Upcycle household bits and pieces to make clever eco creations with your little ones

UPCYCLE household bits and pieces to make clever creations with your little ones.

Here Natasha Harding shows you how . . .


THESE little farmyard friends are made from small juice ­cartons that can be tricky to recycle.


5 small empty juice cartons
Masking tape
About 2 cups of sand/rice
White paint for the base
PVA glue
Paints for your chosen animals
Black felt-tip pen
Felt or card scraps for your ­chosen animals


  1. If you don’t have juice boxes, you could try making these little skittles from small bottles, cereal selection boxes, cardboard tubes or tin cans.
  2. Begin by opening the juice boxes carefully at the base, washing them out and leaving them to dry. Seal the top straw hole with masking tape.
  3. Fill the boxes about one-third of the way up with sand or rice, then reseal the bases with ­masking tape.
  4. To make a base coat, mix white paint with PVA glue to roughly equal quantities and paint the boxes, then leave to dry.
  5. Paint the boxes the main ­colour for each animal.
  6. We made an orange cat, a yellow chicken, a white cow, a pink pig, and a beige dog.
  7. Leave to dry.
  8. Draw on the faces for your animals using pencil, then fill in the different parts using paint.
  9. Once they are dry, you can go over the details with a black felt-tip pen.
  10. Cut little ears from matching pieces of felt or card and glue them on.
  11. Find yourself a ball, line up the skittles and knock them down.


YOU can turn your prints into cards, gift tags or wrapping paper.


  • Items such as feathers and leaves
  • Paint and paintbrush
  • Card
  • Paper scraps


  1. Head outside and find a selection of feathers, leaves or grasses that you think have an interesting shape or pattern.
  2. If you are using a feather, make sure the surface of it is spread out nicely.
  3. Place the feather or leaf on a scrap of paper and apply a thin layer of paint with a paintbrush.
  4. Place on to some card and lay another scrap of paper on top.
  5. Press down firmly, then remove the paper and peel away the feature or leaf to leave a print.
  • Extracted from Eco Craft Book, by Laura Minter and Tia Williams, (GMC Publications, £12.99), ­available online and from all good bookshops.


THESE frames are easy to make. Remember, the bigger the frame, the more magazine pages you need to roll up.


  • Corrugated cardboard for the frame base
  • Scissors
  • Old glossy magazines
  • Wooden skewer
  • PVA glue
  • Decorative paper tape
  • String


  1. Begin by cutting out the ­cardboard frame.
  2. This one was big enough to put a 12x16in (A3 size) picture in.
  3. Cut magazine pages to size.
  4. The bigger your pages, the fatter your roll will be. We cut our pages to 6x8in (A5 size) to make these rolls.
  5. Roll each piece of magazine using a wooden skewer.
  6. Add a line of glue at the end to seal it.
  7. Slide off the skewer and leave to dry.
  8. Repeat to make enough rolls to cover your frame – this frame needed about 100 rolls.
  9. Each roll was cut in half.
  10. Organise your rolls into ­colours and stick them on to the frame.
  11. Once the rolls are dried, trim the excess from the side of the frame.
  12. Display your artwork with pride.
  13. If you want to hang the frames on the wall, add string to the back of the frame using craft glue.


TURN old fizzy drink ­bottles into something you’ll keep ­forever by transforming them into adorable bear plant pots.

YOU NEED (for each bear):

  • Large fizzy drink bottle, cleaned and dried
  • Sharp scissors
  • Felt-tip pen
  • Black, white, brown and pink paint
  • Permanent black pen (optional)
  • PVA glue


  1. Using a felt-tip pen, mark the placement of the ears and top edge of your pot on the bottle – about 4in (10cm) up from the base.
  2. Cut this out carefully using sharp scissors – ask an adult to help with this.
  3. For the ears, you might find it easier to cut them out roughly to start with then cut in carefully to add the detail.
  4. Draw on the features of the bear with felt-tip pen – the eyes, ears, nose and mouth.
  5. Mix the colours for your bear with equal amounts of PVA glue to make a paint that adheres to plastic.
  6. On the inside of the bottle, fill in the features of the bear by layering up the paint.
  7. For a panda, start with black pupils, the ears, nose and mouth and leave to dry (use a permanent black pen for the fiddly bits).
  8. Then add the white eyeballs, followed by the black eye patches, then paint it white all over for the bear’s fur.
  9. Repeat for the other pots.
  10. For a brown bear, start with the black pupils, nose, mouth and pink ears.
  11. Then add a black rim around the eyes and finish by painting the pot all over with the brown.
  12. For the polar bear, paint the black pupils, nose, mouth, a black rim around the eye and grey ears before painting the pot white. You might need two or three coats for even coverage. Leave to dry.
  13. Once dry, add a final layer of PVA glue to the inside of all the pots to add a bit more durability against water from the plants.
  14. Pop some plants (use plant pots with holes) inside your bears and you’re all finished.


THESE take about ten minutes to make and will bring lovely birds to your garden (plus the odd squirrel).


  • Twine
  • Pine cones
  • Smooth peanut butter (unsalted)
  • Teaspoon
  • Birdseed


  1. Tie the twine around the stem of each cone – you will need about 12in (30cm).
  2. Spread peanut butter all over the cones with a ­teaspoon.
  3. Get in between the scales and cover the whole thing.
  4. Dip the cones in birdseed, using the spoon to press it into the gaps.
  5. Hang from a tree and wait for hungry birds.

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