Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Mega List of the 75+ Best Earth Day Crafts to Make with Recycled Materials

earth day recycled craft project ideas - plant markers from can lids, unicorn succulent planter from empty jar, ladybugs from egg cartons

Earth Day is a great time to do activities or recycled crafts with your kids to teach them about the importance of preserving this beautiful planet that we live on. 

One of the big messages I want everyone to understand is that we have to be responsible for our garbage. 

Spend some time reading about the [not so] Great Pacific Garbage Patch if you aren't already familiar with the problem.

When humans don't responsibly take care of their garbage, it often ends up in the ocean -- poisoning the water and sea life -- and because everything is connected, eventually us.


Looking for more information about recycling?


Check out my article: 10 Things You Didn't Know You Can Recycle

Want to make recycled crafts? Check out the projects below to explore the 100+ different upcycled craft projects from Creative Green Living


Instead of sending your garbage or even recyclables away to a landfill or a recycling plant, consider reusing what was once trash into something awesome and beautiful! 

These crafts use recycled materials that might otherwise be discarded but are given new life in a useful way. 

Every water bottle, can, and plastic bag you reuse is one less water bottle, can or plastic bag that has the potential to end up in the ocean!

Earth Day Activities: Best Recycled Crafts to Make

Get a mega list of the best earth day crafts for kids and adults to make from recycled materials. These clever DIY ideas teach you how to turn trash and recyclables like wine corks, tin cans, egg cartons, cardboard, old cloths, glass jars and plastic bottles and turn them into fun and impressive crafts. Each of these projects is an easy way to teach about upcycling and turning garbage into clever, useful projects instead! #earthday #recycledcrafts #upcycling #upcycledcrafts

Recycled Tin Can Crafts

Try one of these clever and beautiful projects you can make with empty tin cans. 

Each of these clever recycled craft ideas will help you give new life to your can instead of turning it into another piece of waste (YES, it is waste, even if you are "recycling" it).


crafts you can do with metal cans
Galaxy Painted Pen Holder
from Creative Green Living

Learn how to do a galaxy painting technique with this recycled craft that turns an empty metal can into a pretty desk organizer.


How to make garden markers from can lids
Stamped Garden Markers from Can Lids
from Creative Green Living

Using a clean edge can opener lets you reused the can lids to make all kinds of great things - including these plant markers that you can use in your garden!


Recycled can rainbow windchime recycled craft for Earth Day
Rainbow Windchime from Recycled Cans
from Creative Green Living

Turn empty cans in various sizes into this fun rainbow garden craft.

crafts you can make with recycled cans
Burlap and Lace Succulent Planters
from Creative Green Living

Turn your humble metal cans into a beautiful rustic-chic succulent planter with the help of burlap and rustic lace.

punched tin can luminary craft
Punched Tin Can Lanterns
from My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia

Easier than the traditional nail-punch style tin can lanterns, these cast a pretty light both indoors and out.


Recycle can craft idea- how to make a mason bee house.
Make a Mason Bee House from Recycled Can
from Turning the Clock Back

Even if you don't live west of the Rocky Mountains (where mason bees live), you can make a house like this for your local pollinators. 

As the daughter of mason bee farmers, though, I feel obligated to tell you that the reeds aren't a great idea for mason bees. Make the house just like this but instead of reeds, use mason bee straws - which you can get on Amazon with this referral link or by contacting Fat Dog Farms.

PRO TIP: Bees are more likely to visit your bee house if you mount it on an east or south facing wall or fence rather than hang it from a tree.

Tin Can Windchime Garden Art
from Happy Mrs. C

I love that this project repurposes all kinds of kitchen odds and ends like silverware and salt and pepper shakers.


How to turn empty tin cans into a cool recycled craft
Decoupage Tin Can Planters
from The Crafted Sparrow

I love the fresh look that this pretty print lends to the succulent planters here!


How to turn empty tin cans into an organizer
Recycled Tin Can Organizer
from Biana Barreto for Goods Home Design

Turn your empty tin cans and some scrap wood into a cute organizer! This is perfect for organizing silverware for a picnic or craft supplies as shown in the picture.


how to make a planter from a tin can
Tin Can Planter
from The Crafted Sparrow

This is another take on the tin-can-turned-into-a-planter idea. I love how there are so many ways to make recycled cans into plant pots!


