3 fun crafts made from recycled materials

Fun, easy and good for the planet.

“In our house, a box has become an airplane, and a piece of cardboard has been transformed into a sword and shield,” says Kimberly McLeod, author of Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials. Using regular household items destined for the trash or the recycling bin, she creates sustainable crafts your kids will love.

Here are three of our favourites:

1. Rainbow caterpillar

caterpillar made of egg cartons
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

You can turn egg cartons into all sorts of insects and animals. This rainbow caterpillar is my favourite egg carton craft. If you’re looking for a quick and simple craft to make, this is the one!

Materials

Egg carton
Scissors
White, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple acrylic paint
Paintbrush
Black pipe cleaner
Pencil
Glue
Googly eyes
Black marker

Directions

caterpillar made of egg cartons
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Cut off the egg carton top. Cut along the middle of the egg carton to split the egg carton into 2 pieces. Each piece should have 6 cups.

caterpillar made of egg cartons
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Paint 1 egg carton piece white. Once it is fully dry, paint each cup a different colour for a rainbow effect.

caterpillar made of egg cartons
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Cut 2 small pieces of black pipe cleaner. Curl the tops to form antennae. With the pencil, poke a small hole for each antenna at the top of the caterpillar’s head, and then gently push the pipe cleaners inside. You can also glue them to make sure they stay in place.

caterpillar made of egg cartons
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Glue 2 small googly eyes to the caterpillar’s head.

caterpillar made of egg cartons
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Use the black marker to draw on a smile, and your rainbow caterpillar is done! You can use other colours or make green caterpillars too!

2. Cute owl

owl recycled craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

These owls are a hoot to make! Using paper rolls, newspaper and cardboard, you can create a whole bunch of these adorable friends. Create unique designs by painting the whole paper roll a coluor, adding googly eyes
or even craft feathers.

Materials

Paint
Paintbrush
Newspaper
Paper roll
Scissors
Extra-strong glue
Pencil
White and orange cardstock
Black marker
Cardboard

Directions

owl recycled craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Decide what colour you want the front of your owl to be and paint a piece of newspaper that colour.

owl recycled craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

For the owl’s ears, bend in the top portion of the paper roll on each side. Bend just a little bit from the top or the paper roll may fold in too much.

owl recycled craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Cut out an oval shape from your newspaper and glue it to the front of the paper roll. Trim off the bottom if needed.

owl recycled craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

For the eyes, trace 2 circles using the end of a small glue stick or another similar circle shape on the white cardstock. Cut them out. Glue the eyes to the top of the paper roll, and then add a small dot with the black marker.

owl recycled craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

For the beak, fold over a small piece of orange cardstock. Draw a small triangle shape right at the fold you made, and then cut it out. Glue this under the eyes.

owl recycled craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

For the wings, draw a wing shape on a piece of cardboard and cut it out. Then use that shape to draw another one and cut that out as well. Glue the wings on both sides of the owl.

3. Bottle cap bees

recycled bottle cap craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Bzzzzzz . . . these buzzing bees are so easy to make! Save some yellow bottle caps and then pretend to fly them around their bubble wrap honeycomb.

Materials

Pencil
Cardboard
Scissors
Extra-strong glue
Bubble wrap
Yellow paint
Paintbrush
Brown cardstock (optional)
Yellow bottle caps
Black permanent marker or black paint
White cardstock
Small googly eyes

Directions

recycled bottle cap craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

With the pencil, draw a honeycomb shape on the cardboard and then cut it out.

recycled bottle cap craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Glue a piece of bubble wrap on top of the cardboard and cut around the edges to trim the bubble wrap to size.

recycled bottle cap craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Paint the bubble wrap yellow. Cut out a small circle from the brown cardstock or use cardboard. Glue this to the honeycomb to make the bees’ entrance. To make the bees, draw black stripes on the yellow bottle caps with the permanent marker. You can also paint on the stripes with black paint.

recycled bottle cap craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

Cut out 2 small wings from the white cardstock for each bee and glue them to the top of the bottle caps. Glue on 2 small googly eyes for each bee.

recycled bottle cap craft
Photo: Kimberly McLeod

You can glue your bees to the honeycomb or leave them loose to play with!

Reprinted with permission from Fun and Easy Crafting with Recycled Materials by Kimberly McLeod, Page Street Publishing Co. 2019. Photo credit: Kimberly McLeod

Read more:
11 awesome crafts you can make with a cardboard box
10 awesome nature crafts for kids

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