabric to make a game similar to noughts and crosses (pink gingham v blue spot!). Jenny xx

  1. This is such a good idea. I am going to give it a go and use up my old fabric scraps and hopefully my goddaughter will love it!

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment, Alex. I’m sure your goddaughter will love this game and you can make it harder as she gets older by adding more lids. Jenny xx

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