Have you ever considered upcycling your plastic trash into something cool, fun, or even tacky? If not, then you probably need a little motivation. I’m not talking about a “save the planet” lecture. Of course you already know about the tons of plastic sitting in our local landfills. I’m simply suggesting a few easy projects. Here are a few of my crafty, upcycled plastic ideas to help you get started.
The materials you use will vary; but since you’re using plastic trash, the cost will be minimal. Just remember to think “upcycle” whenever a pretty plastic container comes your way. Get your children to help. Your teen will enjoy making eco-friendly jewelry, and your little ones will want to help you decorate the bird feeder.
Tools for all three projects
- Jewelry maker’s pliers, wire cutters, and round nose pliers
- Large scissors
- Paper punch
- Black marker
Materials for jewelry
- One sheet of card-stock
- Colorful empty plastic bottles, old credit or gift cards
- Jewelry findings and trim. (You can make your own with 20 gauge wire.)
Creating jewelry from plastic containers
If you’re into stone and sterling jewelry exclusively, that may end when your friends compliment you on your new crafty, Earth conscious creations. You’ll be proud to say, “I made it myself.
-Soak your plastic containers in water to remove the labels.
-Create card-stock templates in the right sizes and shapes for your jewelry designs: hearts, stars, circles, etc.
-Peel off the labels, dry your pieces, then cut them into large flat sections.
-Use templates and a marker to draw shapes onto your plastic pieces.
-Cut shapes out with scissors.
-Mark a spot to punch the holes you need for jump rings, figure 8s or ear wires.
-Use your hole punch to create the holes.
-Create lots of plastic pieces to mix and match colors and shapes.
-Connect or layer pieces together.
-Add creative wire pieces and ear wires. See the article “Create Wire Details to Enhance Your Favorite Craft Projects ” for tips and techniques on making wire trim.
– See the article “How to Create Green Jewelry…” for upcycled jewelry-making techniques.
Make earrings from plastic cards
For a plastic variation, upcycle your old credit, debit or store gift cards. Use scissors– or a paper cutter if you have one– to cut your cards into neat rectangles. Punch holes in them, add beads, trim and ear wires to finish them.
Make a bracelet
For a colorful bracelet, use jump rings to dangle plastic pieces from a chain. See the article “Make a Handcrafted Bracelet with Colorful, Quirky Green Style” for instructions
Create a juice bottle bird feeder
- Large plastic juice bottle.
- E-600 glue (It can glue anything to anything.)
- Clear plastic plates from a dollar store. (for the bird feeder project)
My grandson loves watching the beautiful birds that visit our back yard each day. My daughter bought bird seed to feed them, so I decided to make a feeder to put it in. I did it simply, with a plastic lemonade bottle. My version is designed to sit on a table, a porch, or even the ground.
-Peel the label from a large sized plastic juice bottle.
-Draw and cut out two openings at the bottom edge on opposite sides.
-For less bird seed spillage, make your holes smaller than mine (see photo #3).
-Glue the bottle to the center of a clear plastic plate.
-Use acrylic craft paint to the paint the area of residue left behind when you removed the label.
-Once the paint dries, use E 6000 to g lue the bottle to the center of a clear plastic plate
-For additional color, add colorful stickers once the paint dries.
-Fill the bottle with seed and and place it in the yard for the birds.
Make a tacky plastic wreath
If you’re old enough, you probably remember making plastic wreaths when you were a kid. It was the perfect project for keeping children busy on a cold day. You’ll need a wire coat hanger and a bunch of the plastic dry cleaner bags.
You simply make a wire hoop with your hanger, cut up your plastic into strips, and add them to your hoop one at a time. For details, see, “How to Make a Tacky Plastic Homemade Christmas Wreath. ” Yes, it’s a Christmas decoration, but it might take you a whole year to make it; so get started.