Upcycled Kids’ Craft Supplies & Sustainable Craft Ideas for Kids

upcycled kids craft supplies

As a parent, you know how quickly boredom can set in during those long summer days. But fear not! You don’t need to break the bank on kid’s craft supplies to keep your kids entertained.

With a bit of creativity and a touch of eco-consciousness, you can turn everyday household items into exciting craft supplies. Upcycling not only sparks imagination but also teaches kids the importance of reusing and recycling.

Let’s dive into our list and a world of fun, where old becomes new, and ordinary items transform into extraordinary creations!

Kid’s Craft Supplies: Upcycled from Everyday Items

Ready to get started? Here’s a list of everyday items you can upcycle into kid’s craft supplies, and some craft ideas that’ll turn potential waste into endless creative possibilities. Gather these everyday items or recycled materials and watch your kids’ imaginations soar!

Download your complete list of boredom-buster kids’ craft supplies you can find around the house below. It’s free!

[Click here to download your FREE Upcycled Kids’ Craft Supplies Checklist]

We’ve categorized our craft supply items. Use the links below to skip to each section:

Cardboard & Paper Supplies

 01. Toilet Paper Rolls / Paper Towel Rolls

Empty cardboard toilet paper and paper towel rolls can be used to create a multitude of crafts. Here’s a fun toilet paper craft idea for kids:


02. Egg Cartons

You’ve seen caterpillars, but what about egg carton flowers? A Crafty Life shares this unique egg carton craft idea that’s adaptable for kids:


03. Cereal or Tissue Boxes

Older kids can create these lacing cards from empty tissue or cereal box cardboard for a “busy bag” activity for their younger siblings.


04. Shoe Boxes

Watch how empty shoe boxes are transformed into kid’s toys that you can make with your kids, that’ll keep them entertained for hours.


05. Newspaper

Use newspaper, flour and some other ingredients you’ll find around the house to make homemade paper mache. Create masks, bowls, pinatas, or other sculpted items like these paper mache cakes look good enough to eat!


06. Old Magazines or Catalogs

Kids can decorate their bedrooms with faux flowers made from the pages of old magazines or catalogs:


07. Greeting Cards

Use last year’s Christmas cards to make gift tags or build a Christmas tree of star shapes like this one:


08. Old Calendars

Cut the paper from old calendars or catalogs into strips to make paper chains like this one:


09. Construction Paper

Homemade paper lanterns are a quick and easy construction paper project for kids old enough to manage scissors:


10. Stickers

You’re bound to dig up some extra stickers around the house for kids’ crafting. These pencil bookmarks are fun to make and functional too!


11. Colored Paper

These colorful pinwheels are made from colored paper and a few other craft supplies. How cute!


12. Cotton Swabs

Snowflakes from cotton swabs? You bet!


13. Cupcake Papers

Check the pantry for leftover cupcake liners and you have supplies to keep the kids busy with this threading project:


14. Paper Plates

How many animals can your kids make with paper plates? Here’s just one option:


15. Paper Cups

Year of the dragon or not, your kids will be so proud of this cute little dragon made with a paper cup:


16. Cardboard Potato Chip Cans

Help the kids turn trash into treasure with this chip can vase project:


17. Coffee Filters

Here’s a fun way to use coffee filters as kids’ craft supplies. Kids can make these adorable suncatchers with coffee filters and paper plates:

Plastic Items

18. Plastic Bottles / Caps

Watch something grow in these cute recycled plastic soda bottle planters:

These little fairy house kids’ crafts are super cute too:


19. Milk Jugs

Empty milk jugs are great kid’s craft supplies for making piggy banks or bird feeders:


20. Plastic Containers & Lids

Kids can turn empty plastic yogurt or cottage cheese containers into toys, gift boxes, or birdhouses, like this one:


21. Plastic Shopping Bags

Upcycle plastic shopping bags or plastic tablecloths to make fun dancing ribbons:


22. Straws

Help kids turn ordinary straws into star-spangled drinking straws for the 4th of July:


23. Plastic Utensils

Team plastic spoons with plastic Easter Eggs to supply the kids with this homemade musical instrument project:

Fabric & Textile Items

24. Old T-Shirts

Fido will appreciate an upcycled toy made from old t-shirts, and the kids will have fun making it for him!


25. Socks

Turn those orphaned socks into functional heat or cooling pads with this simple DIY craft:


26. Old Jeans

Here’s your chance to replace that old pair of jeans that’s getting a little too snug! The kids will love making some shabby chic denim flowers with your denim sacrifice:


27. String / Yarn

Your junk drawer probably has a neglected ball of twine that could be used for this kids’ craft:


28. Old Towels

Make a washable teddy bear from an old towel:


29. Fabric Scraps

Fabric scraps are plentiful in most creative homes. Let the kids whittle away at your stash with this project:


30. Ribbon

Teens or pre-teens will love making these DIY feather earrings from leftover ribbon:

Wooden Items

31. Popsicle Sticks

Wooden popsicle sticks or larger craft sticks offer endless possibilities for fun kids’ craft projects. Here are two to consider:


32. Toothpicks

Let your kids’ love of construction go wild with wooden toothpicks and some sort of adhesive. This project uses both toothpicks and straws, which you likely have on hand.


33. Wooden Clothespins

Wooden clothespins are versatile craft supplies for kids. This butterfly kids’ craft makes great use of extra wooden clothespins and coffee filters:

Miscellaneous Items

34. Buttons

These turkey place cards made with buttons will keep the kids busy on Thanksgiving morning. Not turkey time? Suggest making different designs with buttons like rainbows or flowers:


35. Pasta

Remember making macaroni necklaces when you were a kid? Certainly, that’s a possibility, but here’s another pasta craft idea:


36. Cotton Balls

Raid the bathroom for some cotton balls to help the kids create this little fluffy sheep:


37. Sponges

Replace your tired kitchen and bathroom sponges and help the kids upcycle the old ones into some summertime sponge balls:


38.  Bubble Wrap

Bubble wrap offers many kids’ craft project possibilities. The nubbly texture of bubble wrap adds to the fun of this jellyfish craft:


39. Broken Crayons

Put that stash of broken crayons to good use with this luminaria bag project that’ll make dinnertime special.


40. Old Puzzle Pieces

You’re bound to have some jigsaw puzzles with a couple of pieces gone. (Thanks, Jim Croce). Encourage the kiddos to upcycle the remaining puzzle pieces into a work of art!


41. CD Cases

You know all those CDs you have hanging around the house somewhere? Here’s a project to keep the kids busy with those CD cases.


42. Corks / Wine Corks

Upcycle wine corks into little you-know-who Mouse toys or Christmas ornaments. Makes a fun birthday party project too!


43. Metal Hardware

Raid Dad’s workbench and find metal washers and other kids’ craft supply possibilities for jewelry making. Be sure to supervise young children with potential choking hazards.


44. Tin Cans or Disposable Aluminum Baking Pans