Making plastic bottle animals the easy way

With summer comes the constant need to keep the kids entertained. Why not inspire their imaginations and teach recycling at the same time? These creative creatures are only a glimpse into a world you can build from used plastic containers, scraps of felt, craft foam, plastic spray paint and other assorted craft supplies. Young children will need adult supervision as some cutting and hot gluing is required. Once you start, you'll see possibilities everywhere you look!

Woodsy owl

This wise guy started life as an antacid bottle. Start by spraying the bottle with brown plastic spray paint, which covers and dries very quickly. Give him an expression with flattened bottle caps and googly eyes, then cut his wings and feet from scraps of felt and add a nose. This owl's nose is a knitting needle cap, but the tip from a glue or mustard bottle would work well, too.

Hello Dolly

This gal is reminiscent of the main character in the musical "Hello, Dolly!" Start with a hand soap dispenser for her body, then glue googly eyes to two pom-poms and add a piece of feather trim for hair. Wrap an extra-large pipe cleaner around her body for arms and add a piece of glittery fabric for her dress. Use nail polish to paint on lips, and she is ready for her debut!

Windy the dinosaur

A glass cleaner bottle was the inspiration for this fierce dinosaur. His hind legs are bleach tubes with votive candle tins for feet, and his front legs are lip balm tubes, all hot glued in place. Use a make-up tube or toothpaste tube for the tail. Paint the mouth red and tape it before spray painting his body green. Use googly eyes or buttons for eyes, and a piece of ribbon trim or rick rack for teeth.

Polly penguin

A dish soap bottle just screams "penguin!" Spray paint the bottle black, then cut out a white felt tummy, felt flippers and orange feet. Glue googly eyes and a knitting needle cap in place to complete his face. Use the cap from laundry soap for his hat. You'll need to cut the inside from the cap with a utility knife -- definitely a job for an adult. Wrap your penguin up with a seasonal neck scarf for the finishing touch.

Out of this world alien

A bottle of foaming dish soap was the inspiration for this alien character. Paint a wooden dowel end or ping pong ball and glue it to the spout for the head. Turn beads sideways to form eyes, using smaller white beads for pupils. String beads on pipe cleaners for arms and glue under the "shoulders" of the soap spout. Wrap his shoulders with pipe cleaners to create a cape. Complete the creepy look with ribbon glued from his eyes to his neck and lips painted with nail polish.


This rastaman is a large soap bottle, but many bottles have this basic shape. Start by spray painting the bottle the colour of your choice. To make the mouth, use the release ring from a milk bottle. (See, you can find uses for anything!) Glue on large googly eyes and make his hair out of stretchy bracelets from a package of party favours.

Penny poodle

This adorable pink poodle started out as an orange juice bottle. Make a large yarn pom-pom for her top knot for her head, and cut her ears from fake fur. Add a felt tongue, eyelashes and dog collar. Use a can for her neck, and trim the collar with rhinestones. She is such a princess, as most poodles are!

An ocean of fish

These fish are crafted from a variety of hand soap bottles. Spray paint the bottles in your choice of colours. Cut tails and fins from felt or craft foam and hot glue in place. Add eyes and a ring to hang them, and you have a school of fish that you never need to feed!

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About the Author

Debbie Williams studied design at the Kansas City Art Institute and has operated a graphic design and printing business for the last 17 years. She has been involved in various crafts including sewing, quilting, costuming, woodworking and various DIY all her life.