Sustainable Crafts from Recycled Materials

Many of us have found a bit of extra time on our hands as well as feeling very stressed out during the COVID 19 pandemic. I wanted to keep my focus on something positive, uplifting or inspirational. I times of stress, arts and crafts can be an amazing stress reliever. These activities make me feel productive and repurpose materials that would other wise be considered trash.

An article titled Crafting Quality of Lifeby Marty Grace, Enza Gandolfo and Chelsea Candy, studies the effects that crafts have on well-being, stress relief, and even helping with grief. They include scientific research as well as several testimonials from individuals who find crafting helpful to them.  

I’d be a neurotic mess if I didn’t have something to do. I’d drive everybody mad. And it gives me an opportunity to centre, to get away from everybody else, to do something just for me. 

One of the best ways to recycle materials is to repurpose them . I always try and search for new ways to turn wasteful products into something useful. I looked around my home for inspiration on all of the sustainable crafts that I have made in the past. The materials for these are commonly found in everyday households, they are most likely already available.  

painted glass jar holding pencils

1.  Jar Holders 

For this craft you will need is glass or plastic jars, some paint and a paintbrush. Many jars that you bring home from your grocery trip can be saved and made into reusable containers. In this example the repurposed glass jars are used for pencils but you can use them for holding office supplies, makeup brushes, tools, plants or whatever you can think of. One thing to keep in mind is depending on what type of paint that you use it may not be safe to wash. Here is a short tutorial. 

Crocheted fabric made from plastic bags

2.  Plastic Yarn 

This craft is much more involved than the other crafts. It involves making plastic yarn from the disposable plastic bags you get from stores. Here is a quick tutorial on how to make the yarn. You can use the yarn in a variety of ways such as totes, coasters, or baskets. In this example a tote is being made from crocheting the plastic yarn. Here is a beginner friendly tutorial on making a tote bag from plastic yarn. You will need a crochet hook for the tutorial. Keep in mind that this would require several hours to make. These make are really great alternative to fabric reusable bags since fabric or cotton takes a great number of recourses to create.

Collage made from several images and materials

3. Collage

You will need some scissors, and glue. This project makes use of old magazines, newspaper clippings, printed papers, or even add in some 3D elements such as string, fabric or packaging. Some even fill entire sketchbooks with collages, but you can also turn them into envelopes, cards, bookmarkers or even just some wall art. Here is a really great video on materials you can make use out of collages as well as some compositional tips.  

Fish made from cardboard and construction paper

4. Papier Mache  

These are purely decorative but another great way to use up old scraps of paper to make Papier Mache. You will need some newspaper, flower, water, and table salt, paint and some possibly cardboard. Here is a beginner friendly tutorial. This one was made about 8 years ago so it is very faded.  

bird eating bird feed from a plastic bottle

5. Bird Feeder 

This one is a classic craft activity. I have made many of these out of old milk jugs, plastic bottles, scrap wood, tin cans and with my mother. We use mainly plastic bottles using scissors, and string. They can be fairly simple to make, mainly you just need something to hold seeds and a hole so the birds can get to the seeds. Feel free to get creative and decorate the outside of the bottles as well. Here is a simple tutorial on how to make feeders. Here is another tutorial on how make homemade bird feed if you cannot go to the store and get some.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *