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August 2, 2012

Recycled Crafts - From Trash to Treasure

Do you have a massive stack of magazines that you just can't part with? What about an old road atlas that once got you across the country on an epic road trip? Or hordes of newspapers you just can't bear to throw out? Stashes of souvenir sticks, rocks, and pine cones from a favorite camping adventure? With a little creativity, scissors, and glue, you can turn this stuff into treasures. You can make a bowl, a vase, a wall hanging, coasters, wearables, games, or even just little mementos or trinkets to accent your desk or bookshelves. And if you've got kids, get them involved too.

It's August, and many kids have one more month of freedom before heading back to school. And if they (or you) are anything like I was back in the day, by August, they've done everything under the sun by now and are completely bored, and let's not forget how hot it is outside. August is the perfect time to whip out a few recycled crafts. They'll keep the kids busy for a while, give them a great sense of accomplishment, and turn trash into treasures worth keeping.

Kids young and old alike (read: me) are sure to find a recycling craft to love. Take these recycled map book covers for example. How cool are these? I'm a grad student, and although my instructors don't urge me to cover my textbooks like they used to in junior high and high school, I kind of want to, just for kicks. Or maybe slightly less nerdy, I'll cover a notebook or sketchbook instead. As a photographer, I've always got a notebook in my bag to jot down my F-stops, exposure times, film ISOs, and what type of film I've got in which camera. (I usually carry several cameras with me and it's hard to keep them straight!) I digress. Recycling or repurposing old maps is creative and colorful, and it's fun.

Another great craft idea is to make these braided shirt bracelets. We've all got unused shirts hanging in the closet, right? Instead of letting them continue to take up precious space, cut them up and accessorize! You can also use old t-shirts for scarves, rugs, pillows, and quilts.

Even your littlest monkeys can get in on some recycled crafting fun, with a craft like the discovery bottle. All you need are shakeable objects like dice, ribbons, beads, marbles, buttons, etc; and a plastic bottle, water, and hot glue. Let your child drop his or her favorite little shakeables into the bottle. Then you can fill it up with water, glue the lid on, and hand it over to your little shaker for some discovery time.

For more creative recycling projects, visit:


1 comment:

Sandy Marsh said...

I have always enjoyed upcycling things! Making games sounds like a really good idea.