Recycled tun can crafts
Swing Out Storage Tower from Tuna Cans
from Instructables

I love this clever tuna can craft makeover. This project is really transformational and gives the cans both a functional purpose and beautiful design!



Recycled Egg Carton Crafts

If your family eats a lot of eggs (and you don't have your own chickens at home), it's easy to end up with a lot of egg cartons!

To help reduce egg carton waste, step one is to choose the most sustainable egg cartons possible. This means you should purchase eggs in cardboard or other compostable types of containers.

Next, try to reuse or repurpose your containers are much as possible. 

If you have a friend who keeps chickens, they are often happy to take your empty egg cartons from you - just ask!

No friend keeping chickens? Try one of these recycled egg carton crafts instead!

recycled egg carton craft idea - make egg cartons into ladybugs
Recycled Egg Carton Ladybugs
from Creative Green Living

This cute and simple project is fun to do with your kids! If you make a lot of them, you can even use them to play a game 

(the linked post has a video of my oldest when he was four years old showing you how to play "the ladybug game" that he invented)


make monsters and sea creatures from recycled egg carton
Recycled Egg Carton Monsters
from Creative Green Living

Give your kids a chance to get creative! Cut the cups off an egg cartons and then give them glue, paint and other art supplies to let their imaginations run wild!

Turn empty egg carton into a fun little DIY project for kids
Recycled Egg Carton Caterpillar
from Creative Green Living

Turn your empty egg cartons into friendly little caterpillars. This is another fun project for kids - they will love personalizing their caterpillar and making it all their own.



How to use egg cartons to start seeds for your garden indoors
Egg Carton Seed Starter Trays
from The Kitchen Garten

Egg cartons make great containers for starting seeds before moving them outdoors! 

Love gardening? Check out more gardening posts on Creative Green Living!


DIY Egg Carton Lamp
from A Pretty Life in the Suburbs

I am so impressed with this clever lamp made from recycled egg cartons! This is a great way to use up lots of egg cartons and it's super fun!

Best egg carton recycled craft idea - how to turn empty cardboard egg cartons into flowers to surround a mirror
Egg Carton Rose Mirror
from Bliss Bloom Blog

These beautiful roses are actually made from egg cartons! Surprise!
Be sure to click the link above to learn how to turn your used egg cartons into a really clever craft like this rose framed mirror.


How to Make a Mermaid Doll from Egg Cartons
from Art Camp

I love the idea of turning our trash into clever toys for our children. This blog post on Art Camp LA even gives you the option to download mermaid body templates to make it even easier to make this craft.


How to make a statement wall art piece from recycled egg cartons
Boho Inspired Wall Hanging
from Craftaholics Anonymous

Turn your empty egg cartons into pretty flowers with this boho-inspired craft tutorial


How to transport mini cupcakes without smashing them
Egg Carton into Mini Cupcake Holder
from Baked by Rachel
I love this clever way to reuse egg cartons - use them to transport mini cupcakes without smooshing the frosting! Click the link to get all the details!


Ways kids can reuse egg cartons
Easy Kids Art Project with Egg Cartons
from Mod Podge Rocks

This is a fun way or kids to upcycle their egg cartons and end up with a pretty wall art piece at the end!





Recycled Wine Cork Crafts

Cork is generally considered a renewable resource since cork comes from tree bark that can regenerate.

When you have leftover corks from wine bottles, though, instead of just trashing them or even composting them (yes! You can compost cork!), make one of these cool DIY projects or home decor crafts instead!

Save and use leftover wine corks to make a beautiful functional bulletin board
How to Recycle Used Wine Corks into a Rustic Bulletin Board
from Creative Green Living

Do you drink wine and have corks leftover? Why not up your recycle game and make this beautiful wine cork bulletin board!


These glittery wine cork ornaments are a great DIY ornaments for any tree
Wine Cork Sled Ornament
from Creative Green Living

These sparkly upcycled wine cork ornaments are a great small gift or a great addition to your beautiful wrapping job.

