20+ Crafts To Make From Recycled Items
Here’s a bunch of crafty projects you can make using items you might normally toss (plastic milk jugs, ripped sheets, tin cans and more).
You’ll also find a bunch of ideas for repurposing old shower curtains at the bottom of the page along with links to larger collections for recycling old towels, t-shirts, sweaters and old jeans.
I’m just getting started with this collection and there is surely more to come, enjoy!
Plastic Bag Tote: (knitting) You’ll need a couple dozen plastic shopping bags, webbing and dungaree or bachelor buttons to whip this up.
Leather Journal Cover: Cut leather from old purses or jackets to transform an old journal.
Pretty Cans: These are covered with scraps of wallpaper and hook & loop tape.
Phone Case: An empty liquid soap tube that is large enough to hold your phone is cut and assembled into a case with elastic to close.
Woven Baskets: Made with strips cut from newspaper, magazine pages and junk mail.
Plant Hanger: Raid your fabric scraps stash or rip strips of old sheets to make this, you’ll just need 4 strips of fabric (2 yards long, 1″ wide) and a metal ring.
Clock Magnets: Salvage old watch parts to make these for your refrigerator or magnetic memo board.
Dryer Sheet Envelopes: Used dryer sheets are ironed (low setting) then stitched together to make a little envelope, velcro & button closure.
Chic Catch-All: Reclaim an old frame with printed fabric, beads and a little paint (if needed).
Kitschy String Holders: Vintage-inspired cuties that can put a glass jar or two to good use.
Also see these ideas for Seed Starting Pots (made with newspapers, plastic milk jugs, toilet paper rolls, etc.).
Ideas for old shower curtains: (first published January 19, 2007 and moved to this page for better organization) Before reusing these, first clean and de-grime in a tub filled with vinegar and water or bleach and water–soak for an hour or so then rinse well and hang to dry. If it can be laundered–just toss it in the washing machine.
- Cover table tops and floors for protection against messy crafts and other projects.
- Line mattresses underneath sheets and bedding for young children (to protect against bedwetting accidents).
- Bring along when camping to use as a tarp when it rains or floor mat at the entrance of tent or trailer.
- Use to recover the top of an old junk table, staple or tack neatly underneath and keep outside for a small gardening table. Spray down with a hose when needed, or let the rain take care of it.
- Use to line the floors and bottoms of hotspots that get grungy fast such as underneath the sink, garage & storage shed cupboards, mudroom shoe shelve storage–just shake out, throw in wash and put back in place. Nice not to have to scrub these areas!
- Cut out a poncho or sew a craft smock or apron for kids to do crafts and painting in, or make rain gear for camping trips.
- Cut and sew into travel garment bags (pattern & instructions found here (pdf)).
- Sew totebags, handbags or beachbags with shower curtain lining — great for hauling around wet items.
- Use as a tarp outdoors — cover lawn mowers, wood patio and outdoor furniture in off season–helps protect against the elements.
- Use as furniture drop cloths when painting & doing construction/remodeling work, for protecting furniture in storage or covering items in the garage for protection.
- Use to cover garden and flower beds in the spring & fall (frost warnings).
- Keep an old shower curtain in the car trunk to cover backseat or line trunk with when out buying bedding plants, garage sales, antiquing, and potentially dirty transports. Or cut into sheets that will cover your floor mats well. Keep in the trunk and whip them out on wet, muddy days to lay down on the interior car floor mats. Hose off when weather permits and dry before storing in trunk again.