Recycled Crafts from Stuff You’d Normally Toss

Recycled Crafts from Stuff You’d Normally Toss

The recycle bin and trash can are receptacles that fill up with any number of things. Some of it is proper waste, of course, but you may be tossing things into these bins that could be crafted with. From wine corks to cardboard tubes, there are loads of recycled crafts and project ideas for items destined for these bins. Instead of tossing them out, however, perhaps one of these creative ideas will grab your attention and have you retrieving them from the bins.

DIY Fire Starters

DIY fire starter or dryer lint fire starter for emergency prepping

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

These DIY fire starters are SO handy for your fireplace, chimenea, or backyard fire pit- plus they’re easy to make and use things you’d normally toss. Dryer lint, toilet tissue tubes, and wax paper (or newspaper) are the only ingredients you need to make them. Such a great way to repurpose and reuse items that would otherwise end up in the trash or recycle bin.

Coffee Canister Planter

turning a coffee can into a boho planter

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If you start your mornings with coffee from a red or blue plastic tub, then you know how quickly those can fill up your recycle bin. Turns out, however, that they can be easily disguised as modern planters for artificial plants with this clever upcycling technique. Would you ever have guessed that this started out as a bright red coffee canister?

Arts and Crafts Storage

upcycling a metal utensil holder into art supply storage

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Soup cans or cans from beans/vegetables have all sorts of reuse potential after you’ve cooked in the kitchen. They’re easy to paint and decorate so that you can repurpose them to hold any number of ways. For those of us with kids or lots of craft supplies, they are perfect for keeping things like markers, pens/pencils, and paint brushes tidy.

Wine Cork Trivet

Wine cork trivet

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Look, I’m definitely not going to judge you if you have a stash of wine corks that just keeps growing and growing. Tossing them in the trash feels wasteful, but this upcycling idea uses a bunch of them and only takes about 5 minutes to make. This wine cork trivet has become one of the handiest tools in my kitchen, too!

Cardboard Crafting

snow scenes for winter decorations

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

For making miniature snow scenes for Christmas or winter, look no further than the cardboard coffee cup sleeve from your last Starbucks run. The dainty corrugations perfectly mimic the look of a log cabin. Which means you can make charming cabin-style Putz houses like this for all your miniature displays and snow globes!

Recycled Crafts from Plastic Bags

fake forsythia from plastic bags

Image credit: Salvaged Living.

One of the early signs of Spring in many yards is the appearance of flowering Forsythia bushes. They’re so happy and cheerful, but only stick around for a short while. Thankfully, you can enjoy them year-round with this fake-out craft project using yellow plastic shopping bags.

Boho Planters

upcycle idea for boho planters

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If you’re a lover of interesting planters to use around your home (especially for fake plants), then this recycle bin project is perfect for you. Tin cans from your kitchen are transformed into gorgeous Boho-style planters with the help of something else that is reclaimed/salvaged. Doesn’t it look amazing in a Bohemian space like this?

Holiday Garland

holly garland from applesauce packet tops

Image credit: Homeroad.

The Christmas season may be over but now’s the time to start saving those applesauce packet lids. Because they are absolutely perfect for creating this holly-inspired garland to use in your Christmas decor. So easy to make and a wonderful way to keep all that plastic out of the landfills.

Recycled Crafts from Paper Mailers

wildflower seed bombs for Earth Day

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If you order from a certain online retailer and get plenty of those padded paper mailers delivered to your door, then this is the recycled craft for you. The envelope padding is made from recycled paper, and you can re-recycle that pulp into making wildflower seed bombs like these. They’re wonderful as housewarming gifts or wedding shower favors, as well.

Sea Glass Bottles

Sea glass bottles as wine bottle crafts for coastal decor

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

When it comes to drinking wine, not only do you end up with a lot of corks to craft with, but empty glass bottles, too. Thankfully, there are some gorgeous specialty spray paints available to let you transform those wine bottles into stunning coastal decor like these sea glass bottles.

Recycled Crafts for Your Fairy Garden

Fairy garden furniture from the junk drawer

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

The junk drawer is often referred to as “Trash Purgatory” in our house, because it ends up with stuff we should toss, but don’t. Thankfully, you can create adorable fairy garden furniture like this thanks to junk like bottle caps and pizza box savers. Recycled crafts like fairy garden pieces are extra fun to make with your kids because the supplies are virtually free.

Mint Tins

upcycle an altoids tin into a diy christmas ornament

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If you always keep a tin of mints in your purse or desk drawer, then you know how easily they add up- and how hard it is to toss them! But if you save a few and decorate them like this, then you’ll have some darling vintage suitcase-inspired Christmas ornaments once December rolls around again.

Recycled Crafts from Egg Cartons

paper egg cartons as craft supplies

Image credit: Postcards from the Ridge.

Cardboard egg cartons have long been a staple of cheap or free craft supplies, particularly crafts that little kids can work on. But for a more grown-up alternative, these faux succulents from egg cartons are as cute as they are clever and stylish. Plus, they’ll never, ever die on you which is a huge bonus in my book.

Pill Bottle Repurpose

Outdoor key hider

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Not all pill bottles are created equal. But for the child-proof bottles like this, here’s an idea that might get you out of an embarrassing pinch. Add it a DIY concrete stepping stone and you’ll have a tidy little key hider to place out in your garden. No more locked-out frustration with this handy project!

Beach Wedding Decor

diy message in a bottle

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

For some inexpensive beach wedding decor, this idea from the recycle bin is a great cost-saver that is also easy to make. The idea of “Message in a Bottle” is timelessly romantic, and you can make your own version with empty wine or liquor bottles, beach sand, and a rolled up book page tied with twine.

Faux Firecrackers

Independence day decorations with fake firecrackers from cardboard tubes

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

As July 4th rolls around, save those empty paper towel tubes for this fun and festive recycled craft project. With the help of some vintage-style graphics, you can turn them into the best kind of firecrackers– fake and totally silent! Don’t they look so fun as part of this table centerpiece for your BBQ party?

More Recycled Crafts with Soup Cans

recycled cans from crafting with flannel book

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

If painting soup cans doesn’t appeal to you, perhaps wrapping them in decorative fabric will. Either way, upcycling them into desk organizers is a great way to repurpose them- and they’ll last forever. Projects like this keep your desk tidy and the cans won’t end up in the trash or recycling bin; either way, it’s a win-win.

The DIY details for this project can be found in my book, “Crafting with Flannel”.

Ornaments from Ice Cream Pints

ice cream pint lids as a craft supply

Image credit: Little Vintage Cottage.

One more Christmas project idea to file away for a few months, and this is one you didn’t see coming. DIY ornaments from the lid of an ice cream pint! I don’t exactly need more pints of ice cream in the freezer, but if sacrifices must be made in the name of crafting, well…sign me up.

Recycled Crafts from Stuff You’d Normally Toss

trash crafts and crafting from the recycle bin

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Now that you’re armed with all sort of trash-to-treasure inspiration, I hope you’ll be inspired to create some recycled crafts from the bins at your house. Sometimes you just need to see the right idea to spark your own creative pursuits, especially with free craft supplies you’d normally toss out.

Craft on!


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recycled crafts and crafting with trash

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.

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