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54 Recycled Crafts for Kids

These craft ideas for kids with waste material will keep them busy and keep items out of the recycling bin!

By: Caley Walsh, Editor,
Updated September 18, 2019
Recycled Crafts for Kids

Recycled crafts for kids can be a valuable tool of entertainment and distraction after a long school day. These craft projects for kids cost almost nothing to make and you can use materials from around the house, like oatmeal containers.

If you're looking for recycling projects for kids that are perfect for Earth Day crafts, this is a must-have collection. Save up those drink cartons, plastic bottles and even paper plates - you can use all of these items for these craft projects.

Even if Earth Day is nowhere in sight, save this collection for a rainy day and have kids get creative on a rainy afternoon. If you're a teacher, you'll find great school projects made from recycled materials below as well. Kids will love making their own games, organizers and even birdfeeders.


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Are you a visual learner? Check out our video tutorial for this Recycled DIY Storage Container.

Tin Can Crafts for Kids

With the tutorials below, you and the kids can make all sorts of exciting projects from cans. Create a funny cow, pig or bear using empty soda cans, paint and felt. Recycle crafts for kids are a great tool for teaching kids about recycling. Find more recycled can crafts below.

  • Teacher Gift Tin Can Crafts

    Show your appreciation for all they do! Follow this sweet tutorial to make the loveliest teacher gifts.

  • Christmas Goodie Pop Top Cans

    That tin can will be your new favorite gift wrap option come the holidays!

  • Picture Card in Can

    This is such a precious project to work on together with the kids. Guests will love opening the can and viewing the photos inside.

  • Soup Can Bowling

    This Soup Can Bowling craft is a two-for-one project: kids can spend time making this craft, and then they get to use it as a fun activity!

  • Tin Can Pencil Organizers

    Stay organized with this basic tutorial! Totally customize your tin can pencil cup depending on the pretty paper you choose.

  • Tin Can Pencil Holder

    Paint and decoupage will be your friends with this project. Pick your favorite motifs for this awesome tutorial.

Aluminum Can Crafts

As with most of the aluminum can crafts below, you'll want to help your kids and supervise since these projects all involve shaping or cutting aluminum cans.

  • Smashed Soda Can Animals

    Sure, it's smart to smash cans so they fit in the recycling bin better, but you can decorate them, too! Turn them into adorable animals with this tutorial.

  • Soda Can Coasters

    Set your can of pop on some soda can coasters! If Pepsi is your favorite, there's nothing like having some Pepsi coasters at the ready.

  • Silly Soda Can Magnets Video

    Kids will LOVE this silly project. Turn soda cans into the goofiest faces with this funny tutorial.

  • Sparkle Fairies

    Aren't these fairies just the prettiest projects? Make sure you assist your child with this tutorial as it does involve cutting up the cans, but the finished results are so lovely.

  • Upcycled Soda Top Bracelet

    Weave yourself a fantastic new accessory. Start collecting soda tabs now to make this fun project. 

  • Recycled Soda Can Frame

    Embellish a picture frame with soda cans! Cut them into fantastic shapes and color them with this tutorial.

  • Soda Can Mosaic Heart Plaque

    I love this Soda Can Mosaic Heart Plaque! This is a darling project to make for mom.

Drink Carton Crafts

You'll find more tutorials below using drinking cartons. For example, use an empty drink carton and an old aluminum can to make your own recycle crafts for kids. Use soy candle wax or beeswax for a greener alternative to traditional petroleum-derived paraffin wax.

  • Upcycled Back Scratcher with Video

    Grab plastic bottle caps and attach them to a paint stick for an awesome thrifty new back scratcher for Dad!

  • Recycled Treat Containers

    These treat containers will be your new friends with this darling tutorial! Turn them into cats or dogs depending on your preference.

  • Kids Summer Crafts House Project

    A juice box can become a beautiful scenic project with this darling craft! Make it into a house with a popsicle stick fence and other lovely embellishments.

  • Drink Carton Gift Box

    The Drink Carton Gift Box is an easy craft project that's an extra special way to dress up a gift. Giving a handmade gift in a handmade box makes the present doubly special! 

  • Birdhouse Milk Carton Craft

    That milk carton is going to be your next birdhouse! Decorate a milk carton with outdoorsy elements to welcome the birds into your backyard.

Toilet Paper Roll Crafts for Kids

Toilet paper roll crafts are such classic crafts for kids because they are maybe the easiest, inexpensive craft supply to come by!If you're concerned about how sanitary toilet paper rolls are, you can opt for using paper towel rolls instead. Find more paper tube crafts below.

