12 Recycling Art Projects

As you ponder the massive amount of waste created each day by your family, think about the potential for art projects that can be created from products that have been headed for a landfill. Talk to your kids about what is recyclable, and brainstorm together about how something used can be given a fresh purpose. Recycling and art projects are a great combination. You can turn your rags and rubbish into fantastic things your friends won’t believe.  Art has the power to transform trash into something beautiful.

In art, recycling is a way of using waste materials to create something new and creative. Did you know that many people create beautiful masterpieces with leftovers in the world. Recycling art is a fast and easy way to transform trash into treasure.

This blog of 25 fun and creative art projects will help children learn to use trash as a resource. Not surprisingly, the materials they need are virtually free: corrugated cardboard and paper towel rolls, empty egg cartons, juice containers, plastic lids, scrap wood, fabric and yarn, tin cans.

What Is Recycled Art?

Whale composed of white plastic waste bags

We all generate trash. Think about the items you throw away every day, such as a plastic wrap, empty boxes, and bottles. Have you ever wondered what you could do with them?

A recycled art piece is created from old, discarded materials that were once destined for some other purpose. Old plastic toys and tires can be recycled and scrap pieces of cloth, building materials, and more. Recycling is the process by which artists repurpose materials to create something new from them. The term ‘junk art’ is sometimes used to describe it, but that definition is somewhat limiting. Recycling does not necessarily mean a piece of junk.

A recycled piece of art is one that utilizes and repurposes materials. You can use any material that you wish. There are no size restrictions on recycled art. There is no difference between two-dimensional and three-dimensional designs. What is the historical background of recycled art?

History of Recycled Art

Utilizing old materials for art is not a new concept. Patchwork quilts were made of fabric from flour sacks and old clothes by early American settlers. The artwork was sometimes carved on spent artillery shells by soldiers in the trenches during World War I. Both instances show people using scraps from previously used objects to create original artwork.

Recycled art developed during the early 20th century. In 1912, Pablo Picasso invented a new technique called collage, in which he bound together bits of paper, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other objects to create new visuals. In addition to his paintings, Picasso also created sculptures from wood scraps and other discarded materials.

Several years after famous artist Duchamp used found objects in his artistic work, another renowned artist uses found objects today. “Found objects” are things that were originally intended for another purpose. As a reaction to the horrors of World War I, Dichamp came up with the Dada movement. Dada challenged expectations and ideas about art by confronting the viewer’s expectations.

A number of Duchamp’s sculptures use bicycle tires, wood furniture, and even a ceramic urinal from a bathroom in their compositions. When he merged them, he included a name, but when it came to the urinal, he displayed it as he originally had it. When choosing objects, he chose recognizable, readily available items.

Robert Rauschenberg, among others, created large artworks called assemblages in the 1950s and 1960s. Among other things, they incorporated discovered objects such as tires, street signs, and taxidermy animals and presented them alongside paintings and splashes of bold color. Using the word combines, Rauschenberg describes the way in which objects and materials are arranged in unexpected ways. The sculptor John Chamberlain used twisted automobile parts in the 1970s and 1980s to create giant sculptures.

The Benefits of Recycling

  • They teach resourcefulness.

Children have to think of new ways to use common materials or products when they use recycled materials. The ultimate creative challenge is taking something made for one purpose and transforming it into something completely different.

  • They are free or cheap!

When there is the option to reuse materials that would otherwise be recycled, why buy them? You can save time and money by raiding the supply bin for project supplies.

  • Our choices impact the environment.

It is possible for products to have both a positive and a negative effect on our environment. It is impossible for any of us to make 100% perfect choices, but we can teach children about making responsible choices by understanding what decomposes and what doesn’t.

Recycling Art Projects

Bubble Wrap Flowers

Source: cleanriver.com

Use bubble wrap to make a flower stamp for this fun art project. The bubble wrap could be cut into a petal shape and dipped in the paint in this manner. Paper, bubble wrap, paint, and a pom-pom are all that is needed to make this bubble wrap flower.

Cereal Box Monsters

3 cereal box art
Source: thesprucecrafts.com

You can create fierce monsters from old breakfast cereal boxes. Once you add bamboo handles to your monsters, you can perform with them like puppets. These rectangular box bases are perfect for you to decorate with faux fur, construction paper, and ribbon.

Turn Old Magazines Into Art

Source: weareteachers.com

This cut-paper art is a very colorful and easy way to recycle magazines while creating beautiful art.  Make this art out of your old magazines today!

Water Bottle Flowers

three colors Flowers
Source: thesprucecrafts.com

Remove the bottoms from plastic water bottles and paint them after trimming them. A curved plastic well resembles the petals on a flower, while a smooth painting surface gives the surface a textured, semitransparent appearance. Add pom pom centers to your bouquet of recycled flowers and mix some glitter into your washable paint.

Tin Can Planters

Source: thesprucecrafts.com

Tin cans need to have drainage holes cut out of the bottom for kids to decorate, however, adults will need to help. You can create a variety of friendly plants with paint, pipe cleaners, and wiggle eyes.

Egg Carton Dragonfly

Source: cleanriver.com

This recycling project is perfect for school. With this fun paper art, egg cartons become colorful dragonflies. Egg cartons can be painted in any color the kids like and use pipe cleaners for antennas. They’ll be buzzing around in no time!

Mini Lid Banjos

Source: thesprucecrafts.com

You will need three things to make this craft: a small screw-top lid, a popsicle stick, and rubber bands. Assemble the handle by attaching the popsicle stick to the lid and attaching the rubber bands to them. By using different rubber band sizes, kids can create different twangy tones.

Crayon Gems

Source: thesprucecrafts.com

You can put crayon scraps into a fun silicon mold by digging them out of the bottom of the bin, peeling off the labels, and putting them into the mold. Let them set on their own or freeze for faster results after melting in the oven for a few minutes. This process rejuvenates the old wax bits, and kids will have fun creating with these new art supplies. 

Create Pebble Art

Source: weareteachers.com

Students can collect small stones and pebbles outside. Then, they can arrange the rocks in creative patterns. You can create as many designs as you like! You can leave the rocks wherever you find them once you’re finished.

Recycled Newspaper Owls

Source: weareteachers.com

Recycling old newspapers into owls helps them discover their spirit animal. You’ll only need markers, watercolors, and scrap paper to bring these characters to life.

Soda Bottle Flower Stamp

Source: cleanriver.com

Egg Carton Tree

Source: cleanriver.com

Frequently Asked Questions

What is recycling art?

Using discarded materials to create new art is recycled art. For example, this could include anything from tires to old plastic toys to cans or cloth scraps. By specializing in recycled art, artists will transform waste into treasures that can be exhibited in front of hundreds or even thousands of people.

How can recyclable materials be used to make art?

Using repurposed or recycled objects, artists create attractive works of art and turn trash into treasure. Artists who collect beverage cans may make replicas of famous buildings or monuments if they want to display their collections.

What are 10 things you can recycle?

Recycling the following ten items is always a good idea,

  1. Mixed Paper
  2. Newspapers
  3. Glossy Magazines
  4. Paperboard
  5. Cardboard
  6. Plastic Drink Bottles
  7. Aluminum Cans
  8. Plastic Product Bottles
  9. Tire
  10. Cardboard

Why do artists use recycled materials?

Architects, designers, and artists from all over the world are using their work to highlight the environmental impact of our waste.

What is the easiest thing to recycle?

Five of the easiest things to recycle

  1. Metal- It is easy to recycle the vast majority of metals.
  2. Glass- It is possible to recycle most household glass multiple times.
  3. PET Plastics- Plastic bottles are included in this group.
  4. Newspaper- Recycling facilities usually have no problem processing newspapers.
  5. Various papers and cardboard items.

Final Words

Recycling art projects are an easy and fun way to do something worthwhile. There are so many excellent materials you can use, whether they’d be leftovers from past projects or the things you find around your home. Using recycled materials is also a great way for kids to start feeling like they have a role to play in the environmental movement.

There are many great art projects that you can do with recycled materials. Some are easy, while others may be a bit more difficult for little hands. However, even the very difficult ones, all of them will be fun for your children. When recycling, the best thing you can do is to keep your mind open.

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About Tom

Tom is a blogger and artist who also loves technology. He spends his days blogging about the latest developments in the world of art, and he enjoys sharing his thoughts with readers on what it means to be an artist today. Tom has always been interested in technology - but it wasn't until he was 13 years old that he discovered how much fun making websites could be! Tom is a fun-loving, adventure seeking creative type. He enjoys reviewing art products and technology gadgets on his blog and has been doing so for over 5 years now! He spends most of his time in the studio, at the beach, or out exploring new places.

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