How to build a robot out of recyclable trash

Written by emilytrudeau
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How to build a robot out of recyclable trash
You can build a toy robot with recycled materials. (robot image by Paul Moore from

Craft making is important for kids in order to develop their creativity. For sci-fi fans, robots are a motivating inspiration, and can they can easily create them using all sorts of trash or recyclables that are already in your home. Focus on only a few body parts to make a simple robot to begin with, and then let the child go wild with his imagination to use smaller pieces of recycling to add complexity to the robot's design.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Recyclable trash such as old electronics parts, milk jugs, shiny objects and paper towel tubes
  • Hot glue gun
  • Hot glue

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  1. 1

    Make the body using a large square or rectangular object. This can be a milk jug, metal box, or something similar. Cut and remove excess parts away leaving just the square.

  2. 2

    Glue long tubular or skinny rectangular objects to the top corners of the body to create arms. Find similar but sturdy objects and glue them to the centre of the bottom edge of the body for legs. Use cassette tapes or other wide, flat objects as feet for the robot.

  3. 3

    Attach a head to the top of the body using hot glue. This can be round or square. Good options for robot head materials include tissue boxes or aluminium cans.

  4. 4

    Decorate the body to create buttons, knobs, screws and bolts, as well as body parts like eyes and ears. Use any small recyclable trash object such as bottle caps, straws, twist ties or old stripped screws and bolts.

Tips and warnings

  • If your robot's body is metal and closed on all sides, you may need stronger tools like a saw or drill to get through it to attach other body parts.
  • Cut three short slices around an edge of a paper towel tube and fold the tube over between the slices. This will create more surface area for gluing if necessary.
  • Hot glue guns should never be used by children. Keep the tip of the glue gun away from flammable surfaces, and unplug it when you are finished.
  • If using stronger tools such as saws and drills, do so in a proper locations wearing safety glasses and gloves.

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