10 Fun Crafts You Can Make Out of Trash

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Adam Smith famously said that nothing is certain "except death and taxes." To these two certainties, however, I'd like to add: "garbage." Yep. We humans produce lots and lots of garbage – many of it non-biodegradable, which is made evident by our ever-growing landfills. And although many local governments have efficient recycling programs and more companies are creating eco-friendly products and using green packaging materials, every one of us should also play our part in the war against trash. Lucky for us crafters, there are loads of fun, festive and fancy things you can actually make out of your refuse!

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1. Wine Bottle Tiki Torches

This summer, illuminate your backyard barbecue nights with these fun tiki torches, made from used wine bottles. All it takes are some items you can find at your local/online hardware and craft stores including tiki torch wicks, copper couplings, thread seal tape and you'll be set. For an added bonus, use citronella tiki torch fuel to make your torches mosquito repellent.

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Other Materials You'll Need:

Click here to see the tutorial.

2. Cardboard Bus Cat House

Cat parents, you know better than anyone else that there are hours of potential feline fun to be had with large cardboard shipping boxes. Up your cardboard box game by turning it into this too-awesome-for-words vintage VW Bus Cat House. I mean, come on. If you've got a cat and a large cardboard box in your home right now and you ​don't​ make this – well, that's just criminal.

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Other Materials You'll Need:

Click here to see the tutorial.

3. Easter Eggshell Vases

You may already compost your egg shells or simply crush them and sprinkle in your garden as fertilizer, but there are also some crafts to be made with these calcium rich casings. For example, these cute eggshell vases propped up in a ceramic egg holder that you can fill with fresh or dried flowers. Keep this easy project in mind when planning your next Easter dinner table spread!

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Other Materials You'll Need:

Click here to learn how to hollow out an egg to make these simple vases.

4. Soda Can Hanging Lanterns

Before tossing all of your aluminum cans into the recycling bin, keep a few in reserve. Why? Because, believe it or not, they've got the potential to elevate your next outdoor soiree. With some twine, soda cans, and candles, you can have a charming string of hanging lanterns for an air of calm, outdoor ambience. For added safety, we recommend using flameless LED tea lights.

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Other Materials You'll Need:

Click here to see the tutorial.

5. No-Sew Pet Food Sack Grocery Bags

Pet parents, don't throw out those large food sacks. Since they're made from material tough enough to withstand tears and to hold lots of weight, use those properties to your advantage by turning them into reusable grocery bags! This fun, no-sew craft is not only nice to Mother Earth, but the bags also serve as a conversation starter at the supermarket if you want to inspire others to take part in the waste-reduction revolution.

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Other Materials and Tools You'll Need:

Click here to see the tutorial.

6. Cardboard Box Play Appliances

Cardboard boxes don't only spell fun for felines, but their playtime potential for kids is off the charts. You can basically turn ​any​ cardboard box into a play appliance. Here are two tutorials that will help you do just that. First, an adorable cardboard range and oven – perfect for the tiny, budding chef in your life. You can also make a cardboard washer and dryer that'll prepare your tots for doing their future chores! (Now ​that's​ what I call a strategic move, Mom and Dad.)

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Other Materials and Tools You'll Need:

Click here for the range oven tutorial and here for the cardboard washer/dryer.

7. "I Spy" Bottle Travel Game

Let's face it. As long as there are road trips, kids will pester parents with that all-too-familiar question: "are we there yet?" Sure, there are iPads and other gizmos to keep them entertained, but if you're limiting their daily screen time, this is the project for you. This "I Spy" bottle game is made using a clear glass or plastic bottle that's not only fun for kids to make, but it'll provide something for them to do when you're on the road. If you have a tough time finding little items to insert into the bottle, we suggest getting a pack of mini erasers in fun shapes and/or miniature dollhouse play items.

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Suggested Materials:

Click here to see the tutorial.

8. Fall Wreath from Recycled Grocery Bags

You can toss those bulky brown paper grocery bags in the recycling bin, but you can also keep a few for wrapping gifts (you know, for those "brown paper packages tied up with string"). Or, you can make this pretty fall wreath. Perfect craft to make with the kids who'll love cutting out fun shapes like leaves and coils for the paper rosettes. All this festive fun, and it's 100 percent free! If you prefer a less monochrome look, try coloring the rosettes using acrylic paint or cutting them out from leftover scraps of gift wrapping paper.

Optional Materials:

Click here to see the tutorial.

9. Seasonal Sensory Bottles

More fun with bottles! This time, providing some sensory stimulation with a seasonal twist. Using four plastic bottles, you can create lovely snowglobe-esque scenes representing the seasons. Give them a shake and you'll be able to enjoy a glittery winter wonderland during the summer and watch mini orange leaves whirl in the spring. And here's a extra tip for achieving that characteristic slo-mo falling effect you get with snow globes – add vegetable glycerin to the water!

Suggested Materials:

Click here to see the tutorial.

10. Fairy Lanterns From Old Jars

Turn those empty pasta sauce and pickle jars into these beautifully whimsical fairy-themed lanterns. Decorate your jars with cut-out silhouettes of fairies, moss, and artificial plants. Illuminated by an indoor-safe LED candle, your little one (or even you!) can use this lantern as a charming bedroom night light or as garden decor.

Suggested Materials:

Click here to see the tutorial.

More to Explore

These projects only scratch the surface when it comes to stuff you can make with objects you thought were destined for the bin. For example, here are 10 Creative Ways to Reuse Cereal Boxes: 10 Brilliant Ways to Reuse Plastic Shopping Bags and 10 Genius Bubble Wrap Home Hacks. Happy trash hunting!

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