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  RECYCLING CRAFTS FOR KIDS
Note: Grade levels are given as a guideline only. Lessons are always adaptable.

Many years ago, we worked in a public art gallery where the art room was shared by many instructors, as were the art materials. More often than not each class was an exercise in making three sheets of paper stretch into thirty art projects. Every week we had a choice to make. Do we throw up our hands in defeat or do we make due and improvise?

Over time it was a given that before each class began, we would take a trip to the recycle room. It was there that we found inspiration as wild and wonderful project ideas jumped out at us from deep within recycle bins and throwaway boxes. We made musical instruments from flower pots, gargoyles from coffee trays and relief carvings from drywall. The more we made, the more we dreamed up.

The following ideas will inspire you to reduce, reuse and recycle!

ART SAVERS PreK and up
Kids will have fun making one of these handy "art savers" which they can use to transport their works of art. From Charlotte Riley. [read more]

BEAN MOSAICS PreK and up
Students will learn about mosaic techniques as they create a mosaic using dried beans and peas. From Kimberly Jensen. [read more]
(Section: Sculpture)

BIRD FEEDER PreK and up
Providing an easy way for children to give back to the environment. From Adrienne Bolles. [read more]

BIRDHOUSE PreK - Gr. 8
A lovely one-season birdhouse made from recycled household materials. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

BODY COLLAGE PreK - Gr 5
A Me, Myself and I project. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

BOTTLE CAP LOCKET K - Gr. 8
Cheri Lord shows you how to create clever lockets using recycled bottle caps. [read more]

BUG VILLAGE K and up
All you need for this craft are a few sticks, some acorn tops, rocks, and imagination! From Amanda Formaro. [read more]

CLAY - ALL ABOUT CLAY all ages
An important look at this timeless raw material along with some do's and don'ts. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]
(Section: Sculpture)

CLAY COIL CONTAINERS - POTTERY K - Gr. 8
Students will learn how to build a container with clay, using coil and slab hand-building techniques. From Lauren Geggus. [read more]

CLAY HEADS K and up
Creating sculptural works with clay. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

CLOTHESPIN MAGNETS K and up
Amanda Formaro shows you how to create treasure from trash. [read more]

COFFEE CAN DRUM K - Gr. 5
A simple method of creating a fun sounding drum. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

COFFEE FILTER FRIDGE MAGNETS PreK and up
Making butterflies from coffee filters. From: Sarah Cannington. [read more]

COLORFUL COASTERS PreK - Gr. 5
A great gift idea that makes use of recycled materials found around the home. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

COSMIC MOBILE K - Gr. 5
A fun and easy project for kids of all ages. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

CUTLERY WIND CHIMES K - Gr. 5
Recycle plastic cutlery and a paper plate to make a set of wind chimes. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

EGG CUP FLOWERS K - Gr. 5
Create fabulous flowers by recycling egg cartons! Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

FABRIC ASSEMBLAGE PreK and up
What to do with scraps of burlap & canvas. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

GARGOYLES Gr. 3 and up
Making gargoyles out of coffee trays. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

GROCERY BAG KITES (Paper Bags) K - Gr. 5
Fly a kite made from paper grocery bags and paint. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

HANDMADE PAPER all ages
Make your own paper using recycled materials. From Eva D'Amico. [read more]

LEAF PEOPLE PreK - Gr. 5
What to do with that big pile of leaves in your backyard? Make leaf people of course. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

MAGAZINE MOSAICS PreK - Gr. 8
Using magazines or photos, you can achieve an effect similar to mosaics formed of glass, clay or stone. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

MEDIA COLLAGE K - Gr. 12
Take a close look at print advertising and product packaging. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

MILK CARTON PEN POT K - Gr. 12
Micky Carline shows you how to create a cool pen holder using an old milk carton and some magazines. [read more]

MILK CARTON HOUSES PreK - Gr. 5
An architectural activity that makes use of materials normally thrown in the garbage. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

