Creative Crafts that Recycle

Whether you use up what you've got or make something out of a found treasure, these ideas will cost you next to nothing.


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Pot holders made from recycled sweaters
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Cutie-Pie Pot Holders

    Made from old sweaters these pot holders are sure to add a bit of color to any kitchen decor.

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Eco-Friendly Tote Bag

    Help save the environment by making and using this stylish eco-friendly tote. Special screen-printing tools and paints make this project a cinch.

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Picnic Plate Flowers

    Let the kids get in on the recycling too! Try this colorful bouquet made from paper plates and a cleaned up plastic jug for a vase.

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Fabric Scrap Balls

    An easy craft to make, these fabric-wrapped balls use up scraps from your stash and can be displayed in a pretty bowl. Cut strips from coordinating fabrics and use glue to adhere them to foam balls. Select a variety of fabric patterns and use both small and large balls for extra interest.

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Desk Accessories Holder

    Jazz up an old tin can to sit pretty on a desk. Remove labels and clean can. Cut textured decorative paper to the height and width of the can. Wrap the paper piece around the can and adhere it with decoupage medium. Cut a length of coordinating ribbon. Wrap it around the can and tie.

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Bottle Cap Magnets

    Bring the recycled-chic look to your kitchen with bottle-cap magnets. Find vintage caps at flea markets or thrift shops and hot-glue a small magnet, available at crafts stores, inside.

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Business Card Holder

    Here's a fresh idea for a leftover mint container. Cover the outside and inside of the lid with decorative paper and fill it with your business cards. Embellish a second container to store the cards you receive.

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Recycled-Paper Coaster

    Turn old magazines into colorful and funky coasters. Tear out several pages of a magazine (the more colorful the better), and cut into strips about 1-1/2 inches wide. Fold a strip in half lengthwise; unfold. Fold long edges in to meet at the center, then fold in half lengthwise again, resulting in a slender strip that is ready to roll up. Repeat with the remaining strips.

    Use a small paintbrush to cover the length of the strip with a decoupage medium or a mixture of glue and water. Roll coated strip into a tight spiral. Coat the next strip and wrap it around the first spiral. Continue gluing and wrapping the strips in a spiral until you have a coaster that is about 3-1/2 inches in diameter. This process takes a while so be patient. When your coaster is at its desired size, coat the entire thing with decoupage medium and let dry. Design by: Brenda Drake Lesch

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Patterned-Paper Book Covers

    Use your leftover scrapbooking supplies to craft these pretty book covers. Wrap books with sheets of paper, wallpaper, or gift wrap, folding the paper about 3 inches to the inside of the cover at the front and back. Label your books with adhesive-backed letters. Embellish with ribbon trims and ties.

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Fabric-Scraps Bowl

    With use of a sewing machine, this wrapped-rope bowl works up in a jiffy.

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Newspaper Holder

    Whip up a holder for newspapers and magazines using vintage postcards and duct tape. Carry your sturdy holder wherever needed.

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Recycled-Sweater Throw

    Bands of red and pink alternate with a mix of earthy greens on this throw. Textural variations in the sweaters used, such as cable-knit stitches and ribbing, add interest to the solid-color rectangles. Binding helps the throw hold its shape and provides a finished edge.

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Map Buckets

    Perk up a pair of small, plain-Jane metal buckets by gluing on out-of-date maps. The small pails are the ideal size for holding flatware and napkins on a buffet table.

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Painted Can Planters

    Remove labels from cans of various sizes. Wash, dry, then spray the cans with primer. Allow to dry. Spray primed cans with desired colors. Tape off areas for striping and paint stripes or stripe by hand; let dry. Using a stenciling sponge, make polka dots along the stripes or tops of cans; let dry. Spray cans with clear-coat sealer.

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Magazine-Page Frame and Storage Box

    Make this fun picture frame and coordinating box by repurposing old magazines. Decorate a plain wood frame and cardboard box with colorful tubes crafted from magazine pages.

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Paint Cans Turned Organizer

    Create this cool organizer to store your art and craft supplies. Cover quart paint cans with scrapbooking, wallpaper, or wrapping paper scraps. Use double-stick tape or spray adhesive to secure the paper to the cans. To make a display, stack the cans on their sides and glue them together. Use the same idea with gallon cans to store larger items.

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