  • Toilet Paper Roll Boxes

    Turning toilet paper rolls into pillow boxes is a fantastic project for giving small gifts. As a special bonus, these boxes are Minions inspired!

  • Toilet Paper Roll Ghosties

    Paint toilet paper rolls and attach googly eyes with the kids to make spooky Halloween decorations for your trees!

  • Thrifty DIY Pencil Holder

    Toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls allow you to make the ultimate organizer with little cups in different heights for your office supplies.

  • Super Scout Cardboard Tube Craft

    Kids can make their own action figures out of cardboard tubes and other basic craft supplies.

  • Winter Penguin Toilet Paper Roll Craft

    Isn't this the cutest penguin craft? With the right embellishments and especially an adorable ribbon, transform that cardboard tube into a sweet wintry bird!

  • Toilet Paper Roll Paint Stamps

    Make abstract art with your toddler! Make stamps and use them to create artwork with your little one.

  • Toilet Tube Tea Cups

    China can be expensive, but with this tutorial your little one can make teacups for pennies! This is the most darling project for tea parties with the teddy bears.

  • Kiddie Blocks Toilet Paper Roll Craft

    There is nothing more thrilling than building with blocks. Toddlers can build towers with this craft.

More Crafts with Cardboard

It's seriously amazing what you can make out of recycled containers. So long as you properly clean the inside of grease, decorate the outside and store anything you like inside. Did you know you can make art out of pizza boxes, too? At a glance, it's impossible to tell that the lovely artwork came from a pizza box! Scrap paper, CDs, and more make for a fabulous project.

  • Oatmeal Box Pencil Holder

    Who knew that an oatmeal container could come in so handy! For kids with tons of coloring supplies, this is the perfect project.

  • Pizza Box Art

    This project is a double recycling whammy! Not only will kids upcycle a pizza box to make this project, but they'll use CDs to make the image for their artwork.

  • Pringles Can Storage Container

    Those tall potato chip cans are a treasure trove for craft ideas! The Pringles Can Storage Container is ideal for storing pens, scissors, coloring supplies, and all manner of tools. Anything you might use a tube for is ideal for this craft.

  • Recycled Cardboard Caddy

    This awesome tutorial involves building your own caddy out of corrugated cardboard and using other recycled elements to complete the project!

  • Egg Carton Flower Fairies

    This crazy cute project is great for kids and parents (or grandparents!) to work on together. Learn how to make the sweetest little fairies out of egg cartons!

  • Trio of TP Tube Treat Bags

    For your child's gradeschool class or even as favors at a Halloween party, make these goodie bags together!

  • Cardboard Ribbon Spool Flowers

    Don't toss those empty ribbon spools!  These colorful flowers are great for those who love vibrant wall art.  Perfect for a kids playroom or nursery, these 3D style flowers are made with empty ribbon spools and a variety of paint colors.  Kids can help create these flowers under the supervision of an adult, and they'll love that they helped create and decorate something in their room.

  • Quick Recycled Gift Container

    If you need a container and you need it quick, this easy project is great fo rthe kids to work on! It just takes a few basic materials to have a new storage solution at your fingertips.

  • Recycled Diy Planters

    These planters are made from yogurt containers! Learn how you can dress them up. Your kids will love making the containers and growing the flowers inside them!

  • Pizza Box Wall Art

    Kids of all ages will love this project.  All you need is an empty pizza box and a bunch of little nick nacks and you've got all you need to create this fun wall decoration.  You could also use a flat top box instead of a pizza box or the box from a frozen pizza.  So order up a slice of pie and get ready for some great family craft time.

  • Upcycled Containers

    Great for storing craft supplies, pens and pencils, makeup, hair accessories, toy cars and so much more, these Upcycled Containers are a great way to use up leftover paper and canisters that you have lying around.  Great suggestions for upcycled containers are coffee jugs, oatmeal containers, large tin cans, and even empty paint cans.

Plastic Bottle Crafts

You can make all sorts of things out of water bottles. Recycle water bottles into pink flower bracelets for fun green crafting ideas for kids. Find more ideas below.

  • Cat Bottle Bank Water Bottle Craft

    It's super easy to turn a water bottle into a bank because you conveniently already have the opening to insert the money! With this project, turn your water bottle into a kitty bank.

  • Dog Bottle Bank Water Bottle Craft

    If you and your child are more dog people than cat people, you can make a dog version of the water bottle bank.

