Monday, January 21, 2013

Finding Fun Recycled Craft Supplies

Many of us want to do crafts, either on our own or with children. But sometimes the necessary supplies can get expensive, and they are not always eco-friendly. Here are some ideas for craft supplies that are not only eco-friendly; they are inexpensive (even free!) too.

Look to Nature

Natural materials are wonderful for crafts. Whether you are weaving baskets, making wreaths, or building "log" cabins, nature provides all sorts of craft supplies. Here are some possibilities.

(Photo credit: Muffet)
* Evergreen branches can be cut and woven into wreaths - this is a great winter-time craft, and could even turn into a lucrative hobby if you find a market for your wreaths around the holidays!
* Pinecones and berries can be glued onto a circular frame to make a wreath (another good idea for those slow winter afternoons indoors).
* Strong, flexible plant fibers such as sea grass can be woven into baskets.
* Attractive branches can be made into picture frames.
* A handful of small, straight sticks can be used to build a log cabin or even a whole town.
* Pretty leaves can be pressed, dried, and used in decoupage.

Cardboard Tubes
Don't we all have those toilet paper and paper towel tubes in our recycling bins, or sitting out on our countertops? These readily-available tubes are good supplies for a variety of crafts, such as:

* Constellation-viewing telescope - fit of piece of aluminum foil over one end of the tube and secure with a rubber band. Punch holes in the foil in whatever design you like, then hold up the telescope to light and look into the non-foil end. Your design will look like stars.

* Hair clasps can be made from toilet paper tubes. You just cut the tube in half length-wise, decorate the convex side, then use a hot glue gun to adhere a plain hair clip to the undecorated, concave side.

* Varying sizes of tube can be painted a uniform color, and then glued vertically to a cardboard or wood base. This makes a good holder for pencils, paper clips, pens, etc.

English: A Papier-mâché project in progress.
A Papier-mâché project in progress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Newspaper can be used for more than just covering your workspace. Tear it into shreds to make papier mache. Or shred it, mix it with water, then press out the water through a screen to make your own recycled paper - a fun craft for kids!

Cereal Boxes

Some craft projects call for paper plates. But cutting circles out of used cereal boxes is more eco-friendly, and often yields a sturdier circle. Other uses for cereal box cardboard are:

* Fold square sheets of it into decorative boxes.
* Cut one corner off and make a stand-up magazine or paper holder.

Potatoes and Apples

Cut a potato in half and carve a design into the cut surface. Use as you would a rubber stamp. To make an apple stamp, cut the flesh away from the core, and then cut the core in half cross-wise. Use as a rubber stamp - it will make a star shape.

These fun ideas are great for making crafts with the kids on cold winter afternoons when they can't get outside to play. They can have a source of creative outlet, and you can teach them about how much fun it can be to find eco-friendly materials for their crafts - make it a fun activity for the whole family!
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