plastic bag paratroopers

written by tammy

plastic bag paratrooper

When my young friend started pretending his Star Wars toys were parachuting in the other room, I instantly remembered those cheapo plastic parachute toys I used to get from the gum ball machine as a child. They were so much fun! So I dug through the cabinets and constructed this quickie craft…

The steps are outlined below. Click to see a larger, more detailed image:

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use it or loose it! (thebabysitter files)

written by tammy

a happy tribute to recycled projects

Spending too much time with me can turn you into a collector, of sorts. Instead of collecting things you think will be of value to someone in a number of years, you collect random things (okay… trash, more or less) that you think you’ll use for an art project!

You’ll find yourself hanging on to empty spice jars, socks, stockings, styrofoam, boxes, broken jewelry, empty food containers, juice bottles, sippy boxes, baby food jars… you name it, I can make something with it!!

Fine! Good! Reuse!

But you must remember to USE WHAT YOU SAVE, otherwise you just end up with a heap of junk.

the details

This recycled sculpture was done by a 7 1/2 year old girl (who held herself up in her room with her little brother so that she could surprise me with this awesome gift).

There got to be such a mound of ‘collectibles’ in the house that the old ‘Use it or loose it’ adage was tossed around a tad too frequently! So.. she stepped up to the plate.

This project was made entirely out of things she saved, rescued from the trash, or collected around the house.

The Rundown: There’s a sock wrapped around a juice bottle, on top of an empty cookie container. Then another sock balled up, with an empty ribbon wheel, some craft straws and pipe cleaners holding up an ART sign, written with Sharpie on a fabric scrap. The sculpture is cleverly held together by (massive amounts of) clear packing tape.

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grow green

written by tammy

(click on an image to enlarge)

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empty box + rainy day =

written by tammy

Take one empty box…

box bin 1

Fold in the flaps, like so…

box bin 2

In a medium sized bowl, mix wall paper paste and water until you get a medium-watery adhesive glue. Cut paper into medium sized strips and squares.

**We used blueprints found in the trash**

Line your work area with newspaper topped with parchment paper (to keep the glue from sticking to the paper). This gets messy!

Dip your paper into the glue, then apply to the box…

box bin 3

Continue applying layers of paper in an overlapping fashion until the entire cardboard box is concealed. Use your hands to smooth out any lumps or air bubbles as you go along.

Work swiftly while the project is wet, because as the glue begins to dry, the paper is more likely to rip.

I put mine on top of an old plate while drying…

box bin 4

Allow this project ample time to dry, overnight is best! As the glue dries the paper will harden to the surface of the box.

Once dry, you can use your new creation for whatever you want. This one is the perfect Paper Recycle Bin

paper recycling bin

Tip: Make sure you have plenty of supplies prepared before you get started, because once you get your hands dirty you should just keep going until the project is done.

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garden-fairy houses

written by tammy

recycled fairy house

Spring is here, and so are the the garden fairies. Garden fairies come out at night when everyone is asleep and help your flowers grow. If you make them a beautiful home and put it in the garden your flowers will flourish and your veggies will plump. And when it rains, the fairies will have somewhere to dry their wings and enjoy a cup of nectar.

Plastic containers from the recycle bin work best for this project. We used empty mushroom containers and a natural potpourri of flower petals, twigs and leaves collected in and around the home for crafting. A waterproof glue is recommended if you want your houses to last.

what you need

Supplies:

- empty mushroom containers
- washable craft glue
- potpourri twigs and leaves
- leftover easter grass
- scissors
-extras: glitter glue, foam stickers, beads

What To Do:

Turn the container upside down and cut a door.

Pour some glue into a plastic container lid and use old paint brushes to apply a thick layer of glue to the container.

Affix the potpourri, twigs and leaves to the wet glue, trying to cover as much of the plastic container as possible.

Allow the glue to dry overnight and then place it in the garden for your little fairy friends.

**We were having so much fun with our houses we whipped out beads, stickers, pompoms and leftover Easter grass, then adorned the entire house with sparkly glitter glue**

recycled fairy house detail

The above house was done by a 5 year old girl. She did everything from the cutting to design and decorating on her own (with supervision, of course).

Check out another fairy house… here!

