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Recycled Materials In Crafts

Updated on August 10, 2011

Where To Find Materials To Recycle For Crafts

Recyclable materials are all around you. If you just look at what you are throwing away, I'm sure you will find something. Knitters, crocheters, and anyone else that uses yarn can make recycled yarn out of plastic bags, clothes that no longer fit, or anything else that can be torn into strips about 1 inch wide. People who do scrap booking can find a multitude of pictures and papers in the trash. Beaders can create bead from the papers that are being thrown out. Go outside and walk along the road or the highway. You can find cans, bottles and other items to make unique items out of and clean up the roads also.

This is also called up-cycling.

Notice all the plastic bags flying around the highways getting stuck in the trees, bushes and fences. Those would make wonderful yarn for a knitter or crocheter. In the picture, you will see plastic strips that have been cut for use as yarn. The kitty says "For ME?"

Photo appears courtesy of "wikiHow Creative Commons"

I was so excited when I received the email on April 1, 2011 informing me that this lens had won a purple star. It is a privilege to receive one of these purple stars as it means you have done a great job on your. lens. Only 1000 of these beauties are given away so they are to be prized. Believe me I am so excited to have won this star for Using Recycled Materials In Crafts lens.

Rag Rug with Cat
Rag Rug with Cat

Rag Rugs From Recycled Materials

Made by Braiding, Crocheting, or Knitting

Rag rugs can potentially be made of anything that can be cut into strips. Here are some examples for you: plastic bags, tee shirts, pillow cases, sheets, tights, old clothes (such as blue jeans), scraps from sewing, and anything else that you can cut into strips.

To make these rugs, you can braid, crochet or knit the strips. Just think of the lovely rugs that you can have around your house. Oh, yes, if you are really ambitious, you could loom these rugs on a large loom. My aunt used to make these rugs and we had a good supply of them as I grew up. This is a good way to while away the time while you watch TV. Need a wedding gift that is unique? Make one of these lovely rugs for them.

Photo appears courtesy of "Public Domain"

If yes, tell us what you make and what you use.

Do You Use Recycled Materials For Crafting?

See results

Making Yarn Out Of A T-shirt - Great way to recycle

Books On Crafts From Trash - Learn how to change your trash to cash with recycling

Stop Throwing Money Away: Turn Clutter to Cash, Trash to Treasure--And Save the Planet While You're at It
Stop Throwing Money Away: Turn Clutter to Cash, Trash to Treasure--And Save the Planet While You're at It

This book will show you how to used recycled materials and how to organize them. Just the book you need if you want to change Trash to Treasure.

 
Fabulous Jewelry from Found Objects: Creative Projects, Simple Techniques (Lark Jewelry Books)
Fabulous Jewelry from Found Objects: Creative Projects, Simple Techniques (Lark Jewelry Books)

Making classy projects out of castoffs. Need to be willing to put the time into learning basic metalworking techniques, such as soldering and sawing.

 
Jewellery from Recycled Materials (Jewellery Handbooks)
Jewellery from Recycled Materials (Jewellery Handbooks)

This book shows you step-by-step how to create jewelry from recycled materials. Also tells you the importance of using recycled materials to help the environment.

 
Making Rag Rugs: 15 Step-by-Step Projects
Making Rag Rugs: 15 Step-by-Step Projects

Shows you several versions of rag rugs created from scraps.

 

Plastic Bag Crochet - Beauty Can Come From Ugly Plastic Bags on the Highway

Plastic Bag Crochet
Plastic Bag Crochet

Look at this beautiful purse that was created with plastic bags that would have polluted the environment. The plastic bag is now a thing of beauty and useable again.

Photo appears courtesy of "Creative Commons by Toia"

Recycling Plastic Bags - There are so many uses for plastic bag yarn

Fabulous Jewelry From Found Objects - Creative Projects, Simple Techniques

Fabulous Jewelry from Found Objects: Creative Projects, Simple Techniques (Lark Jewelry Books)
Fabulous Jewelry from Found Objects: Creative Projects, Simple Techniques (Lark Jewelry Books)

This book will give you ideas of what types of jewelry you can make from castoff items that you have found. She gives you ideas how to use old magazines and newspaper inserts, pencil stubs, broken glass. Need to be able to put some time into learning how to work with metal. You will get to see 40 project that 16 artisans have created from castoffs. These are classy projects....not tacky. You get step by step instructions with pictures for the visual part of the learning. You will also see what others have done with items they have found which are not in the instructions.