  • Plastic Bottle Birdfeeder

    You can make this darling Plastic Bottle Birdfeeder! At a glance you don't even realize it was once a plastic bottle. The little roof is so darling and really makes the project look like a little house! This is a wonderful project to do with the kids and they will love seeing the birds use it. 

  • Adorable Bottle Cap Lady Bug

    Make a darling miniature toy out of bottle caps! This is the sweetest little lady bug to make.

  • Aleene's Bottle Cap Birdie

    Use bottle caps as your base to make this cute little bird. With the right embellishments, especially features, this bird will come together so nicely.

  • Bottle Cap Bugs

    Use plastic bottle caps, cereal boxes, wire, and more to create this adorable Bottle Cap Bug.  Kids will love getting their hands dirty making a collection of these cute bug projects, and you can easily display them both indoors and out.  These fun green crafts for kids would look great in an outdoor garden display or could be used to decorate inside as well.

  • Pink Flower Water Bottle Bracelets

    Isn't it amazing that this bracelet is made out of a water bottle? You'd never guess it at a glance! With the right details, this darling bracelet won't look like a recycled craft at all.

  • Felt Floral Plastic Bottle Bracelet

    Grab felt in your favorite colors to make this bracelet! Wrap the felt around the plastic so the edges won't be sharp anymore, and add flowers for a lovely decoration.

  • Fairy Light Recycled Craft

    Isn't this project just the cutest? Together with your child or grandchild, you can make darling fairy lights with this water bottle craft tutorial.

  • Robbie the Recycled Robot

    This recycle friendly robot is a great way to teach kids about the benefits of recycling.  Crafted from aluminum foil and other kid-friendly supplies, this easy to make robot would be a great project for Earth Day or a fun way to clean out your craft box.

More Plastic Crafts

You can craft with the most obscure plastic containers. Find more recycled crafts below made from various plastic containers, such as CD cases, bottle caps, and more.

  • CD Case Picture Frame

    Preserve those treasured moments and make new memories when crafting with the little ones!

  • Plastic Spoon Garden Markers

    This easy tutorial is a great way to reuse plastic spoons for crafting! All you need to do is decorate the spoons for some super easy garden markers.

  • Recycled Tic Tac Toe Game

    Kids and adults of all ages will love this fun verison of tic-tac toe!  Made with an old cereal box and plastic water bottle caps, this easy travel game is great for taking in the car or on a trip to grandma's house.  The little game pieces also contain magnets, so you don't have to worry about misplacing game pieces as you travel.

  • Eco Froggy Bank

    This Eco Froggy Bank is made from a disposable cup like one you'd order a smoothie in. The hold in the top comes in handy for crafting your own bank!

  • Upcycled Ladybug Storage Jars

    How cute is this! Sometimes you just need to add some extra detailing to the lid of your storage container to take it to the next level.

  • Eco Friendly Plastic Cup Flowers

    These are so darling! Kids will be amazed at how easy it is to turn plain plastic cups into the most darling flowers.

  • Fuzzy Bumble Bee

    Hurry to the store to stock up on pom poms because you'll need them for this project. It's easy to transform a bottle of barbeque sauce into anything you'd like when you cover it with pom poms!

Paper Plate Crafts and Other Recycle Crafts from Paper Dishware

You can craft with paper plates and other paper dishware. Add a paper bowl project to your list of recycled crafts for kids when you turn him into a turtle. You'll save your trash can from filling up and your kids will get a chance to make a recycled reptile.

  • Owl Paper Cup

    A couple paper cups and a few basic crafting supplies are all you need to make this owl. This is a great project for little ones!

  • Ladybug Paper Plate

    Too cute! All you need are some paper plates and other supplies you likely already have on hand, such as buttons and paint, to make this ladybug.

  • Paper Plate Gratitude Flowers

    Use plain paper plates and some cute buttons to create these adorable Graditude Flowers.  This green crafting project is great for arts and crafts time at school, and kids can write what they're thankful for on the flower and display them in the front lawn.  These colorful springtime flowers are a great way to teach kids about the importance of saving the Earth and remaining thankful for all our blessings the whole year through.

  • Goldfish Paper Plate

    Precious, so precious. This goldfish is easy and pie to make, and would be a fantastic classroom activity for teachers, too!

  • Cute Paper Bowl Turtle

    If turtles are your child's favorite animal, be sure to make this adorable project with them! It only requires a few easy steps, making this a great rainy day project. 

