9 Great Recycled Craft Ideas

Josie Bergman
Dec 12, 2023 By Josie Bergman
Originally Published on Apr 20, 2020
Two teenagers picking up plastic trash from the beach to recycle it
Age: 0-99
Read time: 6.3 Min

Turning old recycling into art is the perfect project for your family during lockdown; it is low cost, extremely fun and great for the environment! It is sure to keep your kids busy and since the main ingredient of these tasks is recycled goods you don't need to forage around craft shops for supplies. You could have a whole stock of art supplies raring to go in your household bin so stop before you throw it away and see if you can do any of these things with it!

Magazine Collages

Get your old magazines out and get ready to get crafty. This is a great craft idea for your kids because it is super simple and can be very time consuming which means you can stretch the project over a few days. Plus, all you need to do it is some magazine and/or newspapers, a pair of child-friendly scissors and some glue! Then your child can create their magazine collage - this can be a picture that they have drawn themselves, something you have printed or drawn for them or even just a crazy colourful creation of their own. The creative options are endless!

Waste segregation symbols

Shrinking Crisp Packets

Did you know that you can shrink crips packets in the oven? Well, you can! As long as they are plastic crisps packets and not foil your favourite snack's packaging can be shrunk down to miniature versions of themselves. Look for supermarket own-brand crisps, chipsticks or space raiders for plastic only packets.

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Celsius
  2. Eat your crisps.
  3. Clean your crisp packet using water and washing up liquid.
  4. Dry the crisp packet
  5. Cover the bottom of the baking tray with foil.
  6. Put the crisp packet on the foil and put in the oven.
  7. Leave the crisp packet for 2-3 minutes
  8. Take them out the oven and see your tiny crisp packet emerge.

Once you have your shrunken crisp packets there are so many fun things you can do with them! Why not make it into jewellery and wear your crisp packets as a pair of earring, necklace or even as a charm on a bracelet? Or you could turn your crisp packet into a cute keyring or the perfect asset to your pretend shop or barbie set! You could even collect loads of tiny packets and make a crisp packet collage of tiny little packets. This is such a fun and cute recyclable craft idea which you can also turn into a science experiment if you keep the result a secret before you do it!

Jam Jar Lantern


If your kids are looking for a new a funky night light or just a cool added feature to their bedrooms then this could be just what you're looking for! All you need is a Jam Jar, some paints and a few crafty bits for decorations. You can design your jam jar however you desire whether it's painting a colourful pattern on it or you can go the extra mile a make a miniature fairy house on your jam jar. Collect some twigs and greenery from outside and stick them to your jar creating windows and doors and decorating it all around in cute little designs to bring your fairytale home to life. Then all you need to do once it is fully decorated is pop a battery-powered tea light into and voila - you have your jam jar lantern!

Milk Carton Butterflies

These cute recycled crafts for kids make the best additions to your garden. Turn your old used milk cartons into beautiful butterflies for your kids to decorate and hang in your trees. Plus, they are super easy to make!

How to:

  1. Wash out your used milk carton.
  2. Cut it open and into strips.
  3. Then draw stencils of butterflies that your kids can cut out and decorate with permanent markers.
  4. Once these are beautifully decorated thread a paper clip through each one to hang them in your trees!

Playable Cereal Box Guitar


Have you ever wondered how you can make a working musical instrument out of purely recycled materials? Well, wonder no longer because we have the solution! You can make your very own playable guitar using a cereal box, some rubber bands and some toilet paper rolls. Then are the easy steps:

  1. Cut a circle out of the front of the cereal box (like a guitar circle).
  2. Glue a toilet paper roll to the top of the box as the handle of the guitar and stack them up to as long as you require.
  3. Decorate your guitar to your heart's content.
  4. Then, place your rubber bands over your cereal box long way so they are over the big cut out circle.
  5. Now shred some faces with your funky new guitars everyone with love.

Glitter Jar or Bottles

These little trinkets are the perfect stress reliever for your kiddos and you can make them at home. It has been proven that watching the glitter swirl around calms your kids' mind and makes them feel less anxious - this could be just what they need during this time! You have the option to make these in jars or plastic water bottles, for younger kids to avoid any accidents. This is also a good solution for calming children who tend to throw things as throwing the glitter bottle will relieve stress as well as watching the glitter settle. This is how you make them:

  1. Clean out your jar or bottle with warm water and soap.
  2. Fill your jar/bottle with warm water a third of the way up.
  3. Add glitter glue (or clear glue mixed with glitter) and stir until it is combined with the water.
  4. Then add around 3 drops food colouring (not too many as you don't want the colour to be too dark and obscure the glitter).
  5. Then pour in some more glitter to give your jar a mixture of textures - you can mix colours or even add sequins or stars if you have them available to you.
  6. Stir well until combined with the existing mixture.
  7. Then top the rest of the jar with warm water, until it is almost full. Leave a little gap at the top to allow the mixture to move.
  8. (Optional) you can use glue to stick the lid to the jar or bottle if you are worried about accidental opening or spillages.
  9. NOW SHAKE!!!

Egg Box Treasure Chest


This super easy craft idea will get your children busy decorating egg cartons and also create a nifty little keep safe box to hold all their treasures. They are super easy to make and require practically no effort. All you need to do is give your kid an egg carton and let them do the magic. Try looking up some pictures of treasure chests to inspire your children's designs.

Toilet Paper Roll Desk Tidy

If you are anything like most families then I am sure you will have an abundance of pens, pencils and any other kind of stationery lying around your house that need a good home. Well, you can kill two birds with one stone with this useful little craft idea. All you need is some toilet paper rolls, some paint and some glue to create your very own recycled desk tidy. Decorate your toilet rolls however you wish as a family and then glue them standing up on a flat piece of cardboard and there you have it!

DIY Notebooks from Cereal Boxes

These super cool and trendy notebooks are the perfect project for your child. Not only are they super fun to make but also then give your kids a brand new notebook to use however they wish. Just follow these easy steps from crème de la craft to make them!

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Written by Josie Bergman

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Josie Bergman

A London native with a passion for theater and music, Josie loves nothing more than getting lost in the vibrant world of the West End. With her family by her side, she can be found dancing to her favorite musicals and discovering new hidden gems across the city. Her older sister is a great resource for vegan dining recommendations, and Josie is always excited to explore new culinary adventures. When not in a theater seat or sampling new cuisine, she loves to visit the Victoria Palace Theatre and take in the sights and sounds of Borough Market.

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