 
Tin Can Doll Furniture
Tin Can Doll Furniture

What To Do With Aluminum Cans

You can make many wonderful things with aluminum cans

Do you have a lot of aluminum cans that you throw away because there is no recycling program near you? What can you do with them? I have found a few crafts that you can make with them.

You can make wind chimes out of them (see video below), jewelry, doll furniture, cars, motor cycles, airplanes, pencil holders just to name a few. I am sure there are many other crafts you can make out of them.

Photo appears courtesy of "Creative Commons by urbanwoodswalker2"

Recycled Wind Crafts - From Aluminum Cans

Sweater with beads used to get beads for necklace.
Sweater with beads used to get beads for necklace.

Using Beads Rescued From An Old Garment

To Make Beautiful Jewelry

In my seedbeadersters yahoo beading group, LJ told us to go on by her blogb> and take a look at the necklace she had just created with beads rescued form an old sweater that her sister had.

The yarn from the sweater can be recycled, too.

This goes to show you to keep your eyes open. You never know where you will find the resources to create your crafts.

Photo Credit: LJ, Bead Knitter Gallery

Links To Help You Go Green - In Your Crafting

Recycle Water Bottles by Making Crafts

Make some crafts with your kids with empty clear plastic bottles. This article will show you how to make toys and such with recycled plastic bottles.

Up-Cycling

seems to be a big theme for the shops of the artisans. Look in Etsy, Zibbet, or any shops of this type and you will find them. This is a great way to help the environment.

How You Feel About Recycled Crafting - Have you ever used recycled material for crafting? If yes, what?

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    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 4 years ago

      @DANCING COWGIRL: Thank you for your wonderful comment. I hope many people are following your example. It will save a lot from the junk yards.

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 4 years ago from Texas

      This is a really cool page. I love recycling all types of things to use in crafts. It is hard for me to throw anything away so I end of with boxes of things to use later. Like your example of using beads off a sweater, I will remove nice applique work off of things as well.

      Hope you have a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year!!

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 4 years ago

      @donnetted: Thank you for your wonderful angel dust and blessing.

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      Donnette Davis 4 years ago from South Africa

      I have returned to sprinkle some angel dust on this wonderful lens. Blessed x

    • mistyblue75605 lm profile image

      mistyblue75605 lm 5 years ago

      I love the making yarn from old clothing video you have on here from youtube! Great idea! :(P

    • mistyblue75605 lm profile image

      mistyblue75605 lm 5 years ago

      Once again another home craft idea lens that you have created that I just adore! Thank you for sharing! I pinned it so I can come back to it!

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Paper is my crafting medium and I have a whole pile of it for making greetings, tags and whatever else I can think of. I get it from junk mail, our recycle bin, discount stores, old books. I am with you on this all the way, good lens to spotlight the practice.

    • Linda Pogue profile image

      Linda Pogue 5 years ago from Missouri

      I love this lens! And the plastic bag purse. I am going to have to try that one. Blessings!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      This is an amazing lens with lots of inspiring work featured. Love the pics and that video. Great subject and thanks for sharing. Hugs

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Returning with an angel blessing over using recycled materials for crafts....it just makes sense!

    • GonnaFly profile image

      Jeanette 5 years ago from Australia

      Some wonderful ideas!

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @knit1tat2: That is great. If everyone would recycle like that, we would be a lot better off. Thank you for leaving a comment.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Such great recycling ideas here to make new crafts!

    • knit1tat2 profile image

      knit1tat2 6 years ago

      I LOVE to recycle in my crafting, with found and preused items, etc. Even around the farm we reused shipping pallets, and more! Cheap, creative, and oh my, how it works!!!!!!

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @CherylsArt: I hope to find more to add to the list as I go along. I thank those that have added to the plexo.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @donnetted: What a wonderful way to use up the plastic bags. Your lens was really great. Here is the link for those that want to go read it and maybe donate to the cause.

      http://www.squidoo.com/from-plastic-bags-to-soccer...

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @sheilamarie78: I was so happy to link to your Wizzley once I heard about it. I am all for any new way to use recycled materials so that they don't clutter our environment and make them useful again.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @purpleslug: Yes, you could make it with either recycled clothing or with other recycled materials like plastic bags. There are so many ways that the braided rugs can be made with recycled materials.

