Recycling doesn’t need to be a chore; try recycling in your next art, craft or home decor project. You will be amazed at the versatility of the materials you consider to be rubbish. From practical to pretty, your trash can revitalise the style of your home or office, and contribute to the environment at the same time.
Fun kid-friendly recycling DIY projects
For something less time-consuming that’s easy enough to do with your children or grandchildren, why not collect cardboard boxes, toilet rolls, plastic bottles, yoghurt cups, scrap paper, and all those everyday items that usually end up in the bin?
- Christmas decorations
With the holidays approaching, save your money and make your own decorations this year. Colourful strips of paper can be glued or stapled into connecting loops to make streamers. Create cones out of paper or cardboard triangles by rolling them up, or use toilet rolls. Use colourful paper, paint, glitter or other craft materials to decorate it as an angel, and add cotton wool on the back for wings. A piece of pipe-cleaner can be fashioned into a halo too.
Decoupage is a popular arts and crafts trend, but there is no need to spend large amounts of money on fancy or special pictures. Find old photographs, newspaper cut-outs, school reports, wrapping paper or any paper with an interesting pattern. For the glue simply mix clear-drying cold glue with some water, or make a mixture with flour, oil, sugar and water. Decoupage can be done on almost any surface, so why not match your favourite photo frames with your kitchen cabinet doors and a lampshade?
- Scrapbooking is a great activity for children and adults alike, and a lovely way to preserve memories and tokens. Instead of that pricey gold foil, use tin foil from the kitchen. Birthday wrapping paper is memorable in itself, so adding it to your scrapbook brightens the pages and keeps those memories alive. Small tidbits like sweet wrappers from your favourite shop, sugar sachets with inspiring messages, children’s first drawings or love letters make a more personal scrapbook while reducing waste.
Advanced recycling projects
If you are an experienced DIY enthusiast, these projects will impress your friends who will not believe you’ve used recycled items to create them!
With the right tools and an eye for handiwork, you could create an entire lounge suite out of recycled materials. One of the simplest but most aesthetic solutions lies in wooden pallets. These versatile products can become a variety of tables, benches, couches, stools, and cabinets. Depending on your skill with a saw and a hammer, your pallet furniture could be as complex or simple as you wish, and completely unique.
Homeware designers are focussing their attention on eco-friendly solutions, and all number of utensils, furniture and homeware is now available to buy in recycled materials and fantastic designs.
- In the garden
Old food tins make excellent pot plants, as do plastic containers. Paint them to add colour or leave them as they are for a more rustic look. Stagger different sizes and shapes to create a truly bespoke, interesting garden. Old forks can be used to add labels for different herbs. Old toys or broken decorative statuettes can be placed around the garden to create a child’s dream “fairy garden” instead of adding to the landfill.
Composting is great for the environment and will save money spent on pesticides and soil supplements. Dedicate a corner of your garden to a compost heap and reduce organic waste with every meal. Your plants will thank you too!
For the DIY handyman, tyres can become a swing or garden seat. It is frustrating to see old tyres littering the sides of the road, and tyres should be recycled instead of burned at the dump, so why not collect them and use them to make exciting garden features. They can also be used a plant holders or edging.
Decorate your outer walls or patio with a homemade mosaic design made from recycled materials. Every time you accidently break a plate or glass, put it away safely instead of throwing it out. Collect wine bottles from your ladies night or old china from the hospice, and in no time you will have enough glass and ceramic pieces to create a stunning mosaic. Mosaic grout is affordable and can be found in most craft or hardware stores in South Africa.
Recycling is an environmental and social responsibility, but it can also be fun and useful pastime.