How to Make a Toy Car Out of Recycled Material

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Things You'll Need

  • Plastic pop bottle

  • Fine-grain sandpaper

  • Craft knife

  • Drinking straws

  • Scissors

  • Bamboo skewers

  • Large pop bottle caps

  • Acrylic paint

Reusing or repurposing materials that would otherwise be tossed away is not only a way to help the environment, it's a creative challenge. By making a toy car model using a plastic pop bottle and bottle caps--materials found in almost any recycle bin--you can also create something that will last for quite some time to come. The car is a useful project for teaching resourcefulness and sustainability.


Step 1

Prepare the bottle. Wash it thoroughly, remove the label and screw the lid tightly in place. Rub down the plastic with fine-grain sandpaper; this will help the paint adhere evenly later.

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Step 2

Cut the beverage bottle open to form the shape of the car's cabin. Use a craft knife to cut out a rectangle shape in the side of the bottle to create an open-top, convertible-style car.


Step 3

Glue sections of straws to the underside of the cabin using hot glue; these will allow the wheels to spin when the spokes are threaded through them. Cut straws into sections about 3/4 inch long and glue them on the side of the bottle opposite the hole you cut out for the cabin. Position the straws so that they would be parallel to the floor if the bottle was sitting up. On each side, position them about a quarter of the bottle's length in from either end of the bottle.


Step 4

Thread bamboo skewers through the straws. These will become the spokes for the wheel.


Step 5

Drill a hole through the center of each bottle cap. Use a drill bit as close to the width of the bamboo skewers as possible, but err on the small side.



Step 6

Attach the wheels to the car. Thread the bottle caps onto the four exposed sides of the bamboo skewers. Position the caps so that the tops face away from the cabin of the car. Push them in so they're almost flush with the side of the cabin, but with enough room to spin. Trim the bamboo skewers using pruning shears or wire snips.


Step 7

Apply small amounts of hot glue to the exposed nubs of the trimmed bamboo skewers. Use enough to cover the wood. This will hold the spokes in place.


Step 8

Paint the car. Use a glossy acrylic in the color of your choosing for the cabin and black paint for the wheels. If you like, paint the inner circles of the wheels gray to represent the metal workings.


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