How to Make Animal Sculptures From Recycled Materials

Don't throw out your glass jars or your plastic bottles. And, don't throw them into the recycling bin either. Bottles and jars are perfect materials for animal sculptures. Add a bit of whimsy to home decor with brightly coloured sculptures of elephants, cats, rabbits or any other animal you feel like creating. The animal sculptures made from recycled materials can also be fun presents for birthdays and holidays. Get ready to gather recycled items from around your house and put them together to make your own menagerie.

Find scraps of fabric large enough to cover the lid of your jar. The fabric will become the face of your animal.

Use your hot glue gun to outline the edge of the lid. Squiggle some hot glue over the top of the lid then lay it upside down on top of the fabric.

Hold the fabric onto the lid around the edges until the hot glue dries and the fabric adheres to the lid.

Cut different fabric shapes for ears and body parts such as trunks or tongues. Use fabric glue or the glue gun to fasten them onto your lid.

Choose different colours and sizes of bottle tops for eyes or for the mouth depending on the size of your jar and its lid. You could also use old buttons for these features.

Glue cut pieces of old string onto your animal for whiskers. Using the hot glue gun, you could even add a tail.

Add other facial features with fabric markers if desired.

Decide which kind of animal you would like to make. Colour the recycled paper to look like the body of the animal you choose unless you decide to do a fluffy animal such as a rabbit or a sheep in which case you will use the recycled cotton or packaging peanuts.

Spread glue over your plastic bottle using your paintbrush. You might want to place your bottle in an upright position as you apply the glue.

Press your colour paper around the glued bottle. Keep wrapping your hands around the paper until the glue dries enough so the paper adheres to the bottle.

Stick cotton balls or packaging peanuts on the glue if you are making a fluffy animal. If it doesn't stick on the glue, try using a hot glue gun.

Paint your animal's face onto a plastic lid or make a face using the cardboard cereal box. Add ears and whiskers as desired using scrap paper and old string.

Set the bottle on its side and glue the face onto the bottom end of the bottle. Let dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean glass bottles with lids
  • Material scraps of various sizes
  • Craft glue
  • Paintbrush for glue
  • Scissors
  • Old string
  • Old buttons
  • Bottle tops of various sizes (hot sauce lids or soda bottle lids)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Recycled paper
  • Clean plastic water or soda bottles
  • Plastic lids
  • Old cotton or packaging peanuts
  • Old cereal boxes
  • Fabric markers (optional)
  • Paint (optional)
  • Crayons or markers (optional)
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About the Author

Antonette Ellertson, a freelance writer from Western New York, has a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education. She has worked as a freelance writer for more than a decade, specializing in media. She is a contributor to numerous magazines including "Maitland Primrose," "Highlights for Children" and "The Writer" and is managing editor for a large, non-profit organization.