14 Recycled Crafts That Will Help You Go Zero-Waste
When it comes to craft projects, we like to think that nothing is off-limits—including scraps. From orphan buttons and leftover yarn to empty jars and swatches of fabric, there are plenty of ways to recycle odds and ends around the house and turn them into brand-new items. Not only do these zero-waste crafts help clear up the clutter in your junk drawer and craft bins, but they also help keep it from accumulating in landfills. Even better, many of these projects make great heartfelt gifts or eye-catching present embellishments, so you can't save money instead of shelling out to buy new ones. Talk about a win-win-win!
Of course, recycling certain materials like paper and empty jars is certainly one way to be a bit more eco-friendly. However, finding a way to reuse these items by giving them a second (or even third) life takes your sustainability to the next level. If you need inspiration for crafting with paper, we have fun and simple ideas from paper flowers and hand-sewn books to lanterns and wall art. We've even got enough ideas to help inspire little ones to craft. And for those empty glass jars? Try turning them into beautiful containers for your pantry, planters for windowsill herbs, or sweet little containers for homemade gift-worthy treats like granola or jam.
However you decide to use your recycled materials, remember that when it comes to unleashing your creativity by recycling, reusing, and repurposing can be some of your handiest crafting tools—and we're willing to bet that Mother Nature would agree.
Here's an idea for repurposing old glassless frames: turn them into an artistic display. With a few coats of paint, you can instantly transform a mixed assortment of frame sizes and styles into one cohesive set.
As for those orphan buttons in your sewing collection, why not stitch them on a card for a charming three-dimensional embellishment? Get inspired with our templates, or get creative with your own ideas.
Now here's a sewing project we can get behind: transform fabric cast-offs and sewing project remnants into a cozy patchwork blanket. We opted for assorted menswear fabrics in wool, flannel, and corduroy, but feel free to use whatever similarly-weighted fabrics you have on hand.
Homemade Marble Crayons
Did you know that you can melt down broken crayons into a brand new set? With this easy project, they bake in the oven and become a marvelous marbleized collection of colors! Grown-ups can handle the cutting, while kids assist with sorting the colors and filling the molds.
Try this creative trick for using up the leftover wax in your nearly-finished candles: melt them down into a new set of charming teacup lights. Plus, it's the perfect way to put your antique cup collection to use.
Have a surplus amount of wallpaper left post-renovating? Craft the swatches into cute stationery and one-of-a-kind notecards that anyone would be delighted to receive.
Perfect for decorating wrapping paper and cards or for keeping kids busy, these cork stamps are a great way to repurpose the little bottle stoppers.
Give leftover yarn a second life as a pair (or dozens) of peppy pom-poms. This project can be done in a pinch and can use any kind of yarn. Plus, the pom-poms made adorable adornments for a pair of sneakers or as soft little critters. For every size and shape of pom-pom, there are endless ideas to use them.
With the help of our template and a few basic sewing supplies, you can turn fabric scraps into pretty pansies for brooches, pins, gift-toppers, or just because.
Those kitchen scraps? Before you cast them to the composting bin, boil them in a dye bath to achieve richly colored, beautiful eggs. In fact, you can use natural dyes to color all kinds of items: fabric, wooden beads, and other odds and ends.
Brighten a set of ordinary pillar candles with this secret coloring ingredient: crayon shavings! A slow-cooker or double broiler helps to melt beeswax beads so that you can dip and dye to your heart's content.
Here's a great (kid-friendly) way to repurpose leftover or discarded fabric, either from old printed sheets to a favorite shirt that shrunk in the wash: wrap fabric strips around a wooden bangle for some eco-friendly fashion accessories.
With just three materials and four simple steps, you can transform a spool of thread into a sweet tassel. Craft a handful to accent everything from pillows and curtains to a purse handbag or zipper pull.
Sewing Kit in a Jar
There are so many ways to repurpose old jars, including this handy portable sewing kit. Say goodbye to lost pins, spools, and thimbles.