written by: Jennifer Claerr•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 5/22/2011
Making crafts from recycled materials is one of the best inexpensive pastimes there is. It's a great way to spend time with your kids, too. If you're planning to decorate your home for the holidays, making recycled crafts can help you stay on budget.
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Basics About Making Recycled Crafts
Making crafts from recycled materials is simple and inexpensive. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, recycling saves energy, reduces the need for landfills, prevents pollution and decreases greenhouse gas emissions. Recycled crafts are wonderful for holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's and Mother's Day. They also make good gifts. In many cases, your kids can help you make them. Chances are your home is filled with materials that you could recycle to create beautiful craft projects. You may need some new materials, such as glue and paint, but most likely you can create craft projects using mostly recycled materials. Before you get started, go around your house to find things you can reuse. Look in your closet, jewelry box, sewing box, craft supplies, junk drawers and recycling bin, and you'll find plenty of recyclable materials.
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Recycled Cardboard Crafts
Before you start making crafts from recycled cardboard, it's a good idea to save up some cardboard boxes. Place these recyclable materials in a recycling bin or a larger cardboard box. Be sure to save both recycled corrugated cardboard and chipboard. Recycled cereal boxes, shoe boxes and gift boxes make ideal materials for crafting. Also make sure that you have some scissors, a craft blade and a pencil. You can download free craft patterns from the Internet for printing or make your own; however, whatever you do, be sure to use recycled paper. Color and cut out the craft pattern and use a glue stick to adhere it to the unfinished side of a piece of chipboard. Recycled toilet paper and paper towel rolls are also useful materials for craft projects. Use them to build a skeleton for craft creatures and figures such as mummies, angels, dinosaurs, elephants and more.
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Recycled Paper Crafts
Making origami is one way to use recycled paper. There are many websites that host free origami projects. You can also use recycled construction paper and scraps to make holiday greeting cards. You can also use recycled paper to create a craft pattern for making the holiday greeting card. The best way to do this is to design characters with separate pieces in a graphics software program, but drawing it directly on the recycled paper will do. Then cut out the various pieces from the pattern and place them over recycled construction paper scraps. Cut them out and use a glue stick to attach them to the front of the card. For more ideas, read Craft Project: How To Make Paper Airplanes from Recycled Paper.
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Recycled Can Crafts
A recycled tin can makes the perfect base for many craft projects. Be sure to wash and dry the recycled can thoroughly before beginning, and make sure there are no rough or sharp edges on the opening of the recycled can. Then wrap some recycled construction paper around the can and attach it with hot glue. Pink or peach construction paper works well to create a skin color for the face of a character such as a pilgrim or Santa Claus. You can also use a recycled tin can to create a recycled pencil holder, candle holder or candy bucket. Decorate the craft using pieces of recycled cardboard, cloth scraps, yarn from unraveled sweaters, cotton or acrylic batting from old pillows, scraps of construction paper and felt, Styrofoam or paper egg cartons, magazine and advertising flyer cut-outs or anything other recycled material you can find.
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Recycled Pine Cone Crafts
Pine cones are one of the most versatile and useful recycled craft materials. They can be used to make miniature Christmas trees, turkeys, owls and table centerpieces for holiday gatherings. Before creating your recycled pine cone crafts, you will need to wash and thoroughly dry the pine cones. To make a recycled pine cone Christmas tree craft, brush some glue on the pine cone and sprinkle glitter on the pine cone. Wrap an old string of beads around the pine cone to create a garland. Then hot glue recycled pieces of broken jewelry to the ends of the pine cone scales to serve as ornaments. A recycled pine cone turkey and owl can be created by cutting up and hot gluing twigs, bits of discarded clothing and buttons to the craft.