MINI VASE K - Gr. 5
Recycle paper (or plastic) drinking cups to make a mini vase. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

NAPKIN RINGS K - Gr. 8
Recycle paper towel rolls to make napkin rings. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

NYLON SNAKE K - Gr. 5
Here's a way to use up those colorful plastic cups & plates used at birthday parties and school events. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

PAINTED ROCKS all ages
Using paint and glue, students can create wonderful works of art while learning about geology! Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

PAINTED SHOES all ages
Canadian artist Theodore Dragonieri paints, collages and reconstructs old shoes to represent great artists of the 20th century. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

PEBBLE PICTURES K - Gr. 8
Add another dimension to paintings using pebbles found at the beach. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

PERSONAL NOTES all ages
Recycling your child's drawings, from Windie. [read more]

PIE PLATE FISH PreK - Gr. 8
The underwater world serves as wonderful inspiration for artists of all ages. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

PLANT DYE PAINTS Gr. 3 - 8
Students will learn that plants are a source of natural dyes and paints. From Kim Swanger. [read more]

PLUSH PAINT PAIL PALS all ages
When your kids have finished off the paint in those little plastic containers, what do you do with them? How about making these darling little magnets! From Amanda Formaro. [read more]

PUMPKIN SEED MOSAIC PreK - Gr. 8
Mosaics are made of tiny colored pieces of stone, pottery, glass or other materials, arranged together and set in plaster or cement to make patterns and images. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

PUZZLE PIECE PICTURE FRAME PreK - Gr. 8
Use up those puzzle pieces and create a unique picture frame. [read more]

PUZZLE TREES PreK - Gr. 5
Trees from recycled puzzle pieces. A great idea from Judith Walsh. [read more]

RECYCLED CARD BOX K - Gr. 5
Joshua gives new life to old greeting cards by turning them into functional boxes. [read more]

RELIEF FOIL SCULPTURE Gr 6-8
A shining example of what you can do with aluminum foil. From Kimberly Hutts. [read more]

SKETCHBOOKS! MAKE YOUR OWN Gr. 3 and up
A great way to start the new year is to create a place for all of your clever creations. [read more]

SCRAP WOOD SCULPTURES K - Gr. 12
Grab a box of wood scraps and create a masterpiece. Written by Andrea Mulder-Slater. [read more]

STAMP BOX PreK - Gr. 5
A great indoor craft project, stamp boxes make wonderful Father's Day gifts. [read more]

TIN CAN SCULPTURE Gr. 3 - 12
Students will use reusable objects and individual creativity to create wonderful sculpture. Submitted by: Jeanne C. Wolf. [read more]

TIN PUNCHING Gr 3 - 8
A creative take on a traditional handicraft from Patti Beckman [read more]

TWIG CONSTRUCTION all ages
Children will learn about homes as they design and make a twig and leaf shelter. From Catherine Bamess. [read more]

WASTE NOT PICTURE FRAMES all ages
These easy and personalized frames make wonderful gifts for relatives. From Amanda Formaro. [read more]

WASTE NOT SNOWMAN all ages
There are plenty of crafts you can make from items found around the house, or even those headed for the garbage can. From Amanda Formaro. [read more]

Also See:

Sculpture, Crafty Ideas and Multicultural Art lesson plans for even MORE great Art On A Shoestring ideas!

RECOMMENDED BOOKS

Good Earth Art : Environmental Art for Kids
by Maryann Kohl
Over two hundred projects for painting and drawing, sculpture and mobiles, collage and printing, weaving and crafts, and handmade art supplies emphasize recycling and natural materials.


EcoArt!
by Laurie Carlson
The bestselling author of Kids Create! combines her intuitive sense of each child's need for self-expression and interaction with nature with her wealth of imaginative experiences. All the projects use recyclable, reusable, household materials and/or items found in nature.