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Kids Crafts from Recyclables

Updated on May 20, 2012

Fun at a great price while going green!!

The economy is in turmoil, your piggy bank is empty, the environment is going downhill and the kids are screaming. What can you do??

Take these fun ideas about crafts to make with recyclable items. Keep your piggy banks full while helping the environment and entertaining your kids. The possibilities are endless.

Flowers made from water bottles.
Flowers made from water bottles.

Recycle your water bottles....

....into flowers


* old plastic water bottles (Ours were made with Aquafina vitamin water bottles.)

* permanent markers in various colors

* colored craft wire to make flowers

* barrette-back to make hair accessory

* silk-cording to make necklace

* pin back finding to make flower pin


- scissors

- needle nose pliers and wire cutters if making flower stems

- glue gun

- serrated knife


These flowers are made with clear plastic bottles that have flower designs on their bottoms start checking out your plastic bottles before you put them in recycling. (Adults only) use a serrated knife and cut off the bottom of an empty,clean water bottle. Be careful not to cut into the flower design. Trim off access plastic and refine your flower. Do not cut apart petals until after you color your flower.

Color your flower with permanent markers. Color both the front and back of the flower to make a more even design. This is a great way to explore mixing primary and secondary colors by coloring each side a different color and they will blend and form a third color. Example: color the front blue and the back yellow and you will have a green flower. When you color your flower, blend evenly. Coloring both sides of the flower (back and front) make the colors fill in better. Be sure to follow the natural design of the plastic and change your colors accordingly, like making green or yellow centers.

Now you can cut your petals apart and round the edges of each leaf. We cut leaves out of the extra plastic and colored them also.

Necklace: Punch a hole in the top of the flower between petals and add a circular jump ring to thread the silk-cording through. You can thread the silk-cord through the hole without a jump ring, just tie a knot at the at the bottom of the cord near the flower so that the flower will face forward.

Flower stem: Cut the flower petals apart to the center of the flower. Twist three 12" pieces of green wire together to make a stem. Use pliers to twist wire. Glue flower and leaves to stem with glue gun.

Barrette/pin: Glue flower to top of barrette with glue gun. Glue flower to pin back with glue gun.

Snakes from your old ties!  Fun for all ages.
Snakes from your old ties! Fun for all ages.

Make a snake...from an old tie

Never know what to do with those old ties? You can make funtime snakes for your kids. Sew the small end shut, stuff between the tie and the lining, sew the big end shut, add some eyes and a tongue!!!


Punched tin ornament craft

These make a great gift!!

What you will need:


Various sized nails

Ribbon, yarn or thread

Tin tops (from cans, crescent roll containers, etc.)

Board, or other hard surface to work on.

How to make:

1. Design a pattern for your ornament. Hold or tape in place the pattern you are using. The pattern should be centered on your “tin” top. Or you can make the pattern up as you go.

2. Use a hammer and nail to make holes. Make sure you have a board (or an old cutting board) underneath so as not to ruin your table. Use a workbench if you have one.

3. . Add an extra hole in the top for stringing a ribbon, yarn or thread through to hang on tree.

Burned out Light Bulb Ornaments

Taken from:

Usually you just throw out your light bulbs...this year, why not make the relatives gifts by making them into ornaments.


- Burned out Bulbs

- Tacky Craft Glue and brush

- Glitter

- Wire and wire cutters or a sturdy thread/yarn/chord

- Empty egg container or box that bulbs came in

First, create an ornament hanger by cutting a 12-inch piece of wire. Wrap the wire around the thread of the bulb and create a loop on the top of with the leftover wire. If using thread tie loop around base of bulb and tie a loop to hang from tree.

Next, dip brush into undiluted craft glue and apply a thick coat directly to the bulb.

Make sure to apply glitter to the base. Use an empty egg container or the package the light bulbs came in to hold the bulb while you apply glue and glitter.

Allow to dry and then hang on tree.

You could use paint, puffy paints, sequins, rick-rack, etc...the list goes on with your creativity.



From any cardboard trash

Here bookmarks can be made from cereal boxes, old christmas or birthday cards, or just about ANY cardboard trash. They go great with the gift of a book this holiday season.

