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12 Thrifty Trash to Treasure Crafts

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26 Great Trash-to-Treasure Crafts

By: Melissa Conner, Editor,
Updated November 10, 2017
26 Great Trash-to-Treasure Crafts

These 26 unique trash-to-treasure crafts are great ways to take things that are old and make them new. Before you throw something out, like an empty glass bottle or an old pair of jeans, take a moment to consider what else you could possibly make with it. Besides being eco-friendly, recycled crafts are also cheaper to make than craft projects that require all-new materials.

Green crafting is an easy way to be kind to the earth and be creative at the same time. Check out the list below and see which of these recyclable materials you already have in your house, and start working on your next project.

Glass Bottles and Soda Can Crafts

Plastic Bottle Lid Art
  • Bottle Cap CrossesThese homemade crafts will recycle your old bottle caps and make something meaningful and beautiful for you to wear. Make one for your friend so that you can wear them together!
  • Mason Jar VaseUse some old mason jars to give your plants a new home. The best part is that you can see the roots and soil right through the glass container, so you'll know exactly how your plants are doing. 
  • Bottle Cap Wine Glass CharmsThese adorable wine glass charms will help you to know which glass of wine is yours. Plus, it's a great conversation starter. People will be amazed that you made them yourself out of recycled bottle caps!
  • Soda Can Butterfly PinAttach this stunning butterfly craft to your best friend's birthday present to give it a bit of class. She'll never be able to guess that it was made from a soda can!
  • Plastic Bottle Lid Art(pictured) This tasteful bit of art is made with recycled plastic bottle tops. It's wonderful to make something beautiful out of what would otherwise just be garbage.
  • Smashed Soda Can AnimalsCute and easy, these soda can animals are a great craft for kids and adults alike. Decorate your house with these funny animals and know that you are making use of a can that would otherwise probably end up in a landfill.
  • Soda Can CoastersThese easily recognizable coasters will make guests smile. Show off your love for your favorite soda brands with these homemade coasters. Because soda companies change their logos, you can make multiple ones over time to show your longtime devotion to your soda of choice.

Cardboard and Paper Crafts

Recycled Magazine Cork Board
  • Brown Bag Place MatFinally make use of your brown paper bags from the grocery store with this creative trash to treasure craft! It guides you through every step to make your old brown paper bags into attractive homemade place mats.
  • Colorful Paper PensUse old paper to decorate otherwise boring pens.  Use your creativity to make each pen a little different. Before long, you'll have a favorite for every day of the week!
  • Recycled Magazine Cork Board(pictured) This may be one of the easiest crafts you've ever done. All you need is a cork panel from the craft store and some old colorful magazines.
  • Green Crafting Gift Wrap BowTired of buying holiday bows every single year?  Well break the cycle once and for all. These attractive gift wrap bows are made completely out of old magazine paper.  Save money, demonstrate your creativity, and get the job done all at the same time!
  • Pizza Box ArtPizza boxes have no real use after they are thrown away, so rescue them with this artistic craft. Turn your pizza boxes into canvases that will hold your creative thoughts. Even use scraps of old paper to make a collage!

DIY Organizers and Containers

Recycled Yogurt Cup Bud Vase
  • Daisy ContainerThis adorable container is made from an old plastic container. Make use of what would usually be thrown away by transforming it into something beautiful!
  • Oatmeal Box Pencil HolderEnjoy your oatmeal every morning? Well use that container after you are done to make a great pencil holder. Decorate it in your own unique way to make it 100% yours.
  • Tin Can DIY OrganizerIf you live in a tiny apartment or just want to save on space in your kitchen, grab some old tin cans and give this unique craft a try.
  • Recycled Yogurt Cup Bud Vase(pictured) There is nothing like the feeling of nurturing new life. Take an old yogurt cup and make a bud vase out of it. Not only will it look attractive and be fun to make, but it also saves the yogurt container from spending an eternity in a landfill.
  • Altered Cookie TinMake use of an old cookie tin to make this neat container for whatever treasures you may want to keep. Decorate it any way you want! It's all up to you, the artist!
  • Burlap DIY Storage BoxesReuse the boxes from your last Amazon order to make these cute storage containers. Why spend $20 on a container from Target when you can make one for free? Seriously though.

Crafts With Fabric Scraps

Rags-to-Rugs Craft
  • Reusable Feminine PadsYes, we're serious. You can use old scraps and some cotton filling to create your own DIY pads. This is a great idea to try if you want to be more eco-friendly - and also save money. 
  • Upcycled Denim Tote BagIf you can't bear to part with those ill-fitting jeans, use them to create something completely new. Scrap fabric crafts are a great way to save on fabric and breathe new life into old or sentimental items. Carry this tote to the mall or grocery store - it's big enough to hold all of your essentials.
  • Place Mat PurseBought one too many place mats? Save it and use it to create a pretty purse. This sewing pattern shows that crafts from recycled materials can be just as stylish as their store-bought counterparts.
  • Place Mat Purse(pictured) Make your own floor covering with some old T-shirts or leftover pieces of fabric that you have in your craft room. It's easy, and best of all, it's free! 
  • Placemat Travel Jewelry CaseNever lose an expensive piece of jewelry again. This case will help you stay organized when traveling. If you are looking for quick and easy trash to treasure ideas, you'll love this fun project.
  • Easy Shirt NecklaceNo yarn? No problem. Kids and adults alike love these easy recycled crafts and this one is super easy. In fact, you can make this project in just minutes, making it the afternoon project. If you have old shirts, you can make all kinds of trash to treasure crafts.
  • Repurposed Fabric ToteFor these scrap fabric crafts, you won't need to buy anything. Use what you already have and create this delightful bag. This is also a great gift idea for a fashionable friend.
  • Denim Needle CaseLooking for crafts from recycled materials? You're sure to love this eco-friendly and frugal craft idea. In fact, you can store all of your sewing essentials in this case, making organization a snap.

What is your favorite recycled material to craft with?

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