Before tossing your recyclables into the recycling bin, consider "upcycling" -- turning waste materials into new and useful items. Put your old paper, plastic and glass to good use in decorative crafts projects. You can reduce the stress on the environment while saving money on materials by transforming your trash into crafty treasures.
Old Shoe Flower Pots
Recycle your old shoes by turning them into plant and flower pots. Browse your closet for shoes that have not been worn in years. Shoes made from leather are a good bet, as they can be used as pots either inside or outside and won't be ruined by water. Poke holes in the bottoms of the shoes so your plants don't get over watered. Fill them with potting soil and plant whatever you desire.
Rather than recycling or throwing away cardboard boxes, use them for a kid-friendly craft project. Break down the boxes so they lie flat. Use a dark pen to draw flower outlines on the boxes, remembering to give each flower a long stem. Cut out your flowers and stick them in your garden. If you want your paper flowers to last, place them in an inside flower pot so they'll be protected from water. You could also colour your flowers with nontoxic paints or markers.
Plastic Bottle Candle Holders
Upcycle your old soda bottles by turning them into votive candle holders. After rinsing and drying a plastic bottle, cut off its top. Fill the bottom of the bottle with sand or pebbles, and place a votive candle inside.
Wine Bottle Vases
After enjoying a bottle of wine, use the empty bottle as a flower vase. For a bud vase, rinse out the bottle, fill it with water and place a freshly cut flower in the neck. For a vase that can accomodate a bouquet, you'll need to cut off the neck. Score the bottle with a glass cutting tool, heat the bottle around the score line with a candle or boiling water, and wait for the bottle to break apart. If you want to change the appearance of the bottle, remove all labels and paint it before filling it with flowers.
Wine Cork Earrings
Next time you open a couple of bottles of wine, save the corks and make a pair of earrings. Staple a key chain ring to the top of the corks and attach earring hooks to the ring. If you want to personalise your earrings, wrap a photograph around the cork and glue it on.
Bottle Cap Magnets
Collect bottle caps from your soda and beer bottles. Turn them into decorative magnets by gluing a small magnet to the inside of each bottle cap.
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