Don’t Throw That Away! – Thrifty Arts & Crafts Supplies

I am the queen of shouting, “Wait!  Don’t throw that away!” as my poor husband starts to chuck some piece of “junk” into the trash can or recycle bin.  I even request family members to sometimes save certain things for me.  Okay, I’ll admit that I do save quite a lot of rubbish to use for arts and crafts and probably do deserve the eye rolls that I get, but can anyone complain when it’s completely FREE, the kids have lots of fun with it, and it keeps the items out of the landfill at least for a little while longer???

Here are some things we save and a few projects we’ve done:

glass and plastic jars with lids
Tornado in a Bottle

toilet paper and paper towel rolls
Toilet Paper Heart Stamping

32 oz. plastic yogurt containers and lids
We use the lids as paint trays for cookie cutter stamp painting
and the containers for storage of markers, colored pencils, etc.

cardboard (packaging from clothing ordered online)
Template for Cutting Hearts

Thrifty scissor practice

bubble wrap
Bubble Wrap Painting and Printing

plastic lids to baby food fruit pouches 

Snowman (his “buttons” are fruit pouch lids)

plastic applesauce cups  

We use as paint or water cups when painting or for sorting small craft items before a project.
And here are some other things I save, though I don’t have any photos of actual projects we’ve done with them:

  • crayons from restaurants 
    • I have a lot of melted crayon and recycled crayon projects I want to try this summer…
  • bread tags
  • extra buttons that come with new clothing
  • junk mail return envelopes
  • ribbons and strings from gifts and packaging
  • plastic and metal lids
  • metal cans that have been opened so that they have smooth edges

Do you save any “trash” to repurpose or have any fun art projects using recyclables?

See my other arts and crafts posts here:

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

  • This is a great list of recycled materials, and what to do with them!

  • Yes ! This awesome I yell don’t toss that don’t throw that away ! To my husband and he shakes his head and is like what are you. Doing I’m like it is for me and the kids to make things he doesn’t understand what we get out of my son comes to me and says mom there’s faces on the bathroom wall well my wall paper has blossoms and butterflies on it well the blossoms and butterflies made a face

  • I use to use bank envelopes for my children’s Lunch money.

  • I use to use bank envelopes for my children’s Lunch money.

  • Rebecca says:

    Oh my gosh! do you know HOW MANY of those plastic fruit pouch lids i have thrown away?!?!? I knew they had to be good for something, but couldn’t think of anything. I will now be saving them all!

    When we were buying A LOT of baby wipes at a time i always bought the large box that had a plastic baby wipe box in it…. so we have a TON of them around now. I have only used one in the last 4 years between 2 kids so we have a lot that were never even used. I am now using them to sort out craft items (pipe cleaner pieces, cut pieces of scrap paper, paint brushes, glitter, etc….) I open them up to take pieces out, and then i just leave the top part open so as the kids are picking up they drop them into the container.

  • Anonymous says:

    styrofoam from the bottom of meat packages, cleaned of course. children can press a pattern in them, then use paint for stamping projects.

  • Anonymous says:

    old lamp shades. use artificial flowers, pull apart and hot glue petals on for a new lampshade…fun for little girls rooms.

    broken jewelry, beads and bobbles for crafts.

    cleaned eggs shells. crushed and colored for children’s mosaics.

  • […] Lots of ideas for doing crafts with reused items. […]

  • 'Becca says:

    This is a great list!! I added a link to it in my big list of ways to reuse things.

  • […] something can be reused, it goes back in the cabinet.  We also save and use a lot of otherwise “trash” materials. […]

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