Cool Recycling and Salvage Crafts
Cool recycling turns trash into treasure
Today's focus on the environment means that more people are getting into recycling. But with a bit of imagination you can make beautiful and unique products out of your waste.
'Upcycle' bits and pieces of garbage into decorative items for your home, jewellery, new clothes or even items for the garden.
Protect your plants with old CD cases
If you've got a few empty CD cases sitting around the house then you can turn them into a mini-greenhouse to protect your plants! A very handy thing to have around, given the flaky weather we've been having recently. It even has a lid you can open on warm days :) There are instructions to follow at Curbly, but to be honest it's pretty straightforward.
Turn old newspapers into plant pots for seedlings or larger plants - get your garden growing this spring with free, plantable pots! Check out my lens Passionate About Paper Pots for more information and full instructions.
50 Practical Projects to Build and Design Productive Gardens - Lots of ideas for using recycled materials in the garden, and more!
In a garden setting, permaculture is all about building sustainable, organic and productive gardens using minimal inputs, so recycled materials have a huge role to play. This book has practical instructions on recycling tyres and plastic bottles, as well as information on building your own hothouses and shadehouses, and making compost.
This is a great book all about adding practical things to your garden using recycled materials :)
Do you like making things from newspaper? - It's a plentiful resource!
Lots of people have stacks of old newspaper hanging around, some send them straight off to be recycled. Could you turn yours into something more interesting?
Do you like turning your old newspapers into something new?
More newspaper pots - Stylish planters for free
Over at Fennel & Fern they have been using newspaper papier machÃ© to turn cheap plastic pots into stylish planters.
Simply use two layers of papier mache to cover the pot, and then add a third, decorative layer of eye-catching newspaper headlines or cartoons.
The newspaper bag project
Turn newspapers into a bag strong enough to hold your shopping or your lunch, and funky enough to use as a gift bag!
Check out The Newspaper Bag Project for full instructions - all you need is newspaper, a little bit of card, glue and string!
Chairs made from nothing but newspaper
Via Inhabitat, the very cool furniture that David Stovell is making out of carefully rolled newspaper - something that could be done at home if you have the patience!
Trash or Treasure?
Do you enjoy the challenge of reusing trash and turning it into treasure, or do you prefer to start with new craft materials so that you have a blank slate and free reign?
Reuse or buy new?
Do you recycle items in the garden? - it's called 'Allotment Chic' in the UK :)
Recycling unwanted household items into garden sundries can be fun, and will save you money.
Do you turn your trash into garden treasures?
Plant Module Filler
Fill your garden modules with ease
Over at Boots and Daisy Roots they've come up with a neat (and recycled) solution to filling your garden modules with soil or compost without making too much of a mess. They've turned a plastic milk bottle into a scoop and funnel that's just the right size for filling modules.
That's just one of the simple ways you can make use of a plastic bottle in the garden. Episode 37 of the Alternative Kitchen Garden Show has twenty more!
Wine box bug hotel
Turn an old wine crate into a wildlife habitat
Whenever I go into my local wine store I ask whether they have any wooden crates they don't need. So far I haven't been lucky - they either don't have any or they're keeping them for a special display. But if you can get your hands on some then they're endlessly useful around the house and in the garden. Check out this gorgeous bug box - a top notch wildlife habitat - that's been made from a wooden wine box, some lengths of bamboo canes and some wooden offcuts.
Recycled crate wormery
Make your own worm composter
Worm composters are expensive, but you can make your own out of recycled crates, or anything similar that stacks. Once you have your wormery all you need is composting worms (available mail order, or from bait shops, or dig them out of an existing compost heap) and you can easily recycle all your kitchen waste.
Homemade garden toolbelt - Make a garden toolbelt from an old satchel
A garden toolbelt is a really useful thing to have - it means you don't leave your tools lying around and lose them in the garden, or keep having to dash back to the shed to collect something you've forgotten.
I made this one myself by recycling a messenger bag which had fallen to bits. The pockets were still intact, so I cut off the back (it's vinyl, so no hemming required!), unpicked the strap and turned it into a belt - combining the two plastic strap holders made a lovely simple buckle and a spare scrap of strap made a chunky belt loop.
Minimal sewing, did the whole thing in an afternoon. It's wipe clean and even has a 'secret' zip pocket on the inside!
How to Make a Cardboard Toolbox - Funky cardboard fun
The act of constructing a cardboard toolbox instantly transforms you from a passive Cardboard Aficionado into an energized Cardboard Maker- be prepared for this dynamic life change!
1 banana box
large binder clips or small clamps
Read more at the Cardboard Collective
Are you crafty? - Do you like making things from recycled materials?
The next set of ideas are aimed at indoor crafters :)
Do you want more ideas?
Junk Mail Art
Unwanted direct mail becomes a work of art
November 15th is Junk Mail Revenge Day, when people all over the world are being encouraged to return their unwanted direct mail to the advertisers who sent it. Lets see how they like getting a lot of pointless post!
But if you'd rather do something more creative with your junk mail, try out this tutorial for making beautiful junk mail art.
From the Yarnbomb Consortium on Facebook.
DIY Scent Diffuser
Turn an old bottle and twigs into a natural scent diffuser
Mother Earth News have got a great weekend project that involves an old bottle and some plant material from the garden - you can turn them into a beautiful reed diffuser and use natural essential oils to gently scent your home.
Waxing lyrical about waste
This is a lovely idea from Growing People, and a fun way to pass a couple of rainy hours with a little one - turning odds and ends of crayons into chunky new crayons that draw in multi-coloured sguiggles!
Recycled picnic set
Sit out in style
I'll have to wait a while before the right weather comes around, but I love this spring picnic set that Bron Marshall has constructed out of recycled cardboard :D
Envelope Accordion Book
Turn envelopes into a handy storage pouck
Here's an idea that might be useful in the New Year, to recycle all those envelopes your holiday cards came in! With a little bit of patience you can turn them into this cool Envelope Accordion Book, which has pockets to store all your stuff! Just follow the instructions over at Paper Source :)
Love notebooks? Make your own
Make your own pretty pocket sized notebooks out of scraps of paper, card and paper fasteners, by following the instructions online at espirit cabane.
Recycled Craft Supply Organizers
Those crafty people over at Craftzine.com have come up with a fabulous way to recycle plastic milk bottles into an organization system for your craft supplies. I reckon it would work well for toys and plant labels and all kinds of other things, as well!
Make your own Wall.E figure out of trash
Wall.E's environmental message about us making too much trash might have been a bit tarnished by the sheer amount of plastic Wall.E merchandise they made to go with the movie, but over at Filth Wizardry they've come up with the perfect solution - make your own Wall.E model out of recycled materials! A great project for the kids this summer.
Brilliant Book Marks
Turn old seed packets - or even junk mail envelopes - into bookmarks
The crafty folk over at Little House in the Suburbs have come up with an awesome way to make sure you never run out of bookmarks!
You can make your own out of seed packets (perfect for marking those useful pages in your favourite gardening books) or junk mail.
You'll never have to dog ear your page corners again....
Wear an old keyboard with style
Got a tired old keyboard? Turn it into a funky necklace, or some rings. Or maybe you could glue on some little magnets and have some fun with the fridge. Either way, you'll probably have to give those keys a good clean first!
Semiprecious Salvage - Creating Found Art Jewelry
"Semiprecious Salvage shows readers how to think beyond the techniques taught in traditional beading and jewelry books in order to create found art jewelry. Mixed-media applications like sewing, plasterwork and altering found objects tie together to create jewelry pieces such as brooches, pendants, necklaces, earrings, bracelets and belts. In addition to thought-provoking stories on the origination of some of the found items, Stephanie provides the reader with practical jewelry-making techniques that they can incorporate into their own inspired pieces. A simple, organic approach gives the reader limitless ideas for crafting their own jewelry as well as ideas for locating found items whether it be on a nature walk, one's travels or in the comforts of home."
