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Making Crafts With Recycled Items

recycled can planters
Many of the items that often end up in the trash or the recycle bin would actually be perfect for use in many recycle crafts. This is a guide about making crafts with recycled items.


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February 6, 2009

I moved out to the country and they do not provide trash-pick up as a part of the water bill. It costs $25 a month for that service. So I wanted to come up with more ways to reduce and reuse. I normally do anyway but now it is even more important. I can burn trash but the weather hasn't been all that great.

Backing for Patterns

As I open food boxes from the kitchen, I flatten them and use them as a backing for patterns I trace off the internet. I use my lighted PC screen as a light box. I transfer these tracings onto the flattened boxes so they last longer.

Cardboard Foot Stool

The biggest problem has been cardboard boxes, which I have solved! I cut a stack about 18 inches high and dinner plate sized circles. I pieced several 1/2 circles together when the pieces got to small for whole ones and taped them together. Then, I taped several small stacks together for easier handling. I got an old clothing item, cut the hem off and made a strong tie and tied the ends together securely. Previously I crocheted a round rag rug that I put a drawstring of crocheted rag chain to form a bag. I slipped my stacked cardboard down into the bag and hooked it shut securely. Now, I have a very comfy footstool and plan on making a few more but larger around. These could also be made into a booster seat just the same way and covered with your choice of sturdy fabric or whatever. Make them whatever diameter you need!

Soup Cans

In addition to that I save some soup cans, rinse them out to use for meat drippings. I have a few covered ones for catchalls and pencil holders. Of course the cans could be used for basically crush resistant mail tubes too. My son had a teacher who recycled hers for cute little gift buckets when there was a class party filled with goodies and candies! Normally she painted a theme on them!

Crochet With Plastic

I crocheted an appliance plastic, which was pretty good size into a nice patio rug and added blue fringe made from a new blue trash sack.

Paper Beads

I also make paper beads from other papers I accumulate! I love it.

Source: I came up with these ideas while trying to keep from paying for trash pick-up service! It's working!

By melody_yesterday from Otterville, MO

Comment Was this helpful? 1
February 6, 20090 found this helpful

That is wonderful! I always soak my cardboard in used dishwater to soften it and then roll it in a ball after tearing it into pieces, it makes less waste that way....I always reuse grocery bags and fill them with trash also and then put those little bags into big bags....I have to reduce trash so that I don't get more bags on garbage day then they will pick up...those are great ideas though!

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February 6, 20090 found this helpful

I have a friend who uses the lighter weight cardboard and makes post cards she does not say hello whoever or sign it, we know where it's from she is the only 1 we know that does this so we know it's from her and she even jots down little notes on the printed side of the recycled cereal box and post cards are cheaper than regular mail, another use for the lighter weight cardboard, I cut them to size and use them as dividers in my recipe box. I use the cereal boxes as Magazine organizers and holders

On the heavier cardboard I use it is nesting boxes for my chickens, or bring them to the feed store then they use them when they sell small animals. You can roll cardboard instead of cutting it in small pieces cut it in long strips the desired height and you could either roll or accordion fold it to make your foot stool If you do it correctly you could even make a step stool for the kitchen, you can make a emergency stove burner, take a clean tuna can and cut a strip of cardboard the height of the can, then roll the strip of cardboard so it will fit tightly inside the can melt old candle and pour the hot wax over the cardboard makes a great little camp stove or in emergency stove save a large can to use as support over you're cardboard burner, cut a few slits in it for air circulation

Cut them to use as a spacers or support in the freezer If I have a floppy or uneven container.

I bury Cans in my vegetable garden open side up they hold the moisture and as they rust they put needed iron into the ground.

I need to replace them every two or 3 years.

I use bread, English muffin and bagel bags rolled up on themselves as starter pots.

I save all my broken glass and even intentionally break some and run it through my tumbler and make my own beach glass for craft project and I make wind chimes out of bottles.

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February 8, 20090 found this helpful

One of my treasured necklaces is made of beads from old church Sunday bulletins. I like to think that because the beads are recycled church bulletins that God smiles when I wear this necklace. I purchased my necklace at a church fundraising sale. The necklaces were very popular at the sale when the women found out the source of the beads. You can go around and collect the used bulletins after church and help clean up the sanctuary at the same time. That way you'll have more beads using the same colors.

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By guest (Guest Post)
February 11, 20090 found this helpful

I live in Costa Rica in an area that does not have garbage pickup. Fortunately a nearby town does take recyclable plastic, glass, tin cans and aluminum cans. But I have discovered that I like to keep and clean some glass jars to use for leftovers to go in the fridge. I like them better than tupperware or the like because you can see what is in them and we tend to actually use the leftovers more this way Also, I have used Styrofoam as a pin cushion. Styrofoam will never decompose in a land fill, and is harmful to burn. I save the Styrofoam "plates" which come with some fresh meats and wash them well and reuse them for working with crafts. You can put paint in them, or glue which can easily be washed out and reused again. I even used one once to make a doll bed and covered it in cloth. I am still trying to find ideas for used wine bottles, so anybody got any ideas?

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October 26, 20090 found this helpful

angeltrumpet: the wine bottles: use for tapered candle holders,

cut them & invert them sand off the edges & they can become wine glasses (goblets) I saw those on eHow or Instructables, I saw really cool rings that were made from the necks of alcohol bottles : they were cut just below the top.

