Rather than sending your used plastic bottles to the recycling bin, gather your children and come up with a list of clever ways to reuse them as free craft material. Once you start brainstorming, you’ll soon realize there are endless creative ways to repurpose them. To help inspire you, I’ve included several plastic bottle crafts for kids to get you started. I bet you can up with even more crafts with plastic bottles!
10 Fun Plastic Water Bottle Crafts
Make a discovery bottle
This is a fun and easy craft that can be done with any size plastic bottle – from a small 8-ounce bottle to a liter size. Pick ten, small toys or objects that will fit through a bottle opening, such as marbles, coins and crayons. Next, grab a bag of rice or small dried beans and use a funnel to fill the bottle a quarter of the way full. Then, add your toy of choice. Repeat these steps until all of the toys have been added, leaving an inch of space at the top of the bottle. Screw the lid tightly back onto the bottle. Have your child roll the new “discovery” bottle to uncover all ten hidden objects. It is a great way to keep them busy during a car ride.
Create mini organizing trays for your desk or bathroom vanity. Have an adult cut the bottom of a plastic bottle off, creating small, round trays. Allow your children to decorate these trays with paint, glitter and buttons. Place them on your counters to keep loose items such as hair-ties, paper clips and bobby pins all in one place. For more tutorial with photos of how to make plastic bottle organizing trays, visit makezine.com
Apple Shaped Gift Holder
This great craft is an adorable and creative way to reuse a 2 liter soda bottle. You only need a few basic craft supplies like scissors and a bit of green construction paper. These easy plastic bottle crafts make make a great gift holder for a teacher’s present. You could stick a real apple inside or a bunch of chocolates or some school supplies. Whatever you like really. Get the full tutorial at RedTedArt.
Have an adult cut off the top portion of a plastic bottle (where it starts to narrow) and punch a few holes into the bottom for drainage. Then, ask your kids to help decorate the new planter with paints. Plant a flower or herbs and display in a sunny area. You could even chose to cut off the top portion leaving ears to create an animal planter as they did at handimania.com
Help your child make a crown by cutting off the top and bottom portion of a soda bottle – the mid-section will be used as the crown. You can cut out a pattern along the top. Once created, make sure to file down any sharp edges before letting your child decorate. Children can decorate their homemade plastic bottle crown using stickers, beads, buttons and glitter to make their perfect crown. You can see a cute example and tutorial at handmadecharlotte.com
Plastic Bottle Stamps
This is a great project for kids of all ages. Use the bottom of a plastic bottle as a stamp for art projects. Put some paint onto a tray and dip the bottom of the empty bottle into various colors. Then, press the dipped bottle onto a poster or cardboard box. These make great flower prints that your children can paint around and expand into beautiful artwork. Different plastic bottles have different shapes and make different prints. Visit alphamom.com for a great tutorial of how Alpha Mom used a plastic bottle bottom as a cherry blossom stamp.
Plastic Bottle Planter
This plastic bottle craft is for older kids because it involves cutting the plastic but you can also do that part for them and just let them get involved in the decorating and planting. You can turn a large plastic bottle into a hanging planter! You just cut a large square window out of both sides of the plastic bottle and then you put dirt inside and plant some seeds or small plants like herbs. Then you can make it a hanging planter by tying string around the top or drilling a hole through the top and threading string through.
Plastic Bottle Puppet Pet Craft
You can also reuse plastic water bottles by turning the bottle over and decorate the outside to create a puppet bunny, frog cat, dog or anything else your little one can dream up. Use card stock paper (the thicker weight stands up better than construction paper) to make the animal out of. Add in a bonus geometry lesson and have your child cut out shapes to make her animal. For example, a circle with two ovals on top is a bunny or a circle with two triangles is a cat. Draw a face on the animal and glue it to the bottle. Drip a few drops of glue into the bottom of the bottle, and toss a bouncy-ball sized piece of modeling clay onto the glue. Use a craft stick or wooden dowel to move the clay into place. Press the stick into the clay to create a handle.
Plastic Bottle Building Blocks
This plastic water bottle reuse is more architecture than crafty art. It also doesn’t have to stay as a permanent fixture, and doesn’t have to look like “something.” After you rinse and dry your water bottles (completely dry them for every project), get the kiddos to start stacking. Use four or five bottles for a basic wall, or take an empty case and create a castle. Your kids can stack the bottles, knock them down and build again. This also lays a foundation or understanding form vs. function. Ask your child if the water bottle shape allows her to build the house, apartments or skyscraper that she sees in her mind. If you want to make her creation permanent, attach the bottles with duct tape. Pic a pretty color (duct tape comes in every hue and pattern imaginable. Really. Last week I saw macaroni and cheese print duct tape. Plastic bottles can be free building blocks that can build whatever you can imagine.
