Women pressing painted hands of a kid on a paper


6 Upcycling Crafts Mother Earth Will Thank You For

by Liza Semenova

Winter is coming … and that means we’re all spending a little more time indoors, getting cozy. By now we’ve completed all of our puzzles at least twice and were looking for some new DIY-versions. 

In honor of National Recycling Day on November 15, we’ve got some fun and easy upcycling crafts for you. Give your holiday season a sustainable twist by using old patterned fabric for some unique gift wrap (let’s be real, it all ends up in a pile in the corner anyway).  And just because summer is over, doesn’t mean your gardening hobby has to be with these aluminum planters.

Prep your craft space and let’s get creative!

Furoshiki Wrapping Paper

gifts wrapped in cloth

Furoshiki is the Japanese art of wrapping with cloth. It’s a simple yet creative (and sustainable) way to add a personal touch to your presents this season. 

What you’ll need:

  • Patterned Fabric - Old shirts, bandanas or table cloths. That’s it!
How to:
  • For any basic box shape, cut an even square shape big enough to fully fold over the gift.
  • Position your cloth like a diamond and place the box in the center of your cloth.
  • Tie the right and left sides over the top, followed by the top and bottom - voila! You have a perfectly wrapped Furoshiki gift.

    For more inspo, check out Spoonflower.

    Adorable Aluminum Planters

    aluminum can planters

    Show off your green thumb with these whimsical planters.

    What you’ll need:

    • Aluminum Cans - don’t toss those empty pinto bean or tomato sauce cans - they’re perfect for this project
    • Hammer and nail
    • Acrylic paint - including one of neutral color (white, tan)
    • Accessories of your choice (glitter, pom poms, stencils, glue, etc.)
    • Garden soil and seeds - basil, oregano, cilantro, chives and mint all grow well indoors
    How to:
    • Soak the can in warm water to remove the label. Using steel wool can help rough up the surface and make it easier to paint.
    • Use the hammer and nail to make a few drainage holes in the bottom of your can.
    • Cover your can with your neutral paint to act as a primer.
    • Once your primer layer is dry, select your can color of choice for your bright background. Decorate as desired.
    • Fill your planters with garden soil and selected seeds, and watch your garden grow!

    Get more details at Homedit.

    Toilet Roll Bird House 

    homemade bird feeder

    A little birdy told me this is a great activity for the whole family.

    What you’ll need:

    • Toilet paper rolls
    • Craft paper
    • Decorations of choice: paint, glitter, pom poms, etc.
    • Glue
    • String
    How to:
    • Cover your toilet roll with craft paper, or decorate with paint.
    • Cut ¾ of a square through the middle of the roll as a window (see image above).
    • Cut a separate half-circle of craft paper and fold it into a cone shape. Glue to attach ends, leaving a small hole at the top. 
    • Run a piece of string knotted at one end through the top of the cone. Then add glue around the bottom of the cone. 
    • Attach to one end of the toilet roll as a roof and hang in your favorite outdoor spot.

    Visit Rhythms of Play for more details.

    Wood Pallet Seating 

    Wood Pallet Seating

    Make your Pinterest board a reality.

    What you’ll need:

    • Used wooden pallets
    • Saw
    • Rope or screws
    • Sandpaper
    • Cushions
    How to:
    • Cut your wooden pallets into even sizes, then use rope or screws to secure the top and bottom pieces.
    • Sand down the top pieces of your pallets as much as needed Add your cushy seating and enjoy!

    See how The Boondocks Blog created a couch.

    Reusable Muslin Cloth Coffee Filter 

    Reusable Muslin Cloth Coffee Filter

    Get conscious with your coffee!

    What you’ll need:

    • Paper filter
    • Pre-washed natural 100% cotton muslin 
    • Needle and thread 
    How to:
    • Take your paper filter and place one edge along a folded piece of your muslin.
    • For a finished edge, add an extra 1” along the top. For a more refined look, sew a hem along the top edge of the open cloth.
    • Fold your filter in half again. If you’ve made a hem, put the right sides together. Sew along the two open edge seams.
    • Brew a fresh cup!
    For step-by-step picture see here.

    Bottle Cap Tea Light

    Bottle Cap Tea Light

    Create the perfect vibe with these easy bottle cap tea lights.

    What you’ll need:

    • Bottle caps
    • Crayons or wax
    • Pre-waxed wicks
    • Soup cans
    • Cooking pan
    • Scissors
    • Water
    How to:
    • If using crayons, remove labels from the crayons.
    • Put crayons or wax into clean, empty soup cans. Place your wicks inside of your bottle caps.
    • Fill your cooking pan with a couple of inches of water and bring to a boil. Put the can into the water and to melt the crayons or wax.
    • Pour the melted wax or crayons inside of your bottle caps. Let your caps cool for 1-2 hours and trim the wicks.
    • Light up and create a cozy vibe! 

    See how Craftaholics Anonymous does it. 


    What are your favorite DIY crafts? Let us know!

    Show Comments

    Looks Like You Need a Pick Me Up

    Our delicious all-in-one vitamin supplements are packed with the nutrients you need to live the good life.

    Shop smartypants vitamins

    Liza Semenova