Rethink, Reuse, Repurpose: Creative Crafts from Recyclables

Ah, sweet summertime. Summer conjures up daydreams of beach vacations, pool parties, bug spray, sunshine, sunscreen and sprinklers. But as we all know, summer can also mean rainy days stuck indoors, or bored kids in between camp sessions. For those days of summer slump, recyclable crafts are a great, green way of keeping the whole family occupied!

It’s an amazing (but sadly, true) statistic that, of the garbage we throw away, an estimated 75% is recyclable. However, only about 30% of what we toss is actually recycled!

We’ve scoured the web (and included some of our own, homegrown ideas) to compilea list of the most practical, creative, and just plain fun crafts from recycled materials.

First things first: many of these projects require some basic supplies. The good news is that you’ve probably got most of these things lying around the house! So dig up those fabric scraps, scissors, tape, glue guns, sewing kits and buttons and let’s get crafty!

Can it: Cans and Jars

We’re big fans of the tried and true fabric-covered/paper mache pencil jar… and of course there’s the ever-popular recycled jar/can candleholder. There are hundreds of creative uses for your old cans and jars! This pincushion idea is useful for anyone who sews in the family, and these top ten can crafts are pretty spectacular, too.

Paper or plastic: Water bottles, milk cartons, etc.

The best way to recycle a water bottle is to turn it into… well… a water bottle. Reuse your plastic bottles over and over for your brown bag lunches or for staying hydrated on the go! If you want to get more inventive, try one of these ideas: Craft/storage containers from milk jugs, bottle bird feeders and soda bottle lawn sprinklers.

For the artsy:

Black and white and read all over: Newspapers and magazines

Old newspapers and magazines have a tendency to pile up. Consider using old newspaper as gift-wrap, or to make these cute gift bags. Add one of these charming junk mail bows to complete your craft!

Old magazines can be perfect for magazine collages, which are great for covering your teenagers’ locker, closet door or bulletin board. Saving newspaper pages or magazines for packing/shipping materials is a useful way to reuse. This old magazine clock is lovely, too!

Ripped jeans are so 1993: Old clothes

Aside from being donated (or handed down), old or outgrown clothes make the perfect material for a number of fun projects or DIY crafts.

Some of our favorites: This T-Shirt Shag Rug not only makes use of dozens of old t-shirts (which would otherwise have ended up in the trash), but we think it looks awesome, too! Perfect for any kids room, laundry room or even a great dorm project. We know you’ve got at least a couple extra pairs of old or ripped jeans stuffed somewhere in your closet or dresser drawer. If you’re not feeling the typical cutoffs craft, these denim jean purses are a wonderful way to put them to use! Want to add a little extra flair? Check out another creative tutorial from HGTV.Getting rid of an old pair of corduroys? Martha Stewart has a great how-to for these adorable pocket purses.

Side note: During our search, we also came across these amazing recycled denim bags (for the experts/truly ambitious!). One word: wow!

Other ideas:

  • Re-useable cleaning rags (cuts down on paper towel waste/use, too!)
  • Tie Dye projects
  • Sock Puppets

Who knew recycling could be so much fun?!

Looking for more great ideas? We’ve got a Pinterest board dedicated to all things recyclable! Feel free to leave your own recycle crafts/DIY projects on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear!

Happy crafting!

 

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