Cut your cardboard into strips approximately 1 1/2" x 6".

Punch a hole near the top.

Add yarn, ribbon or thread at top.

Empty plastic coffee containers -2 (we used Large Folgers coffee containers) Other containers can be used but make sure they are sturdy enough to hold the child that will be using the Monster Stompers.

wine corks or other suitable objects to be used for monster toes

Paint & brush

Ice pick (used by adult only!)

Strong, smooth cord or thin rope

Strong glue or glue gun (adult use only)

What To Do:

1.Paint monster toes and container whatever colors desired. Obviously, there are all colors of monsters out there, so lots of choices here! Containers can either be painted by hand or spray painted. Let dry.

2.Poke a hole into both sides ( about an inch from top) of container. Hole should not be any wider than diameter of cord you will be using.

3.Determine length of cord by first having your child stand up straight and holding his fists in front of his thighs, arms straight. Measure distance to floor and then double this figure. Add about 8 extra inches to allow for tying inside of container.

4.Insert one end of cord into container, from the outside. Knot off inside securely. Repeat with other side.

5.If you used a coffee container, you can now glue the original top onto what is now the bottom of the monster stomper.

6.Glue toes in place and let dry.

7.As with any physical activity, observe your child to make sure he can use the stompers. (Lift feet and monster feet at same time to stomp! Also, make sure your child is old enough for this type of play.

Taken from:

Recycle those CHRISTMAS CARDS!!!

Such a nice sentiment, and frugal too....

1. Send holiday cards to St. Jude's Ranch, a nonprofit home for youths that collects old holiday cards for reuse. Either cut off the backs of the cards or leave them intact. Children at St. Jude's earn money by creating new holiday cards from the old.

Mail the cards UPS "ground" or "bound printed matter" to St. Jude's Card Recycling, 100 St. Jude Street, P.O. Box 60100, Boulder City, NV 89006.

2. Cut off the backs of old holiday cards that do not have writing behind the front and use them as postcards.

3. Create your own card by cutting and pasting parts of old cards onto a new blank card. You can find packages of blank cards at most arts and crafts stores.

4. Use old holiday cards as gift tags by cutting them into square or rectangular shapes and punching holes in the corners for string or ribbon.

5. Make placemats out of holiday cards instead of buying new ones. Cut out pictures or shapes from the old cards, place them between two pieces of contact paper and press together.

6. Save holiday cards for arts and crafts throughout the year if you have children.

7. Make your Christmas Greeting Cards reusable this year! You are recycling your Christmas Greeting Cards when you place these: "Stick On, Peel Off" labels on them! Each Label is 3.5 inches high x 4 inches wide. All labels are easily applied to and removed from your greeting cards. Visit: Thoughtful card sender to check it out!!!

8. Carefully cut out the shapes and use them for scrapbooking.

9. Cut them into strips and use them for fancy book marks.

10. Cut the front to 4"x 5" or 3" x 5" size and use as index cards for recipes, for craft projects etc.

11. Make them into gift boxes for next year (see instructions below).

How to make boxes from old Christmas Cards - These boxes can be used next year for gifts you give.


What You Need:

An old greeting card -- or two or three.

A ruler or straight edge.

A pencil.

A pair of scissors.

Crayons or markers for decorating.

What You Do:

First, get an old greeting card.

Next, rip it in half at the fold.

Using your ruler, make an "X" on the card by drawing two lines that cross at the center of the card. (see diagram).

Fold the edges of all four sides of the paper over to the middle of the cross. (see diagram)

Cut the red lines as shown in the diagram.

Fold the tabs in to create a box and tape the box together.

To create a lid for the box, do the same as above, only instead of folding the edges to the point of the cross, fold them slightly outward so the lid will be larger than the bottom.


6 empty plastic bottles (we used drink containers from kids meals that were saved from fast food places)

foam ball

gesso (white paint from art/craft sections)

non-toxic colored paints


Optional : 6 small foam balls/glue (we used foam replacement balls)

What To Do:

1.Wash bottles and lids and let dry thoroughly.

2.Screw lids on tightly.

3.Paint bottles with gesso and let dry. This is a primer that will keep paint from scraping off any smooth/shiny surface.