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x-wing fighter

written by tammy

It’s true, one of my young friends is a little Star Wars obsessed, thereby explaining the influx of Star Wars themed crafts on the site. This one, of course, was recycle-bin inspired… with much of the art direction by a 4 year old boy.

We used a water bottle, 4 toilet paper rings, a styrofoam supermarket tray, some pipe cleaners and masking tape. Lots and lots of masking tape!

Using a sharp knife or a craft knife, have an adult cut 2 seat holes, one for your pilot and one for the co-pilot (see last pic). Using masking tape, cover the sharp plastic edges where the bottle was cut.

Cut the styrafoam tray into 4 wings of similar size. Loop a piece of pipe cleaner through the end of each wing, and twist together to form lasers.

Attach the toilet paper rings to the bottle using masking tape, as seen below. Then add the wings.

Cover the entire ship with masking tape, then add accents & details using stickers or permanent marker.

After much play with this ship (notice the broken wings) I was told that R2D2 needed a seat… so make sure you give R2D2 a seat!! Also, to make sure our Jedi did not fall into the bottle, we taped a small piece of pipe cleaner inside to form a seat that he straddles. You can see part of it in the last two images.

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what can you do with the recycle bin?

written by tammy

Sometimes we’re in the mood to craft, but haven’t a single idea! What to do? Hit up the recycle bin for inspiration.

Today, we created this Family Car for the Playmobil toys out of:

- an empty juice bottle
- ribbon holders
- styrofoam food tray
- 2 straws
- chopsticks, from takeout
- foam balls
- ribbon
- felt

The rundown:

We made a hole in the top for passengers, then taped 2 straws to the bottom of the bottle, pushed the chopsticks through the straws and secured to our ribbon-holder wheels with a dab of glue.

Next, we cut the styrofoam tray into rectangular shapes for seats and used some felt and ribbon to add flare.

Since there was lots of adult help for this project, we decided to use the hot glue gun to secure the embellishments since it bonds well with plastic.

** Have an adult cut any necessary holes with a sharp kitchen or craft knife **

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diy lightsaber

written by tammy

Supplies:

- paper towel tube
- toilet paper tube
- aluminum foil
- clear packing tape
- black electrical tape (or black magic marker)
- red sharpie (permanent marker works best!)
- scissors

1. Choose the color construction paper you want for your lightsaber blade, wrap it around the paper towel tube leaving 1/2 inch of paper overhanging on one side, securing paper with a small piece of tape, and then tuck the excess paper into the top of the tube.

2. Wrap a piece of aluminum foil around the toilet paper tube to create the handle. Use a piece of aluminum foil that is slightly larger than the tube, so that the overlapping foil can be tucked into the tube at both ends.

3. Embellish the handle with a stripe or two of electrical tape & draw a button on with red marker.

4. Pinch-in the bottom of the lightsaber blade and insert it into the top of the toilet paper handle, pushing firmly until the fit is snug.

5. Laminate and secure the entire lightsaber by covering it with overlapping pieces of packing tape. Using lengthwise strips of tape, that are about 3/4 of an inch larger than the project, on each end, tucking the ends over and into the tubes each time a new layer is applied. Will take 3-4 long pieces of tape. *If doing this project with a young child, or as a party-activity, this is a good step for the adults to help out with*

(click on an image to enlarge)

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make a bowl

written by tammy

(click on an image to enlarge)

* * please bear in mind, the finished project is not suitable for food * *

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flower cans

written by tammy

flower cans

This one’s plain, simple, and best when duplicated.

Empty metal cans are an eco-stylish decorating advantage. These cheap and useful vases are a great way to disperse flowers throughout your home and yard while entertaining this summer season.

Simply collect and clean out your empty food cans. Tomato cans work well, because the inside of the can is coated with a special enamel finish, but any empty can will do.

If working with children, please make sure there are no sharp edges where the lid came off. If so, going over the area with a can opener one more time will usually do the trick.

To prevent rust rings on your furniture or ledges, coat the bottom of each can with clear nail polish, and allow to dry completely.

Fill the cans halfway with water. Add a few small stones to the bottom of each can to weigh them down, and then add the flowers. Tiny hands will find it fun and easy arranging flowers in these mini-marvels.

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