Plastic Bottle Clay Pot
Making an actual pot or cup structure out of clay isn’t always easy for little hands. Reuse a plastic water bottle (that you cut in half) as a base for a clay pot. Your child can roll pieces of modeling clay to make “worms” or snakes.” Roll a few different colors together for a marbleized look. Paint clear drying school glue on the outside of a dry bottle half (dryness is key to making the clay stick) with a thick brush. Press the clay worms and snakes onto the bottle in rows, starting at the bottom and working upwards. This idea is from Mini Monets and Mommies.
Lion Milk Jug Craft
My son, Leo, came up with this cute lion craft . This craft reuses an empty plastic milk jug and turns it into a cute lion your child can play with.
- milk jug
- yellow construction paper or yellow scrapbook paper
- brown acrylic paint
- yellow acrylic paint
- black and brown marker
- paper bowl
- hot glue gun
Paint the milk jug yellow (you can paint the entire thing or just the front) leaving one spot in the middle blank to fill in with brown paint for the lion’s belly. Paint the back side of the paper bowl brown around the edges.
While that dries, trace a circle the same size as the bottom of the bowl on the yellow construction paper (for the lion’s face) and add to half semi circles to the top of face for ears. Now cut out the head and ears as one piece. Next draw a paw with about a 2 inch long arm and a nice big paw with five circular-ish paw pads. Cut out the paw and then trace that paw three more times and cut them out.
Now, paint brown paw pads on each paw, as in the picture. Then use your brown and black marker to draw the lion’s face eyes, nose, mouth and whiskers, as in the picture.
Fold the the last 1/2 inch of the paw arms away from the painted side and use hot glue to attach to the milk jug in arm areas. Attach the lion’s face to the bottom of the bowl with glue gun and then attach bowl to the milk jug spout using a liberal amount of hot glue and holding in place till dry. Voila! Your cute milk jug lion craft is done.
Plastic Bottle Art
Each year Americans toss out roughly 28 billion bottles and jars, according to the EPA that is. Why not try these ways to reuse plastic water bottles, turning old used plastic bottles into art and craft projects? Instead of tossing your water bottles, try one (or all) of these recycled crafts with your kids. Tie these reuse craft activities to a theme, holiday or go with an eco-friendly Earth Day focus for even more fun. I hope this water bottle art inspires you!
Plastic Bottle Flower Art
Reuse a plastic water bottle to make a single flower or have your child craft a garden of water bottle plants. Cut a piece of green tissue paper to fit the height and circumference of the bottle, leaving extra room at the edges. Brush a layer of glue over the paper. Roll the paper around the bottle, tucking the bottom edges under it. Layer four or five pieces of differently colored tissue paper in a stack. Have your child draw a “flower petal” shape. Basically, she can make an uneven oval. Cut the tissue paper out. Help your child to cut a slit in the center that goes all of the way through the layers. Press the top of the water bottle through the slits, fluff the petals and add another piece of tissue to cover the cap.
Plastic Bottle Plaster Sculpture Artwork
This plastic water bottle reuse is totally process oriented. The bottle simply serves as a skeleton to hold the plaster in place. Cover the outside of the bottle with plaster strips. You can buy a roll of dry strips at the craft store. Wet the strips and cover the whole thing – like you’re making a cast. While the plaster is still dripping wet, add some color. Press pieces of bright or bold non-colorfast tissue paper onto the plaster. Don’t use non-bleeding paper, or it won’t work. Also, this is a messy activity. You and your child will get color from the tissue on your hands. I ended up wearing plastic gloves – which I never, ever do when I’m making art. When you pull the tissue off, you’ll have a patterned paint-like look left behind.
Crafts With Plastic Bottles Conclusion
There you have it- several easy crafts from a plastic bottle! If you start thinking about it, there are even more great ideas for how to reuse old plastic bottles. Empty plastic bottles can become anything from a piggy bank to a bird feeder. When you get started with these fun crafts you will likely get more ideas as you work. It feels great to turn what would be plastic waste (like an empty water bottle, plastic soda bottles, or other single-use plastic bottles) into various beautiful crafts with different designs. Which of these plastic bottle crafts for kids is your favorite?
Turning empty bottles into DIY projects is so much fun! Which is your favorite craft to reuse plastic water bottles? Let us know if you have plastic bottle reuse craft ideas too. Share your plastic bottle craft ideas with us on social media @familyfocusblog!