My Favorite Upcylced Craft Supplies

upcylced craft materials

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Making things out of things that would otherwise be considered trash or headed to the recycling bin is a lot of fun. The girl loves to make constructions from random things she finds laying around (one bonus to having an art area that isn’t very tidy!) and I like to encourage this by having lots of stuff handy for her to work with.upcylced craft materials

Here are some of our favorite upcycled craft supplies and some ideas on how to use them.

Cardboard tubes. It’s more sanitary to just use the tubes from paper towels, wrapping paper, cling wrap and so on, but I’ll admit we use TP tubes sometimes, too. These are great for making arms and legs of creatures, for making into creatures or puppets themselves, even for storage.

Plastic bottle caps. We inherited a bunch of bottle caps from the girl’s former teacher when she retired, so we have a wealth of options for eyes, making stacks or concentric circle crafts, using as stamps and more. Since we use milk that comes in a carton rather than a jug, we also keep the little pull tabs, which make fun rings or are just cool to add three dimensions to an artwork.

upcycled craft supplies
My daughter’s class used newspaper, yarn, white paper and tulle to make a nest with eggs.

Yarn ends. I’ve written about my love for yarn ends before. They’re great for hair, making nests, using as kite or balloon strings in drawings, even using as a paintbrush. Bits of ribbon are great, too.

Cardboard boxes. Every kid loves a good cardboard box. Small ones can be the bodies of creatures, or they can be stacked into structures. Cut windows out of big ones and you have a fun house. Long ones can be boats, airplanes or cars. It seems like we always have one big box being used for some kind of crafty or imaginative play all the time.

Plastic containers. There are lots of plastic containers our city won’t recycle, and these containers and their lids often end up in the art area. I love using lids as paint palettes, and the containers can be used both to hold things and as part of art projects.

Making an Upcycled Construction Box

If your kids are already into this kind of tinkering or constructing, or you just want to encourage it, putting together a box of materials is a great place to start.materials in an upcycled construction box

To any of the above you might want to add:

  • pipe cleaners
  • stickers
  • googly eyes
  • tape and/or glue
  • paper and scissors
  • craft sticks
  • pom poms
  • markers

or anything else your child might like to use when building with these materials.

Constructive play like this is great for kids because it boosts their creativity and imagination while promoting fine motor skills, problem solving, engineering and more.

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Tinkering is a great way to play, and it’s a lot of fun to see what they come up with.

Do your kids build with upcycled craft materials or use them in other ways? I’d love to hear about it!

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  1. All of these items are used frequently at our house, but I hadn’t thought of making a kit out of them! Great idea!

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