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How To Make Crafts From Melting Plastic Water Bottles

Updated on November 3, 2012
Itsy-bitsy spider
Itsy-bitsy spider

The Beginning

There are a lot of ideas out there on how to re-use old plastic water bottles. From craft projects to camping ideas, there are many ways to recycle and use plastic water bottles instead of just throwing them away. This is by far the most fun and best project I have found. I will warn you that melting plastic does become a little bit addictive. This project does involve using fire so it is recommended you do the melting part and let the kids paint the creations.


Before you begin, you will need to collect some supplies. They include plastic water bottles, scissors, tea lights (candles), and paint. You can use any type of paints that will work well and stick to plastic. I have found acrylic paint, nail polish, and spray paint seem to work the best. Depending on how creative you are and what you decide to make other items may be needed. Some of these are pipe cleaners, dowels, and/or other craft supplies to make your vision come to life.

The Steps

Before beginning, decide what you are going to make ahead of time. Some ideas are flowers and animals like an octopus, spiders, and whatever your imagination can create. I happen to prefer making flowers. Once you know what you are going to create, cut the water bottle in half in the middle. For flowers you can make it shorter by cutting closer to the top or bottom depending on what side you are using. Both the top and bottom can be used in this project. Once the bottle is cut in half, you will cut slits going down going all the way to the cap or all the way to the circle on the bottom. Please see picture for reference. The slits can be cut either thin or thicker depending on what you are doing. For spiders, I recommend cutting thinner strips to make 8 legs but flowers are usually cut thicker to look more like petals.

Once all the strips are cut, then the fun starts. Now is the time to start melting and manipulating the plastic to form it in the shape you want. Hold one section of plastic at a time directly over the flame. You are going to want to hold it in the position you want it to stay in. For a more closed flower hold the sections up more. For a more open looking petals, hold each piece further out. The plastic will melt very quickly so watch out. The best method is to hold the edges over the flame while moving it in a quick circular motion. Once the piece is melted to the shape you want then move on to the next one until all sections are complete. Don't worry if you don't like the positioning the first time, you can melt it again until you are happy with it.

Once the bottle is melted to the shape you want, it is time to get creative. Break out the paints and color your creation. Let the kids help paint their own. My creations are more kid friendly but the more artisitic you are, the better it will turn out. The spiders make a great way to decorate for Halloween without spending a lot of money. There are many ways to re-use old plastic bottles and keep them out of landfills but this is by far my favorite.


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