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12 Thrifty Trash to Treasure Crafts

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42 Ways to Reuse Materials for Crafting and Save

By: Caley Walsh

Do you know the three words starting with R that will make the biggest environmetal impact? They are reduce, reuse and recycle, in that order of importance. Though we cannot directly reduce waste in how products are produced, we can make re-using a more cherished part of our lives and thus reduce the amount of trash we produce.

Before environmental concerns became the reason for these tenants, our grandparents and great-grandparents re-used and re-purposed everything from clothing to food packaging to stretch every dollar. In our present economy, such frugal practices are once again becoming standard.

Crafting is the perfect way to re-use instead of tossing materials, especially un-recyclable plastics and other trash. In addition, you can enjoy your favorite hobbies and entertain family and friends, while saving money on crafting materials. Here are our favorite ideas for craft projects that re-use:









Junk Mail

  1. Rolled Paper Beads
  2. Homemade Paper
  3. NEW!  Shredded Paper Decor


  1. Comic-Wrapped Decorative Balls
  2. Newspaper Beads
  3. Papier-Mache
  4. NEW!  Funny Flowers
  5. NEW!  Newspaper Planter

Greeting Cards

  1. Gift Tin
  2. Recycled Christmas Cards
  3. Easy Recycled Christmas Ornament
  4. Recycled Paper Ornaments


  1. Collage Frame
  2. Decoupaged Accessories
  3. NEW!  Magazine Purse

Toilet Tubes

  1. Napkin Rings
  2. NEW!  Organic Seedling Planters
  3. NEW!  Pretty Recycled Princess Bracelets
  4. NEW!  Toilet Paper Roll Bracelet
  5. NEW!  Eco Green Tea Light Holder


  1. Calendar Page Envelope



Aluminum Cans

  1. Tin Can Luminaries
  2. Tin Can Critters
  3. NEW!  Smashed Soda Can Animals
  4. NEW!  Picnic Helpers Tutorial

Cookie/Snack Tins

  1. Treasure Tins

Mint Tins

  1. For You Gift Container
  2. NEW!  Flower Power Tins
  3. NEW!  Fall Thank You Tin
  4. NEW!  For You Gift Container



Plastic Bottles

  1. Cat Bottle Bank
  2. Plastic Bottle Lid Art
  3. Milk Bottle Cap Ornament
  4. Pumpkin Luminaries
  5. NEW!  Blue Bling Water Bottle Earrings
  6. NEW!  Water Bottle Supply Organizer

Jewel Cases (On CDs, Software, etc.)

  1. Jewel Case Hanging Picture Frame

Plastic Containers

  1. Shrink Plastic Jewelry

Plastic Fruit/Applesauce Cups

  1. Table Favors

Plastic Cup

  1. Plastic Cup Flower Vase

Yogurt Cups

  1. Recycled Yogurt Cup Bud Vase

Foam Trays

  1. What to Do with Foam Trays from the Supermarket




  1. Beaded Bottle
  2. Jewel Tone Glass Bottles

Wine Bottles, Corks and Labels

  1. Faux Dichroic Glass Bottle
  2. Wine Cork Board
  3. Wine Label Coasters
  4. NEW!  20 Crafts for Wine Bottles




  1. Make Felt with Old Sweaters
  2. Recycled Sweater Throw Pillows


  1. Recycled Belt Leather Bracelets


  1. Jean Pocket Pot Holders
  2. NEW!  Denim and Lace Flip Flops
  3. NEW!  Denim Art Can
  4. NEW!  Denim Back to School Chalkboard




  1. Altered CD for Kids
  2. Beaded CD Ornaments
  3. Holiday Ornament
  4. Letter Holder
  5. NEW!  CD Coasters


  1. Vinyl Record Bowl

Old Toothbrush

  1. 10 Crafty Uses for an Old Toothbrush

Old Light Fixtures

  1. Hammered Bowl
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