The average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste each year and by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish!  These staggering facts show how important recycling and up-cycling are. 

Many things can be recycled and almost everything up-cycled, or turned into something new when it no longer serves its purpose.  Here is a list of fun and practical crafts to make from old and recycled materials.

1. Gardens

Fill old containers with soil and plant seeds or off cuts for an eclectic looking recycled garden.  Similarly, try filling a clear plastic bottle with activated charcoal, fresh moss, pebbles, potting soil and small tropical plants to make an adorable recycled terrarium.

2. Tyre Seats

Make comfortable seating out of old tires and cushions.  Paint the tyre and cut a circle out from about ½ inch thick plywood to fit on the top of the tyre.  Use a staple gun to cover the plywood in fabric with some old cushion stuffing underneath.  Place the covered plywood on top of the tyre and you have some comfortable and inexpensive seating.

3. Old Cans

Use old cans for a number of different practical crafts!  Decorate the outsides and use simply for storage, or make a coin slot in an old lid to use as a money box.

4. Fairy House

Use paint, scissors and glue to fashion recycled items into adorable fairy houses. Let kids get creative with recycled materials such as plastic bottles, cans, fabric, paints and flowers to make the ultimate dreamy fairy garden.

5. Dreamcatchers

Cut paper plates to different sizes and connect with old string.  Use paint, glitter and anything else you can find to decorate and you’ll have a whimsical dreamcatcher in no time.

6. Recycled Crayons

Have heaps of tiny crayons lying around?  Melt them down and pour into moulds.  Leave in the fridge to cool and you’ll soon have brand new recycled crayons. Try mixing different colours to make a variety of combinations.

7. Spinning Tops

A basic craft, but bound to make some fun!  Stick a skewer through the lid of an old milk bottle lid and you have your own spinning top. Easy!

8. Papier-Mâché Bowls

A great way to use leftover newspaper to create some elegant bowls.  Blow up a balloon and cover the bottom of it in layers of Papier-Mâché (newspaper and glue) and leave to dry.  Make the bowl as large or small as you like, adding more layers for a thicker bowl.  Once dry remove the balloon and decorate the bowl however you like. Perfect for holding jewellery and other small items.

9. Wind Chimes

Grab a nice good-sized stick and tie small pieces of string around it.  Attach anything you like to the string, think old keys, jar lids, pieces of glass, cutlery and beads, but the options are endless!  Get as creative as you like and have fun decorating these recycled materials.

10. Plastic Bottle Painting

Dip the bottom of large soft drink bottles in paint and apply to paper for an effortless flower print.  Try getting creative and incorporating other recycled elements like newspaper into the craft.