  • Paper Plate Dream Catcher

    This is adorable! Instead of buying a dream catcher at the store, you can make one yourself with this tutorial. 

  • Spring Crafts for Kids: Cute Bunny

    Don't just craft with paper plates: make an entire darling scene featuring a bunny in a field of daisies! Tissue paper and cotton balls are a few of the basic materials you'll need to make this art.

  • Kids Paper Craft Tucan: Fun craft for kids

    This awesome project is great for older kids who are able to cut out these basic shapes. The tropical leaves and flowers make the most wonderful border for this project.

  • Miniature Christmas Tree DIY Decoration

    This project is so cute and easy! It is one of the best Christmas crafts and comes together so easily.

  • Pig Paper Plate

    Paper plate crafts are great recycling projects for school, and this Pig Paper Plate uses multiple recycled items! Learn how to make darling animal faces out of paper plates with this tutorial. 

More Recycling Crafts for Kids

We have more miscellaneous recycled crafts below. For example, use old newspaper to create big, circular beads. Kids will love painting and decorating recycled paper beads.

  • Beautiful Paper Beads

    Use magazine paper to make your own paper beads! This project is easier than you think and you can make gorgeous jewelry with items you'd normally toss in the recycling bin!

  • Easy Coffee Filter Daffodils

    This is a wonderfully easy project to make with the kids and to use for a variety of occasions! 

  • Hand Painted Rock Bugs

    Use materials that are right in your backyard for crafting! You can paint rocks and make the cutest critters, then leave them in other people's yards or in public places to cause smiles wherever you go.

  • Super Seashells Picture Frame Craft

    Collect seashells at the beach and the use them to make a darling picture frame! It's easy to decorate a frame when the materials are so easy to come by.

  • Fun Altered Dominoes

    Do you have a set of dominoes that are useless because a few of them are missing? Use them to make adorable altered artwork with this project.

  • Half the Earth Shirt

    This project isn't a recycling idea per se, but it's a wonderful way to be earth friendly! Make earth shirts to celebrate Earth Day. The kids will love to wear them!

  • Eco Friendly Tee Shirt

    In the mood to be eco friendly? This think green shirt is so easy to make, and a great way to spread awareness about green crafting.

  • DIY Painted Jugs and Spring Flowers

    Paint milk jugs for the most darling spring vases! These are some of the cutest recycled crafts and they are just so simple. Coordinating colors will make these milk jugs your new favorite centerpieces!

  • Upcycled Reusable Shopping Bags

    Dress up a reuseable shopping bag with one-of-a-kind artwork for a darling project you'll love to take with you to the grocery store.

  • Upcycled Glove Animals

    These Upcycled Glove Animals are also SO adorable, it's hard to pass them up! I love the dinosaurs. These are an absolutely adorable recycling projects for kids, and it's a fun project to make when you've lost a glove and don't know what to do with the other one!

  • Fabric Covered DIY Planter

    Does your planter need an upgrade? All you need is a little leftover fabric or even fabric from an old shirt you never wear anymore to complete this project!

  • Brown Bag Handle Bracelet

    Girls of all ages will love showing off their stylish side with these fun and easy recycled brown paper bag bracelets.  These colorful fashion staples are made using the handles from plastic grocery bags, so you can easily make them fit wrists of all shapes and sizes.  Let your girls decorate their own bracelets and teach them how to create fashionable accessories that they'll love to show off to their friends!

What are your favorite recycling ideas for kids?

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I really enjoyed this article! Thank you for sharing this!

So I do recycle and I encourage others to recycle as well. I have a few kids in the neighborhood that from time to time will have to sit with me until a parent comes home. I like to have something for them to do while we wait instead of looking at TV. This is a great collection of quick craft projects. Thanks.

What a wonderful grouping of projects for kids to make. The projects range from really quick and easy to something that may take a while to complete. Where to start?

This ebook is wonderful. I take care of my grand kids when they have any week days off. We always make things and they are really recycle minded. They will love doing these. I will let them each pick one of the projects and see how proud they are when done.

I have 3 special needs kids that are going to love these crafts. We love doing crafts and are always looking for new ideas. When we have snow days or rainy days, these activities are perfect. Cant wait

this is a really interesting website, rainy day projects for children.

Any ideas for old vcr tapes?

Found some lovely ideas here. This post is a great source of projects. My girls will surely love these ideas. Thanks for sharing! Rosetta from http// )

I love to recycle

wow nice ideas thanxxxxxxxxxxx

Hiii nice pic

Where are you from


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