Succulent recycled cork magnets can help even those who can't normally grow a plant
Wine Cork Succulent Planter Magnets
from The Decorated Cookie

These cute and colorful wine cork succulent planter magnets make your refrigerator way more charming. Even not-so-green thumbs can easily makes these.


These unique trivets are easy to make and a great way to use up all of your corks!
Easy DIY Cork Trivet
from Reuse Grow Enjoy

These super handy trivets are a unique way to reuse all of your corks and beautiful your table.

DIY homemade bath mat is a great way to upcycle or recycle wine corks
How to Make a DIY Wine Cork Bath Mat
from Sustain my Craft Habit

This do-it-yourself cork bathmat is a great addition to any farmhouse or beach decor and a great way to recycle wine corks.


These adorable wine stoppers are a cute DIY gift that takes 15 minutes to make
Wine Stoppers: an Easy DIY Gift Idea
from Nourish and Nestle

These wine stoppers take 15 minutes to make…start to finish.  The hardest part will be having to drink all the wine for the corks…now just be responsible!


This star is an easy to make craft and a great way to recycle your corks from your wine bottles
Sparkling Star Decor
from Sustain my Craft Habit

This beautiful and easy craft is perfect to sit on your mantle or on a bookcase. It is beautiful all year round.


These cute butterflies are made with six items and are quick and easy DIY project
DIY Cork Butterfly Craft
from The Inspiration Edit

This easy project only uses six items to make and is such a cute way to reuse your old wine bottle corks.

Tutorial on how to upcyle containers and corks for these cute centerpieces
DIY Wedding Centerpieces made from Upcycled Corks
from Upcycle my Stuff

This tutorial is all about how to use upcycled containers and corks to create two types of DIY Wedding Centrepieces on a budget.


Basil plant marker made out of a recycled wine cork
Super Easy Plant Markers from Wine Corks
from Shine Our Light

This super simple wine cork craft is easy for anyone to make and will help you make sure you can identify what you have planted!


Cute DIY kitchen utensil holder craft made out of wine corks
DIY Kitchen Utensil Holder
from A Magical Mess

This super cute kitchen utensil holder will keep your most used kitchen tools on hand in style. Get the tutorial from A Magical Mess.

Wine cork wall art
Upcycled Ombre Home State Art
from Brit & Co

Turn leftover corks into a unique wall piece featuring leftover wine corks. You can even get free printable state templates to use as your base in the tutorial!



Recycled Cardboard Crafts

Cardboard is easily recyclable in most communities. The different structures of cardboard make it ideal for all kinds of cool crafts, though!

Before sending your cardboard recycling away, try one of these fun cardboard project ideas.

DIY cereal box envelope and tutorial
How to Make an Envelope for a Card from an Upcycled Cereal Box
from Creative Green Living

You can learn how to make an envelope that's just the right size for a card with any paper board (or lightweight cardboard) food box.

These straw charms work great on paper and reuseable straws too easy craft for kids
Ceareal Box Straw Charms
from The Decorated Cookie

These straw charms are great for parties or for any day. These are easy to make and would work great on paper or reusable straws too!

What a better way to upcycle than recycle your cardboard for easy DIY  storage
3 Ways to Upcycle Cardboard Boxes for Storage
from Creative Ramblings

This is an easy project that will help you upcycle your cardboard boxes and create great storage options for your home.


This cute kitchen is great for young kids to use their imagination
DIY Cardboard Kids Play Kitchen
from Vikalpah

This great play kitchen keeps kids engaged and allows for imagination to run free.


This cereal box aquarium is so much fun to make and a great way to recycle your empty cereal boxes!
Cereal Box Aquarium
from The Best Ideas for Kids

This cereal box aquarium is so much fun to make and a great way to recycle your empty cereal boxes!

 get photos off your phone and display them with upcycled cardboard
How to Upcycle Cardboard into a DIY Photo Display Board
from Upcycle my Stuff

This is a great way to get photos off your phone and display them! Also, a way to upcycle cardboard that would make a great gift or home decor item for your home.

This cute DIY cardboard sunflower has the look of the corrugated metal and is a great reuse project.
DIY Cardboard Sunflower
from Salvage Sister & Mister

This cute DIY cardboard sunflower has the look of the corrugated metal and is a great reuse project. 


