Crafting with…plastics!

Hello Readers!  I know that many of you are often looking for new crafting ideas to do with your kids, even during the school year.  Many of us grow weary from buying all of the art supplies we need to keep our kiddos happy.  Let’s face it: crafting and art supplies can be expensive, even if always purchased at the dollar store!

So, today I want to discuss crafting with plastics.  If you’re like me, you probably try to limit your wastefulness by using reusable grocery bags, reusable water bottles and to-go mugs, and food storage containers instead of disposable products.  But, if you’re like me, you also probably end up with some of those items ending up in your house.  Even though we primarily use reusable grocery bags, we sometimes forget them at home or we end up purchasing more than what can fit in our bags.  So, the stray bags will end up in our home.  It’s the same with plastic bottles.  While I try to stick to my favorite Contigo bottle, my husband will sometimes buy a soda or water during his work day, and sometimes it will be a plastic bottle that makes it into my home.

Other than the obvious uses for such items, like using the grocery bags for bathroom/small trash cans, I have found a few uses for the disposable plastics that end up in your home.  So, let’s start by thinking about crafting projects with plastic bottles first.  One of the easiest ways to reuse plastic bottles is to turn th

Cherry blossom art
Alphamom’s Cherry Blossom Tree project

em into a painting stencil.  Alphamom shows how to turn a regular plastic bottle into a stencil for blossoms in her blog.  Even though she uses it for cherry blossoms, it would work perfect for any flower picture.  Best of all, this is completely kid friendly!  Nothing special is needed besides the bottle and paint, although you may want to put down a cover over your table to prevent flower patterns on its surface.  But, this stencil would be great to also decorate a kids’ table or chairs for a girl’s room!

 

bottle jet pack
Doodlecraft’s jet pack project

Another fun project comes from Doodlecraft‘s blog, who turns two 2 liter soda bottles into the perfect jet pack for kids to play with!  What I love about this project is that it can fuel your kids’ imagination into being superheros for the day, and it is relatively inexpensive to make.  The same product purchased at the store could run you up to $50, but you can easily make this jet pack for a couple of dollars and a little time.  Best of all, you can decorate it however you want!  You can put your kid’s favorite superhero name on it, you can paint it in their favorite colors, or you can decorate it to your heart’s content.  And when it gets left outside or broken (as all toys do) you can forget the stress and disappointment of seeing your money thrown away on another “cheap toy” that didn’t live up to its price.

These are just two uses of ordinary items that often get tossed in the trash without another thought.  For more creative ideas, check out Bored Panda’s post 23 Creative Ways to Reuse Old Plastic Bottles.

As for plastic bags, there are still a few more uses for them besides as your bathroom trash can liner.  Other than creating plarn (plastic yarn) out of them in order to crochet or knit with them, you can also use them to weave baskets and mats of all kinds.  They also make for a great texture brush for your kids to paint with.  Just give them a plastic bag and some paint, and tell them to scrunch it for new interesting patterns and textures on their paintings!  What I have seen on Pinterest has been a collection of plarn projects and weaved items, all made with plastic bags or other items otherwise thrown away.  There are even some posts on using plastic bags to make beads and jewelry.  The possibilities are endless!

Another fun plastic crafting tool is plastic cups.  In my household, we never have plastic cups on hand,  but I recently bought some to prep for our son’s first birthday party.  Those cups aren’t always cheap, and it can sometimes feel like a waste of money to buy them for a single use.  So, save the cups from your Labor Day party or have guests place them in a specific location (don’t worry if one gets thrown out), and wash them to use again (just not for drinking!).   The first use I can think of for them is for paints and paint water.  The next time your kiddos want to paint, reach for the cups rather than for a paper plate or a glass cup and have them use those plastic cups.  The best part is that if you clean them up and keep them with your painting supplies, they can be used a few more times before needing to be tossed (they do break down).  You can also cut them down to smaller sizes and use them to hold your Tempera paints.

You can also paint the cups and use them for games with your kids, like tossing a ping pong ball into the cup or the classic shell game.  You can also use clear cups to make a mix and match doll.  Just draw your dolls on the first cup and draw accessories on each cup you add to it.  You can easily make a toy for your kids to play with for hours, and it won’t be too much of a disappointment if one of the cups is lost since it was a recyclable anyway.  Just a simple search on Pinterest or Google will reveal even more projects involving plastic cups.

So, Readers, I would love to hear from you of any crafting or DIY projects you have that involve using plastic recyclables for them.  We are always looking for new ways to use old materials around here!

Until next time,

-BBM

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