How to make plarn - Knit or crochet with yarn made from plastic bags
Are you a homebody? - Recycle materials into lovely home decor
Do you craft things for your home?
Milk Jug Shade
Easy weekend project
If you're looking for a stylish blind then why not try making your own this weekend? This lovely project from Mother Earth News turns empty milk jugs into a surprisingly pretty window dressing.
A portable ottoman or side table
I could really use one of these cardboard ottomans in my tv room, so I'll be making one as soon as I can source some suitable tubes!
DIY Snow Globe
Make your own snowy scene
Very topical, considering the weather here in the UK, and something that will only take a few minutes to make and give hours of pleasure - turn an old glass jar into a snow globe! It's a lovely personalized gift, because you choose the scene.
Over at StarWars.com they're making their glitter globes with Star Wars figurines.
Salvaged Serving Tray - Serve up a storm on this gorgeous recycled cupboard door
I love this beautiful serving tray, made from a salvaged cupboard door by Craftynest. Follow the link for a detailed tutorial, and you could have your own special serving trays before Christmas!
One of these would make an awesome gift for someone who loves breakfast in bed, don't you think?
DIY: Recycled Glass Chandelier
Glass jars make a beautiful lighting arrangement
Turn recycled glass jars into a holiday chandelier with these instructions from Casa Sugar.
Cap off your recycling efforts with this funky lampshade!
Collect 128 plastic bottle caps to make this ultra-fashionable lampshade for your home. You'll also need some brass wire and a hammer and nail.
Use a low energy lightbulb to protect your creation and also help save the planet!
Recycled jeans rug
Give your cast-offs a new life as a rug
Another easy idea, from This Recycled Life, is to turn your old jeans into a fantastic rug for your home. There's lots of great ideas on this blog, too, including turning your junk mail into envelopes and using recycled fabric to make everlasting flowers.
Recycled cork board
A good excuse to open a bottle of wine
Wine bottles with corks are increasingly hard to find these days, but buying bottles with corks supports the cork growing industry - and the environmentally friendly environment in which cork is grown.
This recycled cork board is a nice way to reuse corks that you've collected. If you're not a big wine drinker then you might need some help collecting enough! It's easy enough to make - simply stick corks to a suitable backing board.
Michelle Brand strings together the flower-like bottoms of plastic bottles and turns them into designer interior decorations!
Her pieces start at Â£65, but if you collect enough plastic bottles there's no reason why you can't make your own!
Previously featured projects - Odd ideas don't die, they just fade away
- How to make flower pot creatures
Turn old flowerpots into garden friends
- Recycling washing machine drums
How to recycle a washing machine drum into a metallic drum pouffe. A wheeled ottoman which can be used as a stool or toy chest.
- T-Shirt Underwear
Give old t-shirts a new lease of life by turning them into underwear!
- Recycle Lamp-shade - Video
Recycle an old book into an amazing lamp-shade.
- Chopstick soap dish
Save your sink from getting gungy by turning spare chopsticks into a stylish soap holder.
- Tetrapak coin purse
Transform beverage or soup tetrapaks into fun and easy-to-make coin purses.
Holiday craft projects - Projects for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays
- Countdown calendar
Make yourself an advent calendar for Christmas (or a countdown calendar for Thanksgiving, the Winter Solstice, Chanukah or any other holiday) out of cardboard toilet roll tubes. Tutorial from maya*made.
- Newspaper bunting
Make your own decorations for any holiday, out of newspaper, using the tutorial and templates from maya*made
Hello, I'm Emma and I have been on Squidoo since 2007! I hope that you've enjoyed this lens. If you have a look at my Squidoo profile then I'm sure you'll find another one you'll enjoy :)
I am the author of several gardening books, including 'The Alternative Kitchen Garden: An A to Z', 'The Allotment Pocket Bible' and 'The Peat-Free Diet'.