Crafts Made From Old Clothing
including recycled t-shirt crafts and recycled crafts from jeans

Thinking of sending your worn out t-shirts and jeans off to the local thrift store? Think again!

Unless they are a name brand or in impeccable condition, clothes that are donated often don't end up finding a second owner.

If you have worn-out jeans or t-shirts, there are lots of cool ways to give them life again as one of these cool craft projects!

how to make a farm girl apron out of recycled jeans tutorial
from Creative Green Living

This adorable apron is both functional and cute. What a great way to upcycle those old jeans!

Use your old favorite tshirts to make pillows. Great way to preserve shirts with memories attached.
Turn an Upcycled T-Shirt into a Pillow
from Creative Green Living

Use your worn out t-shirts to make this upcycled t-shirt pillow craft. This is great for beginner level crafters.


This easy no sew grocery and shopping bag is an easy Earth Day project.
How to Make a Shopping Bag from a T-Shirt (no sewing required!)
from Creative Green Living

Have a lot of shirts to use up? This easy, no-sew, shopping bags is just for you!


recycle upcycle sleep masks out of tshirts
How to Make a Unicorn Horn Sleep Mask from a Recycled T-Shirt
from Creative Green Living

 Make a darling DIY unicorn sleep mask to help aid in a good night sleep. This would be a great unicorn party favor or summer craft for tweens and teens


How to Make a Tote Bag from Old T-Shirts
from Creative Green Living

You can grab t-shirts from the back of your closet or hit up a thrift store to find a cute pattern.


heart garland ideas upcycled jeans
How to Use Old Jeans to Make a Cute Valentine Garland
from Creative Green Living

Declutter for the new year by finding a fresh use for old jeans and decorate for Valentine's Day at the same time with this clever heart garland!


These patches are a fun project to do with kids using an old pair of jeans
How to Make Patches from Recycled Jeans or Fabric Scraps
from Creative Green Living

These colorful patches are perfect for adding embellishments to a tote, backpack or anything else!


Easy sewing project using recycled jeans
Upcycled Denim Play Crown
from Creative Green Living

 This is an easy sewing project for a beginner and the pattern can easily be adapted for anyone with any size head.

Upcycle your old t-shirts into this easy DIY t-shirt bracelet.
No Sew T-shirt Bracelet
from The Decorated Cookie

Upcycle your old T-shirts and make a no-sew T-shirt bracelet. Easy DIY jewelry.

A tutorial on how to make your own coffee cozy using holey socks
DIY Upcycled Coffee Cozy
from Swoodson Says

This is a tutorial for how to turn socks with holes into a DIY upcycled coffee cozy!


Take your favorite t-shirts and make them into stuffed animals easy and fun
Upcycle a T-shirt into a Stuffed Animal
from Swoodson Says

Upcycle a t-shirt into a stuffed animal is so easy and fun! This is the perfect way to get more life out of a much loved piece of clothing that has been outgrown. 

Great DIY gift to reuse your old jeans and save your sunglasses from scratches
How to Make a Denim DIY Sunglasses Case
from Pillar Box Blue

This sunglasses case is not only useful, including a pocket for your phone, but it would also make a great gift and is a great way to upcycle your favorite holey pair of jeans!

upcycle an old sweater into a beautiful lampshade DIY
Make A DIY Lampshade Using An Upcycled Sweater
from Amber Oliver

This is a beautiful and elegant way to upcycle a sweater into a unique lampshade.



Recycled Glass Jar Crafts

Glass jars are another one of those things that are easy to recycle almost anywhere.

Recycling glass takes a lot of energy, though! If you can reuse a glass jar multiple times before it's time to send it away to the recycling plant, all the better!

Try one of these fun glass jar upcycling craft projects to extend the life of your glass jars before you recycle them.

Foaming mason jar soap pump tutorial for DIY soap
from Creative Green Living


This DIY foaming hand soap pump made from a mason jar is so handy and easy to make.

how to make this upcycled recycled planter for your favorite succulent plants
from Creative Green Living

Inspired by the magical rainbow unicorn, and this unicorn mason jar succulent planter takes the prize for "most coveted" of unicorn crafts.

reuse a mason jar to make soap pumps for any season with this DIY project
from Creative Green Living

This adorable snow globe soap pump is the perfect way to add an unexpected dash of Christmas to the kitchen or bathroom sinks in your home.