4.Paint each bottle a solid color and when dry, decorate as you and your child wish. We just did stripes and dots.

5.Let dry throughly before letting your little bowler get his first strike!

Taken from:

Packing Peanut Necklaces

Patriotic Packing Peanut Neckace

by Twila Lenoir

Copyright © 2004-2008

Styrofoam packing peanuts are used to protect items that are being stored or transported; when they are no longer needed, they are often thrown away - but you can recycle some of them with this easy craft project.

What you will need is the sort of packing peanuts that have a hole in the side, so you can string them onto a necklace. Craft stores often get supplies shipped to them with this type of packing peanut; if you ask politely, maybe your local craft store will give you a few to reuse for free.

Patriotic Packing Peanut Necklace

What You Need:

styrofoam packing peanuts (the kind with a hole in the side)

red, white and blue craft paint (or the colors of your country's flag)

paint brush

white pony beads

twine, yarn or plastic string like gimp


Recycled Packing Peanut Necklace

Craft Instructions:

Paint all the sides of your packing peanuts in the colors you have chosen and let dry.

Cut a piece of twine, yarn or string to the length you will want for your necklace. Remember that you will need to fit the necklace over your head when it is finished, so make it long enough for that, plus a little more to make the knot when you are finished.

String on one white pony bead, then a blue peanut, a white bead and a red peanut. Repeat as many times as you like to make your necklace design.

Tie the two ends and try on your necklace. Wear the necklace to celebrate Independence Day, Canada Day, or the special day patriotic day of your country.

Soda Bottle Caps

If you imagine it, you can make it

Bottle Cap Recycling Craft Project


9 plastic bottle caps

2 tiny goggle eyes or black permanent marker to draw eyes

red permanent marker or red craft to make the smile features




Bottle Cap Flower Magnet


If you have bottle caps in the right colors, this project will be very simple to put together. However, if you don't have the right colors, you can use craft paint to paint the bottle caps in the colors that you need.

Start with one yellow cap and glue six red caps around it, then take two green caps and glue them to the ends of the flower caps as leaves. Let dry.

On the yellow cap, glue on tiny goggle eyes, or draw on some eyes with black permanent marker. Draw on a smile with red permanent marker.


Another great Craft idea that you can have the kids make as gifts for their teachers, friends, etc.

I used to love doing this when I was a kid - and I love the smell of crayons.


Wax Paper




Old Crayon Pieces (wrapper removed)


Iron (adult supervision required)

How To:

Decide on what shape you want to make your suncatcher and cut out two identical shapes from the wax paper.

On one piece of the wax paper, take your old crayon pieces and shave them (using a sharpener works real well). Mix the colors around.

Place the other piece of wax paper on top.

Cover with a towel (carefully), then hold the warm iron on top of the towel, on top of the suncatcher.

It may take a little while, but the crayon shavings will melt together between the wax paper.

Poke a hole at the top and link a piece of string through the hole to hang up.

Make your own Domino Game

Taken from:

This looks like a GREAT rainy day project. Start saving your Tic Tac boxes for a rainy day.

What you'll need:

28 Tic Tac boxes

White spray paint or a white "Painters" paint marker

Black "Painters" paint marker

Sheet of newspaper

How to make it:

You may wish to remove the paper sticker just enough to pull off the colored wrapper.

Lay out the sheet of newspaper and put the Tic Tac boxes on it to spray paint them.

Follow the directions on the can of spray paint and spray all of the boxes white. (Optional: Paint them all with the paint markers)

Let the boxes dry completely.

Turn the boxes over and paint the other side.

Let the boxes dry completely.

Use the black paint marker to paint the lines and dots on all of the dominoes.

Visit the Encarta Encyclopedia for the numbering system to paint the dominoes and for directions for game play.

Pencil holders

Taken from: "Rosie O'Donnell's Crafty U" (Simon & Schuster)

So you have saved the Campbell Soup Labels for school and are about to throw the cans in the recycle bin. Try this craft instead...


Foam paintbrushes, acrylic craft paints, clean tin cans with labels removed, artist paintbrushes, craft glue, colorful paper trims

How to make:

1.Paint outside of cans using foam brush and craft paint. Let dry.

