Recycled Decorative Containers

Recycled Decorative Containers

With school not too far off we should be thinking of fun ways to organize ourselves and the kids. These two crafts are simple and fun for the entire family!


Try this fun and frugal trick for covering smaller cardboard containers. I use the smaller rounded cardboard containers, the type that hold cornmeal but this could be done with any heavier box. It makes a great holder for scissors, rulers and pencils.
You will need:

Empty cornmeal or oatmeal containers-or boxes

Strips or smaller pieces of colored paper

White Glue


Optional: Buttons, stickers, decorative shapes

Tear strips or save scraps of colored paper (construction paper works well). Dip the paper in a mixture of 1/2 water and 1/2 white glue-the type that dries clear. Cover your box or container with the strips, smoothing down as you go. Cover the entire surface and allow to dry overnight. You can also cover the lid in the same manner to match the box. At this point it's ready to use or you can decorate with matching buttons and other small items that can be glued to the surface.

Using this same technique with small and medium cardboard boxes and a little imagination can turn the ordinary into special treasures for your children and yourself!

Pencil Boxes from the Heart

Going back to school is a transition for the entire family. It seems as if both parent and child are ready for that time apart again, but they both miss each other once the time is here. Sure, there is that first day when it's quiet at last, and then you realize it's TOO quiet! One thing you can do to make it a little easier for your kids is to make a special pencil and gadget box for their school desk. But this isn't just any box, it has a special surprise in the lid...

You'll need:

a cardboard pencil box, or cigar box


glue (Elmer's or craft glue)


Contact paper

Optional: paint, magazine cutouts, stickers

The first part of this project is to be done with your children. Help them paint the box a base color-any favorite color will do. Allow it to dry. At this point you can do SO many things. They can glue buttons, beads, sequins, glitter, etc. on the box itself. Keep in mind that you don't want to make it too cluttered, but let them be creative. You can use stickers or pictures that have been cut out of magazines as well. To seal over these, mix one cup glue to 1/2 cup water and dip your cut-outs into the glue mixture. Smooth them onto the lid, and allow this to dry. You can also shellac the entire box when it's finished. For small kids, you can even keep it as simple as drawing pictures on the box! Set the boxes aside, because the next step is just for you.

Find a family picture, one of everyone waving at the camera is great. Measure the inside front cover of the pencil box and carefully cut a piece of clear contact paper to that size. Place your picture in the center of the box lid (you want space on all sides). You can glue it into place if you wish to help hold it in place. Lay your piece of contact paper, sticky side down, over the picture and the inside lid. Smooth it down very carefully until it's attached firmly and there are no air bubbles.

If possible, do this the night before school, and fill it with pencils, erasers, a small ruler, crayons etc. When your child gets to school and opens their new box they will see their family smiling at them while they start a new day of learning!

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Recommended Book

Bottle Cap Activities:

Recycled Crafts for All Ages

by Kathy Cisneros

"This book includes year round creations with seasonal themes as well as an Earth Day environmental play with the designs and illustrations to make all the posters and costumes with the plastic bottle caps!" (Author's note)

Click Here for more information.


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