These easy to make luminaries are great for Halloween and are great to make with kids
from Creative Green Living

These whimsical Halloween luminaries are a fun easy craft using leftover glass jars.  

These adorable ladybug bug catcher is a great way to recycle a glass jar
from Creative Green Living

This easy recycled ladybug catcher craft is a great way to turn an empty glass jar into something cute that your kids will use and enjoy.

A simple and easy way to upcycle a glass jar to bring beautiful light into a room
How to Make a Beautiful Glass Gem Lantern
from Craft Invaders

Make your own beautiful glass gem lantern that is perfect to hold a candle or LED lights. You’ll be amazed at how simple it is to make.



These easy to make slow cooker candles are a great way to upcycle your old glass jars
How to Make Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles
from Mom Advice

Learn how to make your own DIY candles in your crockpot or slow cooker. This easy tutorial will have you make large batches of candles in no time.


Give your home a little retro feel with these easy DIY milk glass vases.
How to Make DIY Milk Glass
from Glitter Inc.

Give your home a little retro feel with these darling DIY milk glass vases!

These beautiful do it yourself centerpieces are an elegant centerpiece for any occasion
Upcycling Glass Jars for DIY Wedding Centerpieces
from Sustain my Craft Habit

These beautiful centerpieces would be great for a wedding or any other special occasion.

easy tutorial on how to turn glass bottles into beautiful aqua beauties with a stained glass look.
How to Achieve a Stained Glass Look on Plain Glass Bottles
from Our Crafty Mom

An easy tutorial on how to turn glass bottles into beautiful aqua beauties with a stained glass look.


super simple and fun craft that you and your child can create together to feed the birds
Mason Jar Bird Feeder - Easy DIY Bird Feeder
from Natural Beach Living

If you’re looking for a super simple and fun craft that you and your child can create together, you’re going to love the look and ease of this Mason Jar Bird Feeder.


fun and simple activity that makes a fun science demonstration on the concept of oceans using old mason jars!
Exploring Ocean Layers Science Activity for Kids
from Fun with Mama

This is a fun and simple activity that makes a fun science demonstration on the concept of oceans using old mason jars!


These easy gifts are a great way to bring creativity in life
Make Craft Kits - The Gift of Creativity in a Jar
from 365 Days of Crafts

Use this stash-busting idea to give the gift of creativity in a jar.  Plus you are recycling and clearing the way for new things.


With a little creativity and some old peanut butter jars, these DIY Wall Vases add a little rustic charm and organization to any space.
DIY Wall Vases from Upcycled Jars
from Houseful of Handmade

With a little creativity and some old peanut butter jars, these DIY Wall Vases add a little rustic charm and organization to any space.

Crafts from Recycled Plastic Bottles

These are perhaps one of the worst and most pervasive pieces of garbage because they are often not recycled. Even though many plastic bottles claim they are recyclable, things really only get recycled when there is a market for them.

Any time you can turn an empty plastic bottle into a cool craft is a win!

This easy to make fairy house is a great way to recycle and have a cute fairy house in the yard
How to Make a Solar Powered Fairy House
from Creative Green Living

This fairy house is made from recycled materials AND the solar-powered roof collects sunlight during the day--and then at night, the windows of the fairy house will glow! Sweet!

These beautiful spirals are made from water bottles and are a great way to help your kids with their scissor skills
Make Recyled Water Bottle Garden Art
from CBC Parents

These beautiful spirals are made from water bottles and are a great way to help your kids with their scissor skills!


This cute nightlight is a great DIY project to reuse a plastic bottle
Make a Night Light from a Recycled Body Wash or Shampoo Bottle
from Creative Green Living

This project works with anything you can cut out a silhouette of so let your imagination run wild! Fairies, Jedi, a favorite animal, you name it!

How to make a light up fairy house night light
Fairy House Night Lights 
from Crafts by Amanda

These adorable little night lights use a tea light inside a recycled plastic bottle that has been refashioned as a fairy house. Adorable!

