Craft Corner: 5 Upcycled Art Projects for Eco-Friendly Fun

Earth Day is April 22

By Natasha Bethea Goodwin, publisher of Macaroni KID District Heights, Md. April 14, 2024

Earth Day is a time to reflect on the state of our planet and the ways we can contribute to its preservation. 

We can teach our children the importance of conservation, recycling, and reducing waste by participating in Earth Day activities. 

Celebrating Earth Day through recycled art projects is a fantastic way for families to bond while teaching the importance of conservation and resourcefulness. These creative activities inspire children to think critically about the environment and provide an enjoyable, hands-on experience that instills eco-friendly values.

Here are five ideas for recycled art projects for your kids to get creative and celebrate Earth Day!

1. Create a magazine collage

What You Need: 

  • Old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A large piece of paper or cardboard

What You Do:

  1. Have kids browse old magazines and cut out images, words, or patterns that appeal to them.
  2. Arrange the cutouts on paper or cardboard to create a unique collage.
  3. Glue the cutouts in place and let the artwork dry before displaying it.

Saffires Blue | Canva

2. Craft an egg carton flower wreath

What You Need:

  • Egg carton, empty and clean
  • Paper plate
  • Scissors
  • Paint 
  • Paintbrushes

What You Do:

  1. Cut out individual egg cups from the carton.
  2. Trim the edges of each egg cup to create flower petals.
  3. Paint the egg carton flowers in various colors and let them dry.
  4. Cut the center from a paper plate.
  5. Glue your flowers to the outside of the plate.

Alternatively, if you have pipe cleaners, you can poke a hole in the center of each flower and thread a pipe cleaner through it, twisting the end to secure it in place. Then, arrange the "flowers" in a jar or bundle them together to create a colorful bouquet.

Kara Murphy

3. Upcycle a carton into a bird feeder

What You Need: 

  • Empty cartons
  • Knife
  • Scissors
  • Yarn or string
  • Paint
  • Birdseed

What You Do:

  1. Have an adult cut out the sides of the carton. You can cut out one, two, three, or all four sides. 
  2. Now it's time to decorate! Get creative and have fun! Use paint or markers that will withstand the weather.
  3. Poke holes in the top of the carton, then string the yarn through the holes. 
  4. Fill the container with birdseed.
  5. Hang in a spot outside and wait for the birds to enjoy!

Renae Gonzalez

4. Transform a plastic bottle into a planter

What You Need: 

  • Empty plastic bottles
  • Scissors or a craft knife
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Soil
  • Small plants or seeds

What You Do:

  1. Cut the top off each plastic bottle, leaving a container with an open top.
  2. Paint the outside of the bottle with fun designs or patterns and let it dry.
  3. Fill the bottle with soil and plant seeds or small plants inside.
  4. Place the planters on a windowsill or in your garden to grow your Earth Day garden.

Nungning 20 | Canva

5. Construct a cardboard box castle

What You Need: 

  • Empty cardboard boxes
  • Scissors or a craft knife
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tape or glue

What You Do:

  1. Collect various sizes of empty cardboard boxes and cut out doors and windows using scissors or a craft knife.
  2. Paint the boxes with colorful designs, such as bricks or stone patterns, and let them dry.
  3. Assemble the boxes to create a castle structure, securing them with tape or glue.
  4. Encourage your kids to play in their Earth Day castle, using their imaginations to create eco-friendly adventures.

Patrick Heagney | Canva