Ocean Crafts With Recycled Materials

Written by debra pachucki
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Ocean Crafts With Recycled Materials
Let the ocean's vast beauty inspire crafts using recycled objects. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The ocean is a mysterious and intriguing place to children and grown-ups alike. Sadly, Earth's waters are often polluted with recyclable materials that end up in the oceans and on shores around the world. Help reduce water pollution in an enjoyable way by celebrating, recreating and exploring the wonders of the sea in an eco-friendly way with ocean crafts that use recyclable materials.

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Ocean Motion Bottle

Ocean motion bottles are a fun and educational craft for children learning about the effects of waves in the ocean. For this craft, you will need a clean, clear plastic soda bottle, water, vegetable oil, sand, small sea shells and blue food colouring. Pour a handful or two of sand into the bottle. Fill the soda bottle about 2/3 of the way with water, and add a drop or two of blue food colouring to the bottle to turn the water blue. Add small seashells to the bottle. Pour vegetable oil into the bottle until it is almost full, leaving a few inches of space at the top of the bottle. Cap the bottle, turn it on its side, and watch how the waves move back and forth, splashing around the shells and stirring up sand from the bottom.

Shoebox Beachscape

Instead of throwing away old, cardboard shoe boxes or keeping them for storage, use shoe boxes to make dioramas and beachscapes. Paint the inside of the shoebox with blue and white paint to resemble the sky and clouds. Cut a piece of blue construction paper in half, and use the scissors to cut a curvy or pointed pattern along the top of one half. Glue into the bottom of the shoebox to make ocean waves in the background. Sit the shoebox on its side in its lid, creating a shallow holder, and fill with a layer of sand. Populate the box with seashells, miniature beach chairs and umbrellas, plastic fish bowl accessories or other small items to recreate a small-scale, 3-D beach environment.

Papier Mache Sharks

When newspapers pile up, use them to create papier mache ocean crafts. Create a simple paste by mixing flour and water together to achieve a consistency similar to school glue. Crumple up, bend and fold a few sheets of newspaper to loosely resemble an oval or football shape, taping folds and newspaper pieces together, if necessary. Next, cut out one large and four small triangles from an old shoebox or other piece of cardboard. Cut a small slit into the top of the oval shape, and place the bottom edge of the large triangle inside the slit to form the fin, gluing or shaping in place. Make slits and place the remaining four triangles at the sides and tail end of the oval, forming pectoral fins and the fish's tail. Now, dip strips of newspaper into the paste, and cover the entire shark body, slightly layering and overlapping strips. Allow to dry overnight, and then paint the sculpture to resemble a shark with white, grey and black paint. Cut out a small "V" shape at the mouth end of the shark, and glue shark teeth, broken shells, or small cardboard triangles into the cut-out portion to form the shark's teeth.

Sea Glass Mosaics

Place different-coloured glass bottles into a thick pillowcase or sack, and use a hammer to carefully break glass into small pieces. Wearing thick gloves, remove the broken pieces from the sack and place into a shallow bowl or dish. Cut out the bottom panel of an old shoebox. Carefully arrange glass pieces onto the cardboard square to create an ocean portrait, seashell design or marine life image. Glue the pieces onto the cardboard, and display in a wide frame or shadowbox.

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