If you’re looking for some fun crafts to do, skip the trip to the perennially pricey art store and try using items you can find around the house to make something new. Sure, you can throw an empty milk jug into the recycling bin, but why not poke holes in the cap and use it as a watering can for your garden?
When you find new ways to use things you otherwise might have thrown away, you’re keeping valuable materials out of landfills and reducing your consumption of new items, both of which are great for the environment. You’ll also save by turning trash into treasure — going green will often save you some green as well!
Ready to get started on some eco-friendly craft projects that get you to reuse things you thought were done for? Try these eight incredibly easy hacks made from common household items to boost your sustainability cred and get your creative juices flowing:
Pot Shard Plant Markers
Every gardener who has been digging in the dirt for longer than a season or two has broken a pot or a planter. You’ll never get it glued back together again, but you can pick up the pieces and use them to label your seedlings in the garden. Simply grab a Sharpie and use your best handwriting to print the name of your plant or herb near the top of your piece; then plunge the bottom half into the Earth. This works best if you use the flat band at the top of the pot for your writing area, but feel free to get creative with your broken pieces. Clay or ceramic pots are designed to stand up to all kinds of weather, so you’ll get years of additional use out of your broken pots.
Kitchen Table Wall Desk
An old table with a damaged leg or missing leaf can still be put it to good use as a wall desk. This project requires some basic tools to complete: a tape measure, pencil, saw, sandpaper, paint, and some drywall screws and anchors. Measure your table and draw a straight line where you’d like to cut the table in half, making sure you have two legs left over. Once you cut through the table with the saw, sand the rough edges smooth and refinish the table with a nice coat of paint. Once it’s dry, place the cut end of the table against the wall for a decorative wall desk or console table. For added stability, use drywall screws to anchor the table to the wall.
Broken Jewelry Magnets
Costume jewelry can be just as beautiful as the real deal, but sometimes it falls apart. When a favorite necklace or bracelet has seen better days, save the gems and turn them into decorative magnets to organize your refrigerator art or home office notes. All you need to do is buy some plain, round magnets from the nearest craft store and use a dab of hot glue to attach your old jewels. This is one of the easiest crafts around, and you can make a matching set of magnets to give as a gift for friends or family without breaking the bank.
Wine Glass Garden Lights
If you’ve ever accidentally broken the stem of one of your wine glasses — or martini glasses, or margarita glasses, for that matter — you don’t have to toss it out. As long as the bowl is still intact, use the jagged stem end as a stake to press into the soil of your garden pots or flower borders. Pop in a tea light, and you have a handy hurricane cover for outdoor candles, which will make your next picnic or cookout a little more magical. This project is so easy you might find yourself looking for cheap stemware at garage sales just so you can break them and light up your outdoor retreat.
Garden Rake Utensil Organizer
A broken garden rake doesn’t automatically have to end up in the trash. Instead, remove the screw that holds the metal portion of the rake to the remainder of the wooden handle and slide it out. Clean up the metal and hang it from the wall with the tines facing out. You can use each tine to hold any utensil or tool that has a hole in the handle. It works in the kitchen or workshop, and it’s an especially cute idea for organizing the rest of your garden tools. You can also use it to hold your as-yet-unbroken wine glasses for a unique homemade bar.
Book Shelves Made Of Books
Some old books have beautiful bindings. Turn attractive books that you have no intention of reading again into literal book shelves to hold lightweight, decorative objects while being a conversation piece in their own right. To make the shelves, use one small and two large L-brackets for each decorative book you’d like to use. Screw the large brackets into the wall so that they hold the bottom of the book; place the small one upside down over the center of the book so that you can slide the book in place between them for stability.
Clothespin Spring Jewelry
You know those old clothespins that you can squeeze together to use as a handy clip? You can also use those springs to display a single stunning bead for a unique homemade necklace or charm bracelet. To make your DIY bead holder, pry apart a clothespin and remove the spring. Take the wide end and gently pull apart the two wires, sliding a large bead between the prongs. When you let go, the prongs will enter each side of the bead and hold it in place. Now you can use your charm by stringing it onto a necklace chain through the coiled portion of the spring. It’s also possible to use these for earrings or bracelets, and you can string several together for a stunning creation.
Remember when your kids loved coloring books and crayons? Newly-minted teenagers might enjoy turning them into wild colors of lipstick. To make the lipstick, you’ll need a crayon, coconut oil and empty plastic bottle caps from old water bottles. Use a knife to cut the crayons into one-inch pieces; then melt one piece of crayon with a half-inch of coconut oil over a double boiler. Stir together and pour the mixture into a bottle cap. Once it’s cool, you can swirl some on your finger and apply the color to your lips. These are great for crazy novelty colors and Halloween costumes!
Once you start making crafts with old items you might have otherwise thrown away, you’ll never see the things in your recycling bin the same way again. With a little imagination, you’ll be able to re-purpose all sorts of items to make environmentally friendly crafts and useful hacks around the home. What will you think of next? It’s all up to you, so get inspired and make something great!