2.Paint bands of color around the cans using the foam paintbrush and craft paints.

3.Paint stripes, polka dots, pretty flowers, squiggles or anything you like on cans using an artist paintbrush for detailing. Let dry.

4.Apply colorful paper trim with glue along the top and bottom of the can.

- From "Rosie O'Donnell's Crafty U" (Simon & Schuster)


Ok, they aren't made from YOUR recyclables, but they are recycled newspaper AND are a fun craft for kids that they can use in school.

You are supplied with all the components you need for this craft project:

- 8 recycled newspaper pencils

- 8 Freshness Tubes

- 8 Smencil stickers

- 4 liquid scent applicators

You can make 8 Smencils - Two of each of the following flavors: Bubble Gum, Pineapple, Toasted Marshmallow and Strawberry.

Bottle Basket

Made from the bottom of a plastic 2 liter soda bottle

You can have your children make baskets out of 2 liter plastic soda bottles.

Cut the bottom of the bottle off. Save the top part because we can use that later for a "greenhouse".

Allow your child to paint or glue on foam pieces, construction paper, or tissue paper to the "basket".

Add a handle by using pipe cleaners.

These would make wonderful "Party Baskets" decorated in the theme of the child's birthday party and filled with treats. The basket is then recyclable when the kids are done with it.

Recyclable Craft Books to give you IDEAS!!


Round Head Fasteners (or wheels can be glued to be stationary)

Long thin box (pie crust box or Spaghetti box works well)

Thick craft Foam or cardboard (for wheels)Sticky-back foam or Construction paper (for windows)

Masking tape


Paint / brush


1. After choosing a long thin box, draw the shape of the front of the bus so that the windshield and hood of the bus are slightly curved. Refer to the photo for the shape.

2.Using scissors, cutboth sides of the box to match this shape.

3.Use masking tape to tape across the open area you have just cut from. You can also cut a piece of the discarded box to fit across this area and then use the tape to secure. Bus will be sturdier if you do this.

4.Do not tape the back end of the box (bus back) together until the bus is completed, as you will have to reach inside the box to attach the wheels.

5.Paint bus and let dry.

6.Using something like a milk container bottle cap, trace 4 wheels onto the thick foam or cardboard. Cut out. Make a hole in the center of each wheel, using scissors carefully. Also make 4 holes in the box where the wheels will be attached.

7.Insert a fastener into each wheel and then attach to the bus, securing fasteners from the inside of the box.

8.Glue box end shut and let dry.

9.From sticky back foam, cut out windows, headlights and stripes for bus. Remove backing and apply.

10.Your School Bus is ready to roll!


What is your favorite RECYCLABLE Craft??

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Can Bottle, nice lens

    • MoneySavingEnth profile image


      7 years ago

      I am a teacher and I just want to tell you that those are some pretty AWESOME ideas.

      I want to tweet this @MSEnthusiast on twitter. Thanks for sharing.

    • antith3tical profile image


      8 years ago

      My favorite recyclable crafts are things that can be made from old candles as I have a lot burnt out candles sitting around. I've made crayons and mini candles in baby food jars from the melted down wax of old candles with my nieces when they were younger. The mini candles made nice Christmas presents for the women in our family. Lots of excellent ideas on this lens too.

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      8 years ago

      Adding this great lens to my Kiddoo lens list of holiday break crafts my Squidoo kid will be doing this year -:)

    • profile image


      8 years ago


      My fave here is the fun bowling set.

    • Kylyssa profile image

      Kylyssa Shay 

      8 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

      Neat, fun recycled crafts! Thank you for sharing!

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 

      10 years ago from Croatia

      I wanted to welcome you to Reuse it all! group! I'm so glad you joined with this great lens and help spread a word about all the ways stuff could be reused! Thank you!

    • greenerme profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice work! Welcome to A Million Ways to Go Green!

    • greenerme profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice work! Welcome to A Million Ways to Go Green!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      great ideas. it doen't only teach kids to be creative but also lean the value of recycling

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      10 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I like the Tic-Tac box dominoes. What a great idea! I still use the recycled can pencil holders that we made years ago and still love them, as well as the memories. Nice lens, great ideas!


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