Here are several things you can do with empty wine bottles : http://www.inst  lted+wine+bottle

Here's a video HOW TO for melting a wine bottle in the toaster oven:

http://www.yout  =player_embedded

but if you look on eHow or Instructables there are written tutorials too.

the cheese plates they make sell for $26 - $30 on 2 different sites I looked at!

So, maybe that's a little extra income for someone ! ;) Google : bottle jewelry.

I love the bottle rim rings.

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August 24, 20130 found this helpful

We have had active recycling since 1991 in our county (Swift/MN). It it picked up weekly at our doors (town/rural). We don't have to sort it out, just one bin. Our compostible and and NON compost garbage has proper procedure as well. Non-compost must be tied in a bag, the other, left open or not bagged, but in trash container.

I recycle all the time. We cannot buy eggs in styro, packaging from many things have changed to reuse/recycle friendly. Many of use use our own bags to shop with, (even those must be remembered to be washed). Many places are available to drop off your unused household/clothing items for free. Law mandates recycling of car oil/batteries. Plenty of places recycle metal/steel, etc.

My husband's work place has computers doing goofy print outs in error and so he gets the paper to bring home for the grandchildren and neighboring daycare to use for art paper.

My neighbor gal went back to college and asked for our kids to draw pictures and send to her. She will hang as decorations on their dorm walls. She is the RA. Besides getting mail from home!

When I get new technology 'stuff' I find someone who can use the 'old'. Whether updated computers, etc. I have been able to help older citizens stay in touch in the 21st century. And kept the computers out of the landfills. My son does this for free. And we help keep them in antivirus status...most often with a $10 name brand protection.

We have a local swap/shop on Facebook which moves everything and anything around in the community. Like a garage sale online. From cars/tools, clothing, baby items, books, household, etc. It is set up with tight rules and you must get an invitation to join the group. No spam, no trash. Coordinator a busy mom and everyone abides by the rules.

McD pop cups became my plants in the garden wrap around this spring. I cut the bottom off, slit up the side and stuck in the ground to protect the young plants. When plants sturdy enough, tossed into the recycle bin for pickup. Have used 3 lb margarine containers the same way. Also, you can cut their bottoms out, stick in ground and have your planter ready to go in the garden. Contains flowers, keeps weeds out.

Laundry bottles are used in garage for oil drainage containers, carried to the recycler.

Just some of the things off the top of my head.

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August 24, 20130 found this helpful

Forgot one of the neatest things seen and have done. Taking old VHS or audio cassettes. Take screws out, unwind the tape. If you crochet, get to it. People also use plastic shopping bags and cut them into strips and crochet summer beach purses. They sell awesomely at craft fairs.

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October 21, 20130 found this helpful

i remember when i was a kid my Grandma made a great footstool by weighting big coffee cans with sand (not completely full, just enough to give it heft) wiring them together in a circle with one in the middle and then covering the whole thing with upholstery fabric and padding on top. it lasted for years and years. she also made little trinket boxes out of cut-down frozen juice boxes by covering them with fabric. she used ribbon to hinge the lids.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
July 22, 2008

Does anyone have any ideas of what I can do with these objects? I've saved gobs of them. A description of the objects are as follows: I wanted to make a cool game or craft project for my step children when we all visit together. The large blue piece makes an excellent stack toy, but the other pieces I have no ideas for them. Please share your ideas.


Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 22, 20081 found this helpful

Make a big checkerboard on any solid color fabric, painting in the alternating color with fabric paint or Sharpie colored pens so it'll be permanent. You could mark the squares, guided by a ruler, then let the kids paint them in so they get some quiet crafting time. You could let the kids mark or paint on the colors, or even have them glue the white styrofoam circle onto them for the other color, and you have a big set of checkers! Because they stack, it would be easy to 'king' the checkers. Since you have a lot of these anyway, wouldn't matter if they lost a few. They could even play outside with them.

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July 23, 20081 found this helpful

The first thing I saw was an angel. Glue the key to the back of the smaller plug like piece as a halo. With a permanent marker, draw eyes and mouth the opposite side of the plug (might have to sand and brush off surface if it is slick or the markers won't take). Gather the white ring in the middle to make the wings. Glue to back of the small plug allowing to hang down below the bottom edge. Attach plug with halo on the top edge center of the blue ring.

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July 22, 20080 found this helpful

What do the keys sound like when they are clinked together? Could you use them as components in a wind chime?

The white styrofoam piece could hang down to "catch the wind" or be used as the top ring to hang the other items from.

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July 24, 20080 found this helpful

Depending on the ages of the kids, one of the most fun, entertaining and interesting things you could do, would be to simply lay out the pieces, and let the kids decide what to make with them! Kids are so creative, you'll have a blast watching what they can come up with!

You could even make a contest out of it. Precede as above, but tell the kids that it is a "Hot Summer Invention Contest" and give prizes. You can create several categories (maybe, coincidently equal to the number of kids there are?!?) such as "Most Useful Invention", "Most Creative Invention", "Prettiest Invention", "Silliest Invention", etc.

Just have fun with the kids, that's the most important thing!

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By guest (Guest Post)
August 29, 20080 found this helpful

Hi, wow great idea to make a game. Perhaps it could be something your Grandchildren and you do together. The pieces that you've shown could be board game pieces and you could play it outside with chalk squares so that each time they play it could be "new". Enjoy.

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