Recycle, Reduce and Reuse: Arts and Crafts

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Crafts can be made out of anything.  They can be given away as gifts or kept at home.  Doing craft activities with children will engage them in following directions as well as being proud of something that they made themselves.

Because crafts can vary, why not make something make out of recycled materials?  Items such as aluminum cans, plastic bottles or old coffee tins can be transformed into so many different things.

Below are some suggested activities:

Soda tab jewelry

Keep the tabs off of soda cans and become a jewelry designer.  Have your child remove the tabs from different soda cans.  See how many he or she can collect.  The other materials needed are jump rings, washers, jewelry wire, and jewelry cutting tools.

Cut the thick, middle part out of the tabs and using the jewelry tool, open the jump rings.  Slip the soda tab through and close the jump ring.  Add as many tabs as you want to make a really long necklace.

Bottle cap magnet

You can buy magnets at the convenience store or at gift shops.  However, they are easy to make on your own.  All you need are bottle caps from your empty soda bottles.  Here are the other materials that you will need:

•    Colored permanent markers
•    Glue
•    Felt
•    Magnet

This project will look best with bottle caps of different colors.  However, if you don’t have that, you can elaborate with stickers or other colored markers.  First, draw a design of what you would like your magnet to look like.  Then arrange the bottle caps.  Glue them together so that they will stay in place.

Using the colored permanent markers, draw on the bottle caps by adding eyes or whatever you wish.  Place your marker on a piece of felt and trace around the shape onto the felt.  Cut the pattern out along the traced line.  Glue the newly shaped felt piece to the bottle cap shape.  Once the glue is dry, glue the magnet to the back of the felt.  Place it on the fridge and admire your art!

Faux leather pencil holder

This craft makes a great gift for dads.  Here is what you need to get started:

•    Container (Crystal Light, maybe)
•    Masking tape
•    Brown shoe polish
•    Old rag

First attach small pieces of masking tape all over the container.  Make sure that you start from the top, all the way to the bottom, and that it is completely covered.  Draw some random shapes onto the pieces of masking tape.  You can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish.

Roll a longer piece of the masking tape into a snake.  Make sure that the sticky part is on the outside.  This will go onto the top of the container.  Using the brown shoe polish, apply it all over the masking tape on the container.  Then grab the old rag and rub till it gets shiny.  The pencil holder will now appear to have a faux leather look.  This is a very cool office accessory!