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12 Thrifty Trash to Treasure Crafts

If you hate throwing anything away, you will love this collection of thrifty crafts. Learn how to transform any piece of trash into a beloved treasure with this FREE eBook!

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Plastic Crafting: 25 Ways to Reuse Plastic

Find unexpected ways to reuse plastic bottles, recycled plastic grocery bags, and more!

By: Morgan Metcalf, Editor, FaveCrafts.com
Plastic Crafting 25 Ways to Reuse Plastic

Do not toss that plastic bag, bottle, or empty jewel case! Discover plastic crafts that will blow your mind.

Turn trash plastic into decorative accents for your home, functional tools, or fun activities for kids or adults. Reduce your household plastic waste by crafting with plastic instead of throwing it away. The more you look for ways to reuse plastic, the more aware you will be of how much plastic you encounter and toss in your normal life. With your favorite hobby, you can send less plastic to the landfill. 

This collection includes plastic bag crafts, water bottle crafts, and other ways to reuse plastic. Don't miss your chance to incorporate some plastic crafting into your next rainy day! These darling tutorials are must-make ideas for your and your family. 

PLUS: Are you a visual learner? Use old (or new) plastic spoons to make these Plastic Spoon Roses.

Recycled Plastic Bag Crafts

  • Recycled Plarn Tote Bag

    Learn how to make plarn and then crochet this fantastic tote bag! It's easy, sturdy, and fun. 

  • How to Make Plarn, Plastic Bag Yarn Knit Tote Pattern

    This article includes tutorials and resources for making plarn as well as instructions for how to make a knit version of a plarn tote bag.

  • Plastic Bag Wreath

    This tutorial is such a classic! Kids love the repetitive motion of tying plastic bags around a wreath form or coat hanger to make an easy DIY wreath.

  • Recycled Plastic Bag Snowman Portrait

    This is an adorable winter craft for kids! Turn those plastic bags into your new favorite January decoration and make this snowman.

  • Heart on the Sleeve Bracelet

    Look closer---can you believe this project is made from plastic bags? At first it looks just like regular yarn, but this accessory is made from recycled materials.

  • Haunted DIY Yard Decor

    Hang that plastic bag in your trees. No, really! Draw ghost faces on your plastic bags for an easy and cute Halloween decoration.

  • Punch Art Flower Garden

    Kids or adults can create flowers by cutting circles out of plastic bags, for decorating art or accessories. This plastic craft is simple and sweet.

How to Crochet a Plastic Bag Door Mat

Materials: plastic grocery bags, J hook, scissors

  1. Cut the bags into 2 inch strips and tie them together, leaving about a 2-3 inch tail.
  2. Use a J hook and chain the width.
  3. Double crochet in each chain, chain three and turn.
  4. Crochet each row the same until an acceptable length.
  5. Pull all the tails to one side of the mat, so that the rug has a shag look to it and the other side is flat.
  6. When it gets dirty, you can wash it by just spraying it with water. You can also place it in the washing machine on the delicate setting.
For alternate instructions, check out the Crochet Plastic Bag Door Mat.

Sewing Plastic Bags

Fusing- Fuse plastic bags into a sturdy sewing material.

  1. Select three to four plastic bags. Turn the plastic bags inside out and layer one on top of the layer. Sandwich plastic layers between pieces of parchment paper.
  2. Run a hot iron over the top, moving the iron constantly. Quickly iron one side, including the edges, flip over and iron the other side.
  3. Carefully peel back the parchment to make sure the plastic has fused into one layer.
  4. You can use this sturdy material in sewing projects, including reusable tote bags for shopping.

Ways to Reuse Plastic Bottles

  • Dollar Store DIY Desk Organizers

    This tutorial features recyled spray bottles that might have a broken nozzle or some other flaw. Cut them in half and soften the edges for easy and colorful bathroom organizers.

  • Plastic Bottle Hanging Planters

    Plasting crafting doesn't get much prettier than this! In your quest to find ways to reuse plastic, these hanging planters should be at the top of your list.

  • DIY Stress Relief Bottle

    Calm yourself, your child, or your grandchild down with this fun toy. This video tutorial includes a simple recipe for making the prettiest glitter bottles you've ever seen.

  • Charging Station Recycled Craft

    Have you ever set your phone down to charge and totally lost it under a pile of papers? Ensure your phone remains visible when you put it in its proper place: this plastic bottle charging station.

  • Secretly Cheap DIY Flower Vase

    A bit of gold spray paint goes a LONG way! This plastic bottle craft is almost too pretty to be true. 

  • Pink Flower Water Bottle Bracelets

    If you cut rings out of your water bottles, they are the perfect size for bracelets! Learn how to make bangles decorated with pretty pink flowers for summer.

  • Plastic Bottle Birdfeeder

    Cut out a 2-inch circle 3 inches from the bottom of 2-liter bottle. Fill bottom of bottle with birdseed and hang outside. For something a little fancier, check out this Plastic Bottle Birdfeeder craft.

  • Plastic Pumpkin Luminaries

    Cut off the tops of plastic bottles, paint them and add sand and a candle to the bottom to create luminaries. Light up your walkway on Halloween with orange and yellow Pumpkin Luminaries. Painting around contact paper allows you to add a jack-o-lantern face to the Halloween plastic bottles, but you can use the same technique to add stars and other designs to the luminaries the rest of the year.

