Thursday, April 15, 2010

Earth Day Crafts

As we all know, recycling is good for the environment, but it can also help save money. With the projects posted here, you can have tons of fun with your kids and turn trash into treasures! Crafting is fun, crafting “green” is even better.

Scrap Cloth Pencil Holder

*photo compliments of Kaboose

Do you have scraps of fabric leftover from previous projects or want a unique way to use your children’s worn out clothes? Here is a cute way to use up those scraps and recycle materials.
• Empty can (vegetable can, tuna can, coffee can)
• Sandpaper
• Acrylic paint
• Paint brush
• Fabric scraps
• Scissors
• White glue
• Water

Wash and dry empty can. Sand any rough edges from opening the can. Paint can with acrylic paint. Let dry. Cut fabric scraps into 1 to 1 ½ inch squares. Mix equals parts glue and water. The mixture should be paintable but not too runny. Starting at the top of the can paint a small section of the can with the glue mixture. Apply a fabric square and coat the fabric with glue and smooth out wrinkles. Repeat this process overlapping the fabric so no area of the can shows. Use scissors to trim off excess fabric. Let dry before using.
Use cans to:
Hold pencils, art supplies, utensils, silverware (vegetable or coffee can)
Plant herbs or flowers (poke holes in the bottom for drainage)
Candy dish (tuna can)
Time capsule (coffee can) – Cover with scraps from child’s clothing then fill with items you want to keep from them.
Alternatives: Instead of fabric you could use newspaper, pages from magazines, wrapping paper, or scrapbook paper.

Cereal Box
Magazine/Book Holder

I liked to have my kindergarten students make this each year to hold their books. Since they were all reading at different levels each student would have a place to store books appropriate for them. You can cover these in decorative paper or fabric to use at home to store magazines.
• Cereal box
• Scissors
• Ruler
• Glue
• Paper, fabric or paint
• Stickers or markers(optional)

Use a pencil and ruler to mark a line four inches from the bottom of the box. Draw a diagonal line from the four inch mark to the top opposite corner of the box. Repeat on the other side of the box. Using scissors cut away the top portion of the box, following the pencil lines. Decorate according to your needs. You can cover with fabric or decorative paper, paint it or leave it as is.

Beth, from has some great ideas to use old markers.

Pen/Pencil Holder

• Plastic water bottle
• Old markers with lids
• Rubberbands
Use a small recyclable plastic drink/water bottle and trim away the top to the preferred height of your pencil holder (this is the base). Set it on a table and line up your used pens with caps around it. Carefully stretch a rubber band around the pens to hold them in place toward the bottom. Repeat with another rubber band toward the top. Easy!
Note: You could add a colorful ribbon to cover up the rubberbands.

Can you believe this jump rope is made with dried out markers?
Jump Rope
• old markers (use your thinnest markers for the for middle of the rope and the 2 largest markers for the handles)
• Pliers
• Hammer
• Hacksaw and Ice Pick (that’s right, we are in the big leagues now!!)
• Thin rope or string (Jenna used kitchen twine, though if done again, she would probably use fishing line)
• Remove all caps from markers.
• Using pliers, remove ends (except for the larger markers – keep the ends)
• Remove the ink pads so you only have the plastic tubes left.
• For the middle of the rope: Use the ”thinner” markers and take hacksaw to make a small cut in each tube, 1/2 way along the tube. Holding them away from your face, snap the tubes in half.
• When you have enough 1/2 tubes, take your ice pick and hammer, and punch a hole through the tops of the caps.
• For the handles of the rope: Punch a hole through the tops of the caps and the ends.
• String it all together! Start with the handle—putting the twine through the cap end and tie a knot.
• Start stringing the rest of the larger pen together for the handle (snapping the pieces together), then alternate caps and middles, ending with the other handle when you have the length just right.
NOTE: You could skip the hacksaw part if you only use caps!

Color Glue
• White glue
• Old markers
• Tweezers

Instructions: Using tweezers pull out the tip of the marker from the tube. Place the tip of marker inside the glue bottle and shake until you get the desired color. Remove. Optional: add glitter.
Use the colored glue to make suncatchers: Roll out a sheet of wax paper and put something heavy on the four corners so it won't roll up on you. Pour some glue out in different shapes. You can use cookie cutters as a template. Add beads, ribbon, glitter, or sequins and let it dry for a few days. After they sit for one night, poke a hole in top with a straw. After they're dry carefully peel them off the wax paper and hang in the window.


Paper Mache Earth
Materials Needed:

• Round Balloon
• Newspaper
• Flour
• Water
• Salt
• Washable Paint, green and blue
• Paintbrush

To make the paste, mix together 1 part flour to 2 parts water. You will want the paste to be the consistency of thick glue, but not thick like paste. Add more water or flour as necessary. Mix well to remove any lumps. Add 2 or 3 teaspoons of salt to prevent mold.
Make sure you cover you work surface well. This is a very messy project!
Blow up and tie the balloon. Place the balloon in a bowl large enough for it sit firmly. This will hold the balloon still while you work. You may wish to cover the bowl with plastic wrap so the paper mache does not stick to it. Tear (they lay flatter if you tear them instead of cut them) newspaper into strips about 1- or 2-inches wide and 4- to 6-inches long. You will need a lot of newspaper. Dip one strip of newspaper one at a time in the paste. Hold the strip over the paste bowl and run it through your fingers to squeeze off excess paste. Stick the newspaper strip on the balloon and smooth it down with your fingers. Add more paste if needed. Continue this process, overlapping the strips until you have completely covered the balloon. You will need to apply 3 or 4 layers, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next. Paint to resemble the earth.
Once the paper mache is dry, paint your balloon to look like a real globe using blue, green, and even white paint. Add as much or as little detail as you like!
* photos courtesy of PlanetPal

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