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Fun Crafts for Using Recycled Cork

written by: •edited by: Tania Cowling•updated: 5/20/2010

Tired of those bits and pieces of cork lying around? Looking for a creative way to turn scraps of worn-out items into something useful? Read on for ideas to make recycled cork crafts.

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    Using Up Scraps

    Cork pops up in the most unlikely of places; inside baseballs, in flooring or bricks, in woodwind instruments and in footwear. You’ll also find cork in corkboards (go figure) and available in sheets and rounds at your local craft supply store. Whether you’re deconstructing and reusing parts from something originally made with cork, or trying to use up leftover scraps from another craft project, here are some ideas for recycled cork crafts to help you make use of bits and pieces both large and small.

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    Cork, the processed outer bark of the cork oak tree, makes a great decorative stamp. Trim the cork into the desired stamp shape with a craft knife or shears. Hot glue an empty thread spool to the back of your stamp for a handle, and you’re ready to go.

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    Sharps Holders

    Trim leftover bits of 1/4-inch or thicker cork into decorative shapes, then gift them to your favorite sewer as pincushions.

    If you’re an avid fisherperson, use slivers of cork as “caps” on fishing hooks or lures to protect your fingers or pockets from the hook points.

    You can also use leftover strips of cork as knife covers. Simply trim the strip to fit the blade and press the knife into it.

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    You can already find cork on coasters, trivets and moisture-absorbent pads that sit underneath potted plants, so why not make coasters (for plants, or drinks) a part of your recycled cork crafts repertoire? Use large cookie cutters or stencils to draw creative coaster shapes on leftover sheets of cork, then cut the shapes out with heavy shears.

    You can also use the ring from a Mason jar lid as a coaster form. Assemble all the shards and slivers of cork you have laying around. Place the jar ring on a hot glue mat, coat the ring’s inside rim with hot glue, then fill the open space inside the ring with hot glue, too. Quickly fill the ring with your assembled bits of cork. Press down on the cork with a flat-bottomed coffee mug, to level the coaster’s surface, then wait a minute or two for the glue to dry completely. Since you’re doing this on a hot glue mat, the glue won’t stick to the mat, but it will hold the cork together on the underside of the coaster.

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    Use an awl to bore a hole in a chunk of cork and thread it onto the ring of your keychain. If you ever drop your keys in the water, the buoyant cork will keep them afloat.

    While a cork float may not be the most stylish of accessories, you can do a similar treatment with any valuables you don’t want to lose in the water, from your compass to sunglasses or a waterproof GPS. Just make sure that the piece of cork you use is large enough to keep the lost item afloat. Spray-paint the cork with a bright color to make it even easier to spot in the water.

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    When All is Said and Done...

    While leftover cork may not be the most stylish of accessories or tools, it can, when used creatively in crafts, help you turn out some pretty nifty creations, or at least help keep your treasured items from getting lost or damaged. You can also do any of these recycled cork crafts, plus some other creative offerings, with leftover wine corks.