Learning & Activities


3 Easy Crafts Made with Recycled Materials

easy crafts with recycled material idea - tin can candle

3 Easy Crafts Made with Recycled Materials

Making crafts out of old or used materials is a great way to reuse and recycle — think aluminum cans, plastic bottles, old shoeboxes, empty toilet paper rolls, unused fabric, paper scraps… anything, really.

By making use of items that are no longer needed in fun and creative ways, not only are we being mindful of Mother Earth, but we're flexing artistic muscles as well. The next time your child sends up the “I'm boooooored!” signal, look around your house and yard, collect some materials, and get creative!

3 Kid-Friendly Crafts Made With Recycled Materials

1. CD Photo Frame

With music now widely consumed on streaming platforms, it's likely your old CDs are collecting dust. Before you toss them in the trash or sell them at the used music store, turn them into something else instead. This activity allows you to reuse the CD and give away a cool gift, too! Here is what you need to get started:

  • Old CD
  • Flour/Salt Dough
  • Photo of family
  • Scissors
  • Double stick tape
  • Adhesive back felt
  • Tacky glue
  • Paint
  • Piece of cardboard

First, mold a base by using the flour/salt dough. It should be at least 1 inch deep and 2 inches around.  Mold it into any shape you want and cut a slot in the base. As you cut into the base, wiggle so that it gets wider as you move down. Let it dry and then paint it.

Cut the photo into a 3-inch circle. Attach it to the front of the CD using the double-stick tape. Use the adhesive back felt to cover the back of the CD. To secure everything in place, use the tacky glue. Now you have a funky frame made out of an old CD!

2. Aluminum Can Candle Holder

When you're done with the food that comes in a can, turn the can into a beautiful candleholder. Any size aluminum can will work, but a small 5 oz. can will work best. Here's what else you'll need:

  • Printed-out clip art
  • Rubber bands
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Spray paint

To make your can nice and smooth, first wash out any leftover sauce or food particles, fill it with water, and put it in the freezer to freeze. While that's freezing, have your child pick out some cool clip art on the computer and print the pieces out.

Once the water in the can has frozen solid, remove it from the freezer. Cover the can with the clip art and secure it with a rubber band. Using the hammer and nail, poke holes in the can along the clip art lines so that the clip art image is created on the can with holes.

Let the ice melt, and then dry and spray paint the can. Finally, add a tea light candle, light it, and enjoy the beautiful glow that emerges from the holes.

easy crafts with recycled material idea - tin can candle
Turn an old tin can into a fun and unique candle holder.


3. Soda Can Pen Holder

This craft is about as easy as they come! If you have a favorite type of soda or canned beverage, showcase your affinity by turning an old can of it into a pen, pencil, crayon, or marker holder. Here's what you'll need:

  • Old soda cans
  • Can opener

When you have finished enjoying your beverage, use a can opener to remove the top from the can while leaving the lip intact. Rinse the can with soap and warm water to make sure it's clean. Once clean and dry, fill your new vessel with your preferred writing utensil and put it on display! MWT TIP: To weigh the can down, throw some washers on the bottom.

Let Your Kids Take Charge

There is no better way to encourage your child's creativity than to let them come up with their own art projects! Grab some old household items that would otherwise be thrown away, some art supplies, and let them have at it! This is a great idea for when you don't want to directly participate, but you still need something for your child to do.

Let your child have their pick of what household item they repurpose into a craft. You're technically controlling what they have access to, but allowing them to make the final decision will make them feel big and independent. Be prepared for some messes, but take initiative by having your child change into old clothes and laying some newspaper down.

It's important to remain in your child's vicinity while they work on their crafts. Even when your child is taking care, accidents can happen. If someone gets cut with scissors, for example, you'll need to be there to patch up the boo-boo. You also want to watch to make sure all craft supplies are being handled safely and appropriately.

Once your child's artistic masterpiece is finished, make them feel special by finding a place to display it. This could be a shelf, the back of the kitchen counter, the fridge, or anywhere else where you have a spot. Make sure it's somewhere your child can see it! They'll get a kick out of everyone appreciating their hard work.

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