How to Make a Useful Object out of Recycled Materials

Written by michelle barry
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How to Make a Useful Object out of Recycled Materials
A reused container can help keep your kitchen items organised and easy to find. (lemons in a container image by MAXFX from

Recycling is not only a positive action for the environment, but it can also help lead to a better-organised house and simultaneously, reduce your spending. Avoid purchasing items that can be made at home by transforming items that would have otherwise gone into the trash. Not only will you create unique items that can be both functional and beautiful, but you will also receive credit for "going green" in your own home.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Scrap paper/comic strips
  • Takeout containers
  • Broken dishes
  • Craft glue
  • Sand paper
  • Containers
  • Glass bottles
  • Hot glue gun
  • Necklace loop
  • Chain
  • Glass paint
  • Paint brush

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  1. 1

    Save colourful paper, from the Sunday comic strips that are usually printed in colourful graphics and cartoons to magazine advertisements to flyers and mailers on brightly coloured paper, and utilise them in your holiday wrapping. If there is some text on the pages this can add to the typographic art quality as well as the interest of the piece. Cut out large words as well, such as "Sparkle" or "Joy" to coordinate with the event you are wrapping for.

  2. 2

    Cut the paper into different shapes and sizes and tape the pieces together to form a mosaic-looking wrapping paper. Mosaics are typically composed as colourful, small tiles assembled together to form a vibrant collage. Use the assembled paper to wrap holiday or birthday gifts.

  3. 3

    Wash plastic carry-out containers from restaurants or takeout orders. Use only those made of sturdy plastic with a snap-on cover. Re-use the containers as a way to store leftovers or transport a homemade lunch to work or school. Styrofoam containers should not be reused.

  4. 4

    Cover the edges of broken dishes with glue, or sand down the sharp edges with sandpaper. Choose a piece of a dish that is colourful or has a pattern on it so it is aesthetically pleasing. Use a smaller piece, such as one that is approximately an inch tall and/or wide. Attach a necklace loop to the piece with a hot glue gun and string it on a chain or ribbon as an artsy necklace instead of tossing a broken dish into the trash.

  5. 5

    Wipe out any old tubular containers, such as the kind that holds oatmeal, with a paper towel to empty it of any lingering oats. Fill the container with dry kitchen items such as flour, sugar or coffee grounds.

  6. 6

    Wash and dry glass bottles, such as the kind individual beverages are sold in and peel off any labels. Use the glass bottles as vases. You could also fill the bottles with pebbles, sand or gemstones and beads as a stylish addition to your home decor. Use a glass paint to decorate the glasses or leave plain so the contents of the bottle can be seen, depending on your preference or intended use.

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