20+ Crafts To Make From Recycled Items

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20 PlusHere’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!

themaryfrancesproject.blogspot.ca

themaryfrancesproject.blogspot.ca

Scalloped Cloths: Salvage ripped cotton sheets by making these washclothes (two layers thick) trimmed with colorful scalloped stitching.

Plastic Bag Tote: (knitting) You’ll need a couple dozen plastic shopping bags, webbing and dungaree or bachelor buttons to whip this up.

cocoknits.com

cocoknits.com

craftandcreativity.com

craftandcreativity.com

Yarn Wrapped Shoebox: Make a pretty storage box using some colorful yarn, decoupage glue (Mod Podge) and some patterned paper. (Details in English provided)

Leather Journal Cover: Cut leather from old purses or jackets to transform an old journal.

oregonlive.com

oregonlive.com

cynthiashaffer.typepad.com

cynthiashaffer.typepad.com

Tin Can Caddy: Cans in assorted sizes are covered with fabric and Mod Podge, arranged around a painted coffee can and attached with wire.

Pretty Cans: These are covered with scraps of wallpaper and hook & loop tape.

bhg.com

bhg.com

lovebugliving.com

lovebugliving.com

Sunglasses Holder: An empty plastic Crystal Light container is transformed with a bit of Mod Podge and pretty scrapbook paper.

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.

bywilma.com

bywilma.com

hawadaere.blogspot.ca

hawadaere.blogspot.ca

Furniture Socks: Protect floors from scratching by making little booties or socks using the ribbing from old socks.

Woven Baskets: Made with strips cut from newspaper, magazine pages and junk mail.

niftythriftythings.com

niftythriftythings.com

marthastewart.com

marthastewart.com

Piggy Bank: This is made with a 2-liter plastic bottle, egg carton, paper mache and a bit of acrylic paint.

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.

gleefulthings.com

gleefulthings.com

womansday.com

womansday.com

Cozy Throw: A good project to use up sweaters (can be made any size you like). More ideas for old sweaters found here.

Clock Magnets: Salvage old watch parts to make these for your refrigerator or magnetic memo board.

countryliving.com

countryliving.com

guardian.co.uk

guardian.co.uk

Make Slippers From Old Jeans: Includes a free pattern download. More denim projects are on this page.

Unpaper Towels (Reusable): Made with old towels and flannel. More ideas for old towels are found here.

cottontailbabies.org

cottontailbabies.org

familyfun.go.com

familyfun.go.com

Reusable Lunch Containers: Made from an empty plastic milk jug and secured in place with Velcro Dots.

Macrame Throw: Made with old t-shirts, more ideas found here.

relevedesign.com

relevedesign.com

kraftingwithk.blogspot.com

kraftingwithk.blogspot.com

Redneck Wine Glasses: Ha! These are made with mason jars attached to glass candlesticks with epoxy glue.

Dryer Sheet Envelopes: Used dryer sheets are ironed (low setting) then stitched together to make a little envelope, velcro & button closure.

sunnyvanilla.blogspot.ca

sunnyvanilla.blogspot.ca

thecrochetfoyer.blogspot.ca

thecrochetfoyer.blogspot.ca

Cutest Plarn Tote: (crochet) Made with strips cut from plastic grocery bags and decorative ribbon.

Chic Catch-All: Reclaim an old frame with printed fabric, beads and a little paint (if needed).

goodhousekeeping.com

goodhousekeeping.com

onekingslane.com

onekingslane.com

Vanity Vessels: Assorted glass vessels are cloaked in stocking fabric to bring a touch of femininity to the room.

Kitschy String Holders: Vintage-inspired cuties that can put a glass jar or two to good use.

handmadecharlotte.com

handmadecharlotte.com

Also see these ideas for Seed Starting Pots (made with newspapers, plastic milk jugs, toilet paper rolls, etc.).

Picture of Shower Curtain - Tipnut.comIdeas 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.

  1. Cover table tops and floors for protection against messy crafts and other projects.
  2. Line mattresses underneath sheets and bedding for young children (to protect against bedwetting accidents).
  3. Bring along when camping to use as a tarp when it rains or floor mat at the entrance of tent or trailer.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. Cut and sew into travel garment bags (pattern & instructions found here (pdf)).
  8. Sew totebags, handbags or beachbags with shower curtain lining — great for hauling around wet items.
  9. Use as a tarp outdoors — cover lawn mowers, wood patio and outdoor furniture in off season–helps protect against the elements.
  10. Use as furniture drop cloths when painting & doing construction/remodeling work, for protecting furniture in storage or covering items in the garage for protection.
  11. Use to cover garden and flower beds in the spring & fall (frost warnings).
  12. 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.

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Published: May 23, 2012
Updated: January 8, 2013

What Readers Are Saying:
8 Comments to “20+ Crafts To Make From Recycled Items”
  1. O. & B. says:

    Another fabulous week’s worth of tips. Thank you so much for these gems!

  2. Judy says:

    I use a shower curtain in one room for doggie accidents or when we are away from home and doggie can’t go with us (dentist or doctor appointments; when the weather is over 85 degrees in the car, etc.) I usually get a cheap curtain liner from Walmart when they go on sale and keep several handy. Also good for when you paint a room – spread curtain liner on the floor to catch drips and spills.

  3. Alla says:

    Best use ever…. I love garden swings. The sun canopy on such swings rots almost immediately in the Ozark climate.

    Solution? Shower curtain! An average shower curtain, with the “loop holes” end cut off, was easy to work with. I chose solids, obviously, since this is for a “sun shade”. All I did was use a big darning needle and heavy fishing line as my thread. I wrapped one long side around the front bar of the canopy support, stitched it, then pulled the curtain over the top of the frame and repeated on the back, trimming the excess. Sometimes I also stitch to the sides, but not always; I am lazy. I had originally wanted to do this with repurposed oil cloths, but yeah, try finding any. Then I thought about the cheapie plastic tablecloths… way too flimsy. Shower curtains are perfect!

    Great thing about this is, any cheapie mart or thrift store is gonna have shower curtains. If/when they rot off, they’re wayyyy cheaper than the actual replacement canopy. Plus… well, you know, all those patterns! all those pretties!

  4. Laura says:

    I enjoy your craft and recycling projects a great deal. You really put a lot of thought into them and present them in such a good way. Enjoy receiving my weekly Tipnut email. Keep up the good work!

  5. Val says:

    Starting to make Christmas presies and more fab ideas, thanks for a great site. Love your ideas and especially when I can re-cycle.

  6. Carolyn says:

    When my children started feeding themselves in a high chair, I used to put the chair on top of an inexpensive, solid colored shower curtain. It made the clean up a lot easier when they got “creative” with their food.

  7. Elisabeth says:

    I LOVE these patterns! I will definitely start on one of these… just don’t know where to start!

  8. Jessica says:

    I love your ideas, but here is one not on the list. You can always look at the cloth shower curtains, and there are many with many different patterns, choose one to match the decor in your home and make curtains and throw pillows. It works great and no one will ever no it was made with a shower curtain.


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