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 6 years ago from South Africa

      This is stunning, I made a lens about making soccer balls from plastic bags where kids in Africa do it because they have no "real" soccer balls and how that developed into community income-producing projects.. thank you so much!

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 6 years ago

      Hi GrandmaMarilyn!

      I love your page! Thanks for linking to my Wizzley on Recycling Water Bottles by Making Crafts.

    • profile image

      purpleslug 6 years ago

      Great lens! I have always wanted to make a braided rug, think I will give it a shot. You shared so many great ideas. Thanks!

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @JoyfulPamela2: I bet you could google any type of trash and find something to make or do with it.

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image

      JoyfulPamela2 6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      Wow, you are so creative! We have recycled items, but didn't realize all of the other cool things that we could do. Thanks for sharing the ideas. : )

    • profile image

      ariomoira 6 years ago

      I feel we have a moral obligation to recycle. Being a creative person, it is our duty to incorporate it in our craft. In my case, I crochet with plarn and share my patterns here on squidoo as MoiraCrochetsPlarn. However, its humid in the Philippines at this time of year. So crocheting had to take a backseat and drawing the front seat.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you, very much, Tipi. I am rather excited about the purple star.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @anonymous: Thank you, Tipi. I thought all of these items were cool.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      Congratulations on that purple star!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      emember doing an aluminum can chair when I was in grade school but yours are much nicer and I haven't seen he other pieces. The wind crafts are fun and could be repainted too. I have a warm heart for rag rugs, they remind me of the large ones my adopted grandma used to make, they were large area rugs, I would guess she made the smaller scatter rugs too but I just don't remember them right now. Great ideas!

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @marsha32: Wow! I just learned two new things today. I have some new information to put into this lens or create another to link to it. I had never heard of plarn or the toothbrush method. I had to look them both up. Thank you for giving me these two new terms, Marsha. Do you have lenses on this? I could blogroll them to my lens.

    • profile image

      marsha32 6 years ago

      I make things with plarn....I use t-shirts and sheets to make rugs (the toothbrush method)....I also like to make purses with the t-shirts too.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @ChaunyWrites: How did you find me on YouTube? And, thank you for the cudo on the lens.

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      ChaunyWrites 6 years ago

      yes, and I found you on you-tube before I ever saw this lens, recycling is awesome, I love it! Thank you, this lens is so informative.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @ohcaroline: Thank you, caroline. I am so excited as this is my second purple star and I have only done 19 lenses so far.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @tandemonimom lm: Thank you ever so much for the blessing. I can use all I can get.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @bdkz: Thank you, Bonnie. I hope to find more later to add.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @CrossCreations: Don't forget to let us see when you get done with the wind projects.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @sorana lm: As I worked on this lens, I found out more and more ways to recycle in crafting. I really loved exploring this idea.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @aishu19: Thank you, Aysha. I thought that was pretty cool, too. I thank the person that came up with this idea.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @RuthieDenise: Thank you, Karen

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image
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      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      @SandyMertens: Thank you, Sandy. I fell in love with the picture of the rug with the rag rug as I felt it gave it a more homey feeling. Aren't those bags cool. Never would have thought they started out as plastic bags that just get thrown out and destroy the environment.

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      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      Congratulations on your purple star and a great lens topic.

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 6 years ago

      Totally awesome! April Fool's blessings today, and featured on Blessed by Tandemonimom!

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      bdkz 6 years ago

      These are awesome!

    • CrossCreations profile image

      Carolan Ross 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      I love creating crafts from recycled items, thanks for the excellent ideas here. Might try those wind crafts, looks fun!

    • sorana lm profile image

      sorana lm 6 years ago

      Some very interesting ideas here. I like to recycle and I always enjoy reading about what other people do to recycle.

    • profile image

      aishu19 6 years ago

      This is such a creative way of making great craft items and saving our earth.. I especially liked that bag you featured here

    • RuthieDenise profile image

      RuthieDenise 6 years ago

      This is really interesting and creative. A nice lens.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Wonderful lens on recycled crafting. I have learned a few new ideas. Love the rag rug photo with the cat. I remember making these rugs when I was a kid. The bags are cool too!