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From Trash to Crafts

Empty Film Canisters

Here are some crafts that you can make with empty film canisters:

  • Stamp bodies (see the earlier Styrofoam section).

  • Film canisters make great containers for small things. (Just make sure to label them so you know what's inside without having to open each one.) I like them for holding tiny seed beads when I travel.

  • Film canisters make nice, small salt and pepper shakers, perfect for a picnic. Paint and use an awl or nail to poke holes through the top.

So, next time you snap some pictures and send the rolls to be developed, remember to save the containers.

Glass Jars

Here are some fun uses of glass jars in all shapes and sizes:

  • Baby-food jars make great snow globes. Larger jars make larger globes. I especially like the shape of the jar that marshmallow fluff comes in.

  • Glass jars can be use to hold small candles. Use a baby-food jar to hold a tea light or a slightly larger jar to hold a votive candle. You can also use heavier glass jars for container candles. Place them inside a luminaria. This increases safety and ensures that the flame won't blow out.

  • Make a windproof candle lantern. Turn the jar so the opening is right side up and insert a candle into the jar. Attach a wire or cords around the neck, and hang.

  • Use glass jars to store kitchen crafts, like dried herbs, spice mixtures, scented potions, and bath salts. You can also place these crafts in decorated glass jars to give as gifts.

  • Make decorative powdered-sugar or talcum-powder shakers by perforating the tops of the jars and decorating the glass.

Using glass painting techniques, you'll be able to decorate these to make items even more attractive.

Glass Bottles

Like glass jars, glass bottles of all sizes can be used in crafts. Here are some ideas:

  • Use them for terrariums.

  • You can decorate nicely shaped discarded glass bottles and use them as vases or rooting jars, or as containers for homemade oils, vinegars, bath oils, and many other items.

  • Using a bottle cut you can expand the possibilities still further. An overturned bottle with the top cut off makes a minigreenhouse for tender spring seedlings.

Plastic Jugs and Cartons

Here are some creative ideas that make use of clean plastic containers:

  • Use them as musical rhythm shakers.

  • Use plastic milk cartons to make a dulcimer pick, which are much like a guitar picker only lighter. They're just the right weight and you can cut them in any shape you want. Margarine-tin tops cut into wedges make another good stringed-instrument pick.

  • Cut the bottom off a clear plastic jug, unscrew the top, and use as a mini-greenhouse to protect plants outside when it's still cold and plants are tender. (Be sure to remove the jug if it gets really hot and sunny, or the plant will burn.)

  • Milk cartons and large plastic containers make excellent planters. A half-gallon milk or juice container can even be cut in half lengthwise and used as a tray to start seeds. Decorate with adhesive-backed paper and be sure to put pebbles in the bottom for drainage.

  • Use a clean plastic bleach bottle as a bird feeder. On each side, two inches from the bottom, cut two feeding holes about three inches square. Put small drainage holes in the bottom of the bottle. Hang from a wire threaded through two holes in the bottle's neck. The birds will never know.



More on: Crafts for Kids

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crafts with Kids © 1998 by Georgene Lockwood. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


August 27, 2014



Don't be afraid of fats! Healthy fats, like those found in nuts, avocado, or cheese, make great lunch additions or snacks, and will help keep your child full until the end of the school day.


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