How to Make Bottle Cap Ornaments

Kids can use the lids of plastic bottles to create cute little Christmas ornaments. Kids can first

  1. Paint the bottle lids in red or green
  2. Rub glue over the inside of the bottle lid and sprinkle the inside with glitter or sequins. Note: To secure the sequins, cut out one bubble from large-size bubble wrap. Rub glue over the inside sides of the bottle lip and slide the bubble into the cap over the sequins.
  3. Secure a ribbon or yarn around the lid to hang

Other Ways to Reuse Plastic

  • Repurposed Plastic Milk Jug Flower Garlands

    STOP! This craft is too pretty to pass up. This is one of those ways to reuse plastic that is so gorgeous you can hardly believe this started off as a milk jug!

  • Stunningly Beautiful Pill Bottle Lamp

    Got pill bottles? If you have a bunch left over in a drawer somewhere, they can make their way into your crafting! This gorgeous tutorial will make an incredible accent for your home.

  • Dishwasher Pod Container Recycled Planter

    Yep, you can even use dishwasher pod containers in your crafting. A yellow chalk paint transforms this project into a cheerful vase.

  • Upcycled Ladybug Storage Jars

    The lids of peanut butter jars lend themselves well to transforming into ladybugs! With a few dots of black, that red lid becomes a cute ladybug jar for storage.

  • Milk Jug First Aid Kit

    This craft is so clever! It's amazing that you can cut down and reshape your milk jug into a simple box for your bandages and other first aid equipment.

  • Bottle Cap Christmas Art

    Isn't this too cute? Make a frameable Christmas tree from green bottlecaps. The ribbon bow tree topper is an adorable finishing touch.

  • Mini DIY Dream Catcher

    A plastic cup is your best friend when it comes to making a perfectly circular dream catcher! Kids will love this tutorial.

  • Plastic Spoon Garden Markers

    This is one of our most popular plastic crafting tutorials! Use colorful plastic spoons to make bright garden markers this spring.

  • Bread Tag Jazzy Jewelry

    Yes, even bread tags can be saved and used for a craft project. Paint the bread tags with black acrylic paint, let dry and decorate with metallic dimensional paint. These can be turned into a long necklace, earrings or a charm bracelet. Kids will also love this craft.

  • CD Case Picture Frame

    Jewel Case Picture Frame- Turn jewel cases into picture frames. Pull a jewel case apart into two pieces and use ribbon to create a frame around the outside edges. Ribbon fits conveniently into the inside tabs and can be held with a small amount of glue at the corners. Decorate with buttons, flowers and/or other embellishments. You can also make a 2-part hanging picture frame with both pieces of a jewel case.

How do you craft with plastic? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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There are a lot of awesome ideas presented here. But I was hoping to read about things I can make with all of those plastic bottle caps we have accumulated in our house. They can't be recycled in our bins, so we save them hoping to find some way to re-use them.

What a fantastic way to use your recycled items,they are so pretty and cut down on your trash

I had been harboring the illusion that styrofoam cups could be recycled, if only as something crumbled up and stuck in the bottom of the potted plants that I might have someday. (Hoarding Risk Alert.) It turns out that that is a very bad idea, just from the point of view of the growth of the roots of ornamental plants, apart from the toxicity risk for vegetables. Recyclers accept only styrofoam peanuts, not food containers of any kind. That said, I like all the ideas above.

I love plarn. This year I have been using crochet ornament patterns out of the plarn. Going to hang them outside. Also great to hang on windows, don't have to worry about condensation ruining them. My favorite that I have tried are snowflakes.

I taught myself how to knit using plarn ("yarn" made from plastic bags) and two old pencils as needles. It's a great way to keep bags from bulk bins, produce, and plastic shipping pillows out of the landfill.

Taking things from shelves of post offices or grabbing a lot of plastic bags from stores is NOT recycling. It is a cheap persons method of getting freebies. And it makes the situation worse. More cds need made, more plastic bags need made. If you are going to recycle, then by all means recycle. But taking a lot of freebies is NOT recycling and it is stealing from me and others. I now have to pay in some manner for your cheapness.

I used dozenso fthe old AOL disks to make clocks out of. Yes, clocks. I bought the digital or analog clocks at a craft fair, about the size of the center of a cd. I then drill pressed out the hole in the cd to make it a little bigger so it would hold the clock. Then, mounting the clock inside the cd, I put the disck back into its jewel case. Then, not only do you have a really unique clock ( I put the recorded side forward, nice and prism-y..) but you also have the other half of the jewel case for putting a picture into. A nice desk frame/clock combo!! I also used 5 inch pieces of wooden molding and just made a slit in the top of it so I could slip a cd into it, so it stood stright up and these made great looking clocks, too.

Several years ago, AOL had piles of cd's in various places - like the post office - I used several of them to make a "scare-crow" kinda thing - hang them like a windchime - place them in your garden - the constant movement and flickering saves your seed and seedlings from birds. Kinda pretty to see, too.

out of bags i knit or cro. skirts, hand bags.hats,. for the caps i make xmas ornament ,earings,necklaces, coasters,. bottlesclospin holders, doll house,mobiles, alot of the time i will look at something befor i toss it and oops another craft.

Employees at Yoke's market, here in the Pacific Northwest, told me that their plastic bags are made out of biodegradable plastic. If you make the door mats out of these bags, they will breakdown and become a mushy mess. But don't worry, there are many other things you can use them for as long as they don't go out into the weather.

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