Sustainability

Craft ideas with plastic bottles: recycling ideas for families

Here are some plastic bottle recycling ideas you and your youngsters can enjoy together.

Are you looking for a creative way to teach your kids about recycling and sustainability? Do you have a lot of empty plastic bottles you have no idea what to do with? It’s time to combine the two. If you’re not sure how, here are some plastic bottle recycling ideas you and your youngsters can enjoy together.

 

Planters made from plastic bottles

Looking for plastic bottle garden ideas? Since plastic bottles are made to hold liquids, they’re perfect for holding small plants and seedlings. When you remove the neck, you have a ready-made planter. Best of all, you can decorate it however you want!

You will need:

  • Plastic bottles
  • A craft knife
  • Acrylic paint
  • A permanent marker and some card, if you want to make a template

Start by deciding what shape you want your plastic bottle craft planter to be. If you decide to make it animal-shaped and give it ears and a tail, it’s a good idea to cut the shape out of some card first, then use a permanent marker to trace around it onto the bottle. Make sure it’s deep enough to hold a good amount of soil.

Cut through the bottle with a craft knife – responsible adults should always take care of this part if completing the activity with kids. Your bottle should now be in two sections, with the base ready for decorating. All that’s left to do now is paint it however you like! Once the paint is dry, fill your planter with compost and plant seeds or a small plant.

 

Plastic bottle craft bangles

 Here’s one of our favourite plastic bottle crafts for children who like to make a style statement. You will need:

  • Plastic bottles
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Fabric strips
  • A hairdryer (optional)

If you have scraps of something like saree fabric around, this is a great way to recycle those, too. Otherwise, you can cut up an old t-shirt or pillowcase and have the kids draw patterns on it using fabric pens or permanent marker.

A responsible adult should cut off the neck and base of the bottle, leaving the cylinder in between. Cut up the length of the cylinder, so you can stick the fabric down inside.

Coat the patterned side of the fabric with a layer of craft glue, then stick it down so that the pattern is visible through the bottle. Have your responsible adult cut the bottle across its width into strips about 2.5 centimetres wide, and round off the edges. Voila, bangles!

If you need to reshape your plastic bottle craft bangles, leave them in the sun for an hour or so to firm up the plastic, or blast them with a hairdryer on a high heat.

Need plastic bottle recycling ideas for the off-cuts from your bangles?

  • Place bottle necks in a larger planter as a funnel for watering your bigger plants.
  • Use the base for paint-stamping – many plastic bottle bases leave pretty flower-shaped prints!

 

We hope you and your young ones enjoy these fun and easy plastic bottle craft ideas for children. As a next step, why not encourage them to come up with their own plastic bottle recycling ideas?

Key Steps

Here are a few things to keep in mind when doing plastic bottle craft:

  • A responsible adult should handle any sharp or hot objects.
  • Protect clothing and surfaces from paint stains.
  • Check for jagged edges and cut them down, or use a bit of sandpaper to smooth them.

Top Tip


Acrylic is the type of paint that most reliably sticks to plastic, and it’s hard to clean off fabric and surfaces. Wear clothes you don’t mind ruining, and put down newspaper or dust sheets to protect your surfaces. Make sure you do your plastic bottle craft in a well-ventilated place.