How to recycle an empty plastic bottle into a cute flower pot
Kawaii Plastic Bottle Animal Planters
from Craving Some Creativity

Upgrade an empty plastic soda bottle into one of these adorable planters. Choose from a pig, rabbit or frog planter pot - or make up your own character!


Recycled Wine Bottle Crafts

Wine bottles can be used for so many cool things once the wine is all gone! 

Try one of these cool craft ideas for recycling wine bottles instead of sending them off to the glass factory.

use an old wine bottle to help you water your plants with this cute tutorial
The Cute DIY Way to Water Your Plants While on Vacation (or all the time!)
from Creative Green Living

You can use an old wine bottle to help assist you with the task of watering your plants. They are so cute you can use them every day!

These easy DIY painted wine bottles make a great gift or brighten any home
Painted Polka Dot Wine Bottles 
from The Decorated Cookie

Painted wine bottles polka dot vases, an easy DIY home decor craft, make great gifts or are a great way to brighten a room.


This simple DIY project is a great way to decorate on a budget
Easy Room Decor Upcycled Bottle Vases
from Sustain my Craft Habit

This is a DIY that is simple as it gets. Decorate your home on a budget and it looks great too!


An easy homemade project for gift giving or to bring light to your life
DIY Wine Bottle Luminaries
from Postcards from the Ridge

A super simple and thrifty project is perfect for the holidays or any time of the year.


This easy DIY tiki torch can help keep the bugs at bay when entertaining outdoors.
DIY Wine Bottle Tiki Torch
from Julie Blanner

Learn how to make a wine bottle tiki torch in less than 10 minutes. Keep bugs at bay with one of these beautiful wine bottle crafts!


Step by step “how to” make this quick, easy, inexpensive, gift from the kitchen and craft room!
Etched Glass Bottles Filled Herb Vinegar
from Kims DIY Tribe

Step by step “how to” make this quick, easy, inexpensive, gift from the kitchen and craft room! 


This cute DIY recycled wine bottle chalkboard is a wonderful gift idea
Make a Cute Recycled Wint Bottle Chalkboard for your Home
from 365 Days of Crafts

Make this cute recycled wine bottle chalkboard with a place to write fun messages. Great for gift giving. 

Crafts Made From Newspapers or Magazines

There are so many ways to get extra use and more life out of newspapers and magazines!

Try one of these fun recycled newspaper crafts or projects that let you reuse old magazines.

making envelopes out of old magazines or scrap paper is a fun and easy craft to do
How to Make an Envelope from Paper or Magazine Pages
from Creative Green Living
Making envelopes out of paper - like scrapbook paper, junk mail or magazines - is a fun way to recycle and get super cute envelopes at the same time!

Adorable easy DIY animal crafts made out of your old newspaper
Zoo Animal Crafts
from The Best Ideas for Kids
These adorable newspaper zoo animal crafts are a fun way to recycle newspapers! We will show you how to make a lion, frog, giraffe and hippo with just a little bit of paint and glue.


Follow this step by step tutorial to make your own newspaper hat
Newspaper Hat
from The Best Ideas for Kids
Making your own newspaper pirate hat is really easy and is a great way to reuse the newspaper in your house.



I hope you found an inspirational Earth Day craft that you are excited to work on! If you make any of the crafts listed here, I would love to see a picture!

Please post a picture on Instagram and tag @creativegreenliving along with #CreativeGreenLiving or join our community group on Facebook to share a picture of your project!

Carissa Bonham

About the Author:

Carissa Bonham is a lifelong crafter and mom of two creative boys. Her goal is to empower families to make easy projects and healthier choices that are beautiful and delicious! 

The owner and lead writer at Creative Green Living, she is an award winning blogger and most recently won the ShiftCon Media "Best Green Lifestyle Blogger" award in 2019.

She is also the author of several books including Beautiful Smoothie Bowls (Skyhorse, 2017), Proven Techniques for Keeping Healthy Chickens (Skyhorse, 2018) and The Little Green Book of Mothers' Wisdom (Skyhorse, 2020).

Her projects have been featured in magazines like Kids Crafts 1-2-3, Capper's Farmer and Urban Farm Magazine. Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living Tribe.
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Carissa's Creativity Space (creativecarissa.com) became Creative Green Living in February 2013. As such the watermarks on older posts may reflect the previous site name.