Saturday, March 22, 2014

Getting Green and Thrifty with your Crafting!

recycling items, household junk and natural items in your crafting
This week is all about recycling! In these harder economic times, parents are looking for thrifty but fun activities for their kids, and there are endless ways that you can use recycling, household junk and natural items in your crafting - all you have to do is share your ideas with the world! Squidoo has the perfect format to do this - the How-To Lens Format.

Since we've started crafting with household junk, our the contents of our recycling bin have reduced dramatically - so we are really doing our bit for the environment by re-using, which is even better than recycling! This lovely pile on the left is just a fraction of what we have put aside for making things.

Kids craft tutorials are huge on social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest, so if you have some ideas for tutorials, make sure you take some beautiful photos (stop by our very own mbgphoto's lenses for some photography tips if you need to brush up on your skills!) that will look enticing on sites like those - as your lens is more likely to be shared, pinned or even go viral!

These past few weeks, I've been out and about with the little ones at forest school, home ed groups and more, and in between, we've been busy making crafts for our weekly book club theme, which sees us choose a book and create activities around it. All of this has led to quite a bit of recycled crafting!

We made a bottle boat at forest school, which is a great way to use up an empty plastic bottle. Toilet rolls are a must in your junk craft box (we have a whole bin full waiting to be transformed!) - we recently turned ours into some beautiful bejeweled toilet roll owls at our home ed group (see below)! We got in the holiday spirit as well and turned another one into a cute little leprechaun for St. Patrick's Day.

toilet paper rolls crafts

You don't have to stick to How-To format lenses, although they are perfect for quick and easy craft tutorials. Squidoo's longer lens format is also perfect for more complex craft ideas, or for where you want to show off several variations on a theme, or a collection of recycled craft ideas. Don't forget you can use the how-to format as a module within the lens as well!

Be warned, however - once you start all this junk crafting, it's quite addictive, you know! I find myself looking at every day objects now and imagining what they look like or could become - believe me, you'll never look at a yoghurt pot or bottle cap the same way again!

We have several projects on our wishlist and a whole stash of recycling ready to use. We have empty cereal boxes waiting to be turned into frames for my 4 year old's artwork, and bottle tops from milk cartons ready to become wheels on a cardboard car. Speaking of card, seedplanter has some wonderful ideas for getting crafty with cardboard boxes (we have one such large monster box, waiting for warmer weather to arrive so we can take it outside, paint it and turn it into a rocket!)

rainbow made from dyed rice
You can also come up with craft projects which make things for children to play with. For example, we used up some old, out-of-date rice by dyeing it with food colouring to make some wonderful sensory tray rainbow rice (right).

Or share your recipes for homemade materials - eco mums like me LOVE recipes for play dough, paint and so on! Our very own Recycler Contributor, BearTale, shares this fabulous recipe for DIY sidewalk chalk that recycles egg shells!

All of these ideas make for perfect crafts to do on Earth Day, which is coming up on April 22nd.

 Finally, for an extra burst of recycling inspiration, why not have a peek at our under-fives craft boards on Pinterest? Tons of wonderful and inventive ideas to be found!

So go on, get out there, get green, and get crafty!

(c) All photos are copyright of the author (2014)

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. You are a very clever crafter reusing items to teach and entertain children. Well done. You definitely 'float MY boat' with these outstanding ideas! :)

    1. Thank you! I think my secret is that I have as much fun as the kids do! ;)

    2. I can so identify with the "big kid" fun factor!

  2. I love your little piles of recycled crafting supplies. They remind me of the baskets of materials we keep around our studio for those creative moments. Thank you for sharing all the wonderful ways to teach recycling to children.

    1. Thanks Coletta! I was so pleased to find those storage bins, they are perfect for storing all our bits and bobs!

  3. You have certainly got some great imaginations at your home and we are all benefiting from them! You have highlighted some great ideas I will need to go check out! I do love the how-to format for crafts. Can't wait to see what else you and the young 'uns come up with!

    1. Hehe thanks Mandee! I am loving the how-to format, it's so perfect for quick tutorials! (Rubs hands in delight) we have lots more ideas up our sleeves - watch this space! :D

  4. What fun ideas these are. I'm always on the look-out for projects to do with my grandchildren. Perfect to have a bin full of household junk to spark those project ideas.

  5. Wow! What awesome collection of ideas and articles! I always enjoyed turning trash into treasures with my children when they were little. It was always fun to see what a little creativity could do.


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