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Five great craft ideas that make use of 'rubbish'

With more people looking for ways to cut down the amount of waste at home, we are delighted to invite Scott Hawthorne, from, to share five great craft ideas that make use of items that would usually be thrown away as rubbish.

Are you looking to reduce the amount of waste that you throw away at home? You're not alone! More and more people are becoming more conscious of how much rubbish they produce and are looking to do something about it. And, considering that households in the UK throw away almost 27 million tonnes of waste a year (UK Gov), there's no better time to help reduce that number.

One of the ways you can cut down on rubbish at home is by finding new purposes for things you'd usually throw away. To help you out, I've come up with five great craft ideas that will help you to become a zero waste household, so put aside some time for a few new projects!

Give old fabrics a new lease of life

Fabrics are one of the most versatile crafting materials around. If you have old clothes, a tablecloth, or even curtains you were planning to get rid of, it's likely they can be refashioned into something else. There are tonnes of way to repurpose old fabrics, ranging from using an old T-shirts or rags as cleaning cloths, to replacing a disposable mop pad with an old spare sock.

But, if you want to get crafty, you'll need to grab your sewing kit and come up with something more elaborate. For instance, you could use old fabrics to create reusable shopping bags for trips to the supermarket. Get creative and the possibilities are endless!

Find new uses for old newspapers and magazines

While the world is getting increasingly digital, newspapers, magazines, and junk mail still find a way into our homes to eventually become wastepaper. Thankfully, paper is one of the easiest materials to recycle, but there's no harm in finding some new uses for it before it gets put in the bin.

One of my favourite ideas is taking some old newspaper and folding it, origami style, so it becomes a liner for a small bin. This tutorial from Instructables is easy to follow and only requires a few sheets of newspaper to create, allowing you to transform the contents of your bin into a liner for it.

Alternatively, if you're looking for something to do with the kids, why not use old newspapers and magazines as fodder for a paper maché project? With a bit of glue and paint, you can create a whole range of amazing things, from animal models to masks.

Decorate food jars to make glasses and containers

Before you throw away that empty jar of pasta sauce or that used coffee jar, stop and consider the possibilities they can offer! Once you've taken off the label, they can provide a nicely sized container for storage of small supplies in your craft room, like buttons, beads, or pieces of fabric, or loose food items in your kitchen. Or, you could even repurpose them into drinking glasses or measuring jars — some already have volumes etched into the side (you can also add them yourself). They also provide a blank slate for decoration, so feel free to grab some paint to create a wonderful design.

Look for ways to create upcycled planters

When you’re looking for craft ideas for repurposing waste, don’t forget your garden! There are lots and lots of items you'd usually throw out that can become planters for your outdoor space, and you will be surprised at how creative you are once you get going on this project.

Small plastic containers, like those used for butter or yoghurts, are just about the ideal size for small-scale growing or acting as a nursery for a plant before it moves to a larger pot. They are also a great size for getting the kids involved in nurturing the likes of watercress, herbs, or other microgreens. You can even get them to decorate the pots before they use them!

It's also worth looking for bigger opportunities for creating upcycled planters. Getting rid of an old desk or chest of drawers? Then why not remove the drawers themselves, spruce them up a bit with a coat of paint, and use them as planting trays for your garden? Anything that has hollow space, from an old watering can to a bucket, has potential to find new life as a decorated planter.

Use plastic bottles for a kids' crafting project

Remember the days when kids would watch Blue Peter and then come looking for a bottle to use for arts and crafts? It may even be the case that you were one of those children! So, why not introduce the magic of the empty plastic bottle to your kids' next project?

By rounding up a few plastic bottles and breaking out the glue and paints, you can keep creative kids occupied for hours. Show them how to add cardboard fins and thrusters for the perfect rocket ship, or, stuff the bottles full of black and white cotton wool to give life to a colony of bottle penguins. Alternatively, you can create money boxes to teach them about saving by carefully cutting a slit into the top, then letting them go wild with decorations.

I hope these five ideas have inspired you to get creative with some of the things you'd usually throw away. With a little bit of ingenuity, you'll be one step closer to having a zero waste home.

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