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Crafts Using Recycled Materials
Crafts can be a great way to recycle computer and
household waste while having fun and making something useful. This page
features craft projects
that are made from at least one recycled item. In some projects, like
Handmade Paper from
Recycled Scraps, the craft is made almost entirely of recycled
materials. Some projects, like the
Trinket Box, use
a recycled item as the basis of a craft.
The projects range in difficulty from VERY EASY to AVERAGE.
The craft projects are arranged in the following categories:
Select a category of projects based on the materials
available or just browse the list.
Crafts marked with
Friday Fun are great for
classroom or group craft time.
Serendipity Square Cards - In this greeting
card tutorial, learn how to use leftover scraps of paper and
cardstock to make colorful serendipity squares that are then
combined in various ways to make beautiful cards. Once you learn how to make serendipity squares, you'll never need
to throw away those small scraps of paper again!
Recycled Paper Notepads
- Make beautiful and functional notepads from recycled paper! You
will use paper from the home and office that is printed on one side,
along with scraps of leftover craft paper to make these up-cycled
scratch pads. Keep several notepads on hand to give as gifts.
Handmade Paper from
Recycled Scraps - In this project, learn how to make paper by hand from
recycled scraps of paper. Learn techniques that will give the best
results at home, along with simple and inexpensive alternatives for
children or beginners who just want to experiment.
- These bookmarks are simply made from artwork that you are willing
to cut up and two pieces of clear contact paper. This is a great way
to recycle your less than perfect artwork or preserve your child's
Recycled Greeting Cards - In this
tutorial, learn how to make new greeting cards by recycling old
cards. A variety of techniques are presented that make it easy to
create a card you will be proud to send. Making recycled cards is a
terrific group activity and is fun for crafters of all ages.
Basics of Quilling
- Quilling is the art of rolling narrow strips of paper into various
shapes, and arranging them to form elegant filigree. Cut strips from
recycled scrap paper or magazines and then use a toothpick to roll
coils and scrolls that you pinch, shape, and arrange into decorative patterns.
Milk and Cookie Placemats
Friday Fun - Kids of all ages will have fun making these placemats that are sized
for a snack of milk and cookies. Just cut out images from old greeting
cards, calendars or magazines that relate to the theme for the
placemat and cover with clear contact paper. That's it! Simple as eating
a chocolate chip cookie. Yum!
Christmas Quilling - Make festive coiled paper shapes
from scraps of paper and then use them to decorate boxes, tags, and cards. This project includes Christmas
quilling designs and examples of how to combine quilling with
Shiny Paper Beads
- See how easy it is to recycle paper scraps and magazines to make
colorful paper beads. After winding the paper into beads and varnishing
them for a shiny finish and durability, the beads can be strung into
bracelets, necklaces and even beaded room dividers!
Straw Bead Necklace
- In this project, you'll see how to take the classic drinking
straw bead necklace and step it up a notch! You'll use decorative
paper strips to cover the soda straws before cutting them into
beads. This is a great way to recycle your leftover paper scraps.
Suitable for all ages!
Seed Catalog Garden
- Make a garden in the middle of winter by cutting up seed catalogs.
Cutting up the catalogs, making the garden, and playing with it will
keep kids busy for hours.
Friday Fun - Learn how to make paper mosaics to
decorate crafts and give as gifts, while recycling the paper scraps from other projects.
Make one for Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa.
VERY EASY to EASY
Gift Tag Fun
Friday Fun - Recycle greeting cards and paper scraps into fun
and unique gift tags. The whole family can join in on the cutting
and pasting to make these special additions to your holiday gifts.
The tags can even be grouped into packages for sale at a Christmas
bazaar or for a fundraiser.
You've been cutting, folding and pasting to make your crafty creations, but now there are bits and pieces
of paper left over. Recycle that leftover paper to make simple and beautiful bookmarks using a hole punch.
Empty Paper Tube Recycling
- Use recycled materials to make this trinket box. All it takes to make
this cutie are empty cardboard tubes, a cereal box and scraps of ribbon
or paper. You are sure to want to make more than one!
Fourth of July Crackers
Friday Fun - Make a Fourth
of July cracker that goes POP! See how to make this
novelty box that is shaped like a firecracker and makes a pop sound
without any fire. It is made from a toilet paper tube or make it
bigger with an empty paper towel tube.
Friday Fun - Make binoculars from
recycled toilet paper tubes and squares of colored cellophane for lenses. Wrap the tubes in black construction paper
(or paint them black) for an authentic look or let loose the imagination
by decorating the cardboard tubes any way you like!
Toilet Paper Tube Puppets - Use empty toilet paper tubes to make finger puppets, then put on a
play that features them. Use the included patterns or make puppets of your own
design. The versatility of this puppet making technique is amazing.
Give it a try!
Thanksgiving Napkin Rings
Friday Fun -
Rings cut from empty toilet paper tubes are the basis for these easy
to make napkin rings. You and the kids will have fun while making something special for the Thanksgiving table. Use the same basic idea with simple variations for other holidays.
Box, Can, and Jar Recycling
- Here’s a craft that is fun to do, recycles empty cereal boxes, and
organizes those stacks of magazines, paperback books and
miscellaneous papers around the house or in your child’s bedroom.
Recycled Milk Carton Gift Boxes -
In this project, learn how to recycle milk and juice cartons, or any
size gable top carton, into strong gift boxes. You can either wrap the
boxes in your favorite way or transform the carton into a house or a
cuckoo clock using Aunt Annie's patterns.
EASY to AVERAGE
Easy Jar Lid Covers
- Turn any jar into something special with a jar lid cover you can
quickly make from paper. Make a cover for that special homemade
jelly or a recycled jar you fill with a treat. Anyone will be
delighted to receive a gift with a handsome lid cover.
Friday Fun - Cut up an empty
cereal box to make cards for the game of memory. This is a fun and very easy
project that young kids really love doing! It is great for families or groups, and with a
little preparation by the adult or teen leaders, this project is fast and fun.
Recycled Tin Can Candle Holders
- Imagine quiet conversation on a patio or porch in the light of
flickering candles. These simple candle holder luminaries are made
from recycled cans that are left plain or painted. The candle
holders are fun to make as a family or group project.
Snow Scene in a Jar Snow Globe
- Whether you have snow where you live or not, you can have
wintertime fun by making a wintry snow scene in a jar. All it takes
is a few plastic toys, rocks, glue, glitter and water to turn a
small jar into a winter wonderland where a gentle shake makes it
Valentine's Day Candy Jar
Friday Fun - It is easy to recycle an
empty jar into a wonderful container for Valentine’s Day candies.
Just add some cutouts from old Valentine’s Day cards or leftover
Valentine's Day napkins to make a decorated jar nice enough to give
as a gift.
Recycle Other Materials
Mittens from Sweatpants
- In this project, use old sweatpants to make mittens for kids. This is
a great way to recycle the fabric from all those holey and stained
sweatpants (and sweatshirts) that no one can wear anymore. This is a good
project for new sewers. As an added bonus, the project includes
instructions for making a scarf from sweatpants.
In this project, make new crayons out of old broken ones. Your
kids will have fun making these crayons that are better than new. The recycled crayons also make a good gift when placed in a
cellophane or plastic bag tied closed with pretty ribbon or yarn.
Stenciled T-Shirts - Take a plain T-shirt or a tired old T-shirt and perk it up with
stenciled designs. These super-easy embellishments are a great way to
rescue a T-shirt that has been stained. The same technique can be used
to stencil sweatshirts and sweatpants—just about anything made of
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