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Topic: Recycled Crafts for a Group of Teens  (Read 3632 times)
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« on: January 04, 2008 05:18:31 AM »

Hi everyone,

I'm a youth services librarian and I am thinking about offering a recycled crafts program for teens in celebration of Earth Day (in April). Does anyone have any suggestions for quick and easy recycled crafts that would appeal to teens (aged 14-18), would not need a lot of special/expensive supplies, and could be completed in an hour or less by crafting newbies?

Thanks in advance for your ideas!
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2008 05:59:52 AM »

We took old blue jeans and covered cheap 3 ring binders in girl scouts on year. then decorated them with stickers, markers etc

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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2008 06:23:21 AM »

recycled paper is always fun, cheap, and pretty quick.

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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2008 04:55:08 AM »

Thanks for the suggestions. Unfortunately, I don't think that they would work for my purposes.

I guess what I am looking for are crafts that are hip and that would appeal to teen males and females who may or may not be all that interested in crafts - something that would be cool enough to make them want to craft when ordinarily, they might not craft at all.

I am also looking for crafts that require few specialized supplies and that make use of ordinary/household items (this could include CDs, as we have a lot of scratched ones destined for the garbage at the library) that I could collect from staff over the next few months.

« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008 06:17:42 PM »

you could do bottlecap necklaces they are unisex and only require a nail, hammer, a hard surface, jump rings, bottle caps and something to string it on
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recycling with a twist!

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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2008 02:23:25 PM »

Using recycled materials is always cheap. Plus it helps to reinforce the idea that recycling is important.

They could make a Cereal Box Wallet like this:

or they could take a few soda bottles and make wrist cuffs like in this article:

There's tons of stuff you can do with old soda bottles, plus they're a free material and it's fairly easy to get a good supply together.

« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2008 06:56:02 PM »

CD coasters - glue felt or scrap fabric on one side and paint/collage on the other.

CD Book - Use a hand drill to put a hole in a stack of CDs at one side, which you can run ribbon/string/big old keyring through to make a book.  Basically you collage, paint,  scrapbook each 'page' and turn it into a journal, album, address book or whatever.

CD animals - hear me out, I know it sounds ridiculous.  Take a cd, add paper fins and stuff and hang it up, but instead of making goldfish or little nemo's, make evil looking viper fish or piranhas or something.  They look pretty hanging up, growling at people as they walk by.

You could go the duct tape route and make wallets/purses.

If anyone knows how to crochet, cut strips from plastic bags and crochet them into a tote - handy for dumping wet swimmers in after a dip, or reusable shopping bags.

Paper strips can be painted with glue, rolled on chopsticks to dry then painted or varnished to make beads.  These can be strung into jewelery, door curtains, windcatchers, or even made into bowls and things.  Good way to use up old magazines/newspapers.

Old bottles can become new gift boxes - decorate, add tags, fill with homemade bath salt (rock salt or epsom salts scented with essential oils or perfume), or in-a-jar cookie mixes.  Or make lanterns - lose the lid, decorate with glued on tissue paper or paint, stick in a candle and make a wire handle.

Tin can lanterns make good use of soda cans or food cans.  Fill with water and freeze, then take a tin punch and hammer and punch in designs.  Add a wire handle and a tea light candle.

Old plastic bottles can be turned into racing cars or rockets with some creative paper decorating and a bit of bi carbonate of soda and vinegar.  (My husband, a high school science teacher, does this with his kids all the time.  I never have any bi-carb in my cupboard!!!)  There's a way to turn them into submarines too, but I don't have the technical details for that one.

You could make collage paper angel/doll things out of old magazines and bits of ribbon, wire, beads, etc... good way to display poems.  Um, I have a picture of one from a shop, here (sorry the image isn't great):
Old clothing/accessories like shirts, ties, bandannas, jeans, etc can be revamped using stencils and fabric paint or acrylic with fabric medium, or sew into wallets, purses, bags, cushions, pillows and plushie type toys.   Cut up scraps of fabric can be used as filling for the latter.  Softer fabrics like fleece, old sweats, etc can be cut into squares, stitched together then finished with blanket stitch to make blankets and throw rugs.  These can also be stenciled or otherwise decorated (and donated to charity, hospitals, nursing homes etc, if you're looking for a community craft).
Socks and gloves can be turned into toys/puppets  - there was a sock monkey challenge on here a while back that was awesome, and I'm sure it would give you plenty of ideas.

Make cards or stationary using stamps made of old junk like bubble wrap, carved erasers or lino tiles, crumpled foil, etc.  Books exiting circulation can be recycled - turned into altered books or journals.  There'd be plenty of examples on the forums here.

Making jewellery from bits and pieces is fun, but you'll probably need things like pliers, findings etc. and someone who knows how to use them. 

CD cases can be glued into boxes, displaying album art, poems, photos, mini-collages, etc. 

Okay, I'm gonna stop now. 


Blog of fairy tale pretties:  http://summerfaire.com/
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2008 10:23:17 AM »

Being in the target age group, I would say go with t-shirt surgery.  There are multiple books out there (my library has some, yours might) that are really user-friendly.  All the kids would need is an old t-shirt, scissors, and a needle and thread (or sewing machine), and some of the projects don't even require sewing.  If you're doing this, I'd recommend "Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt" by Megan Nicolay.

Have fun! I wish my library had cool programs like that Cheesy

I have a whole bunch of fliers advertising a series of concerts (but all the fliers are the same), does anyone want them?
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