Give used household items a new lease on life

Make recycling fun with five family-friendly ideas

A little bit of know-how is all it takes to transform used household items – plastic bottles, tin cans and shopping bags – into cute craft projects with the kids:

DIY PENCIL HOLDERS

You will need:

  • empty cans, washed and dried, labels removed
  • metal paints
  • roll of patterned sticky tape
  • Scotchgard spray or glue
  • garden twine
  • paper clips, pegs and bulldog clips, to decorate
  1. Paint the outside of the cans. Leave to dry. Carefully stick a piece of patterned tape around the top.
  2. If using garden twine to decorate, spray each can with Scotchgard or brush with glue. Wrap the twine around the cans, adjusting each row so they are evenly spaced. Tuck the end of the twine inside the top row and secure in place with glue.
  3. Customise and fill with pencils or brushes.

TIP

Get creative with the pencil holders by customising the outside with pretty sticky tape, pegs, clips, labels and name tags.


GLASS PHOTO AND MEMORABILLIA JARS

You will need:

  • glass jars of various shapes and sizes, washed and dried
  • photographs of various sizes
  • nostalgic memorabilia (eg shells, certificates, medals, baby items and candles)
  • mini cupcake cases
  • mini clothes pegs
  • wire
  1. Remove the lids from the jars. Place a photograph and item of memorabilia into each jar.
  2. To decorate the jars with butterflies, fold 2 cupcake cases into quarters. Use a mini clothes peg to secure the point where the corners meet. Wind a 20cm piece of wire twice around the neck of a jar, then point the excess wire above the jar. Attach the butterfly and repeat the process.

BIRD FEEDER

You will need:

  • 1 empty 700g tomato ketchup bottle, washed and dried, label removed
  • craft knife or sharp-pointed skewer
  • 3 plastic or wooden spoons
  • 200g shelled peanuts
  • 200g pumpkin seeds
  • 200g sesame seeds
  • 200g sunflower seeds
  • wire or string
  1. Mark 3 spots on each side of the bottle at the top, middle and bottom.
  2. Carefully make incisions through each hole using the craft knife or skewer. (Each hole needs to be big enough to fit the width of a spoon handle.)
  3. Thread the spoons through the holes, ensuring each one is fitted securely.
  4. Make small incisions above the shallow bowl end of the spoons. (When a bird lands on the spoon, a small amount of food will fall out of the feeder and onto the spoons.)
  5. Using a funnel, layer the nuts and seeds in the bottle. Replace the lid.
  6. Secure wire or string around the base of the bottle. Turn the feeder upside down and hang on a tree or near the bird house.

CUSTOM-MADE BAG

You will need:

  • 1 Spinneys bag
  • 1 elastic band
  • 1 empty 2kg rice bag
  • 1 safety pin
  1. Cut the Spinneys bag into long thin strips. Fold each strip in half, then layer 3 on top of each other. Use an elastic band to tie the middle, then fan each strip out to make a flower. Attach to the bag with a safety pin.

TIP

To customise your bag, decorate with fabric paint or felt-tip pens, then use safety pins and glue to add odd ends of ribbon, fabric, coloured string and old buttons.

BIRD HOUSE


You will need:

  • 1 x empty 1-litre yogurt pot with handled lid
  • waterproof tape
  • straw
  • craft knife or scissors
  • screwdriver
  • old coloured pencils
  • wire or string (optional)
  1. Cover the yogurt pot in waterproof tape. Fill the inside with straw, then place the lids on top.
  2. Draw a bird-sized circle on one side of the pot. Make an incision in the circle using a craft knife or scissors. Continue to cut out the door.
  3. For the bird perch, use the screwdriver to make a hole just big enough to fit a pencil directly underneath the door. Insert a pencil so about three-quarters sticks out.
  4. Customise the bird house with creative drawings and designs, if you like. Hang by the handle on a branch, using extra wire or string if needed, or place on a high wall.