Recycling is important for us to look after the planet and our resources, but it can also be fun! If you have some empty plastic bottles lying around, you could try making them into something new at home, rather than sending them straight off to the recycling centre. Here are some plastic bottle crafts for kids and adults.
Safety advice: Before you start upcycling plastic bottles, make sure the bottles are clean and dry. Kids should always be supervised if they’re using scissors or other sharp objects. Cut plastic edges can also be sharp, so it’s worth smoothing them with sandpaper or an emery board. If you’re following the bracelet-making instructions, an adult should handle the iron.
Plastic bottle craft: How to make plastic bottle flowers
If you’re in a decorating mood, why not learn how to make plastic flowers out of bottles? It’s easiest to make these using a symmetrical bottle with a screw-on cap, such as a water or soft drink bottle. Leave the cap on.
- If you’re working with paint or glue for decoration, it’s likely to get messy, so put down newspapers or a table cloth for crafts before you start.
- You’ll normally find a ridge just above the label. If you cut along this ridge with scissors, you should end up with a plastic cone with the bottle cap at the centre. If you’re having trouble making the first cut, try piercing a hole in the bottle with a craft knife, so you can get the scissors through the hole and start snipping. Make sure there’s an adult present for this.
- The cap is the centre of the flower, and we’re going to make petals from the cone around it. Divide the petals up by making vertical cuts at even intervals, from the base of the cone up to slightly before the cap. Five cuts is a good number.
- Pull the segments back, towards the cap, to separate them out. Trim the edges to make them more rounded and petal-like.
- When your bottle top looks flowery enough, it’s time to decorate! You could colour your plastic bottle flowers with acrylic paint or permanent marker, and you can also glue on glitter or sequins.
Other things to make with plastic bottles
- Where better to display your plastic bottle flowers than in a plastic bottle vase? You’ll want a large, sturdy bottle for this, such as a Persil detergent bottle. Cut off the very top of the bottle, then decorate the rest. Just like the flowers, you could paint your vase with acrylics or cover it in glitter and sequins. Wrap pipe cleaners around the bottle caps to create stems for your plastic flowers, then arrange them in your brand new vase.
- If you’ve got plants that need a home, you can also use detergent bottles as a makeshift flowerpot. Cut across the bottle about a third of the way up from the bottom; it could be a straight cut or, if you’re feeling ambitious, a wavy pattern or even an animal silhouette. Decorate the lower section, add soil and use it for small plants. If you’re planning to use this outside, put holes in the bottom so excess water can drain away when it’s been raining. If you’re using it indoors, holes will mean you’ll end up with water and soil all over your furniture, so you’ll probably want to avoid them!
- Believe it or not, you can make bracelets out of plastic bottles! You’ll want a fairly small bottle for this, so the bracelet isn’t too loose on your wrist. Decide how wide you want your bracelet to be and mark a strip of that width, then cut out the strip using scissors or a craft knife. Press the cut edges of the strip against a medium-hot iron and move them gently up and down to round them out – this involves dealing with a hot iron and sharp edges, so make sure an adult does it. You can paint your new bracelet with acrylics or even nail varnish.
These are just a few ideas for what to make with plastic bottles! If you have a spare afternoon, get the whole family together and try out one of these bottle craft projects. They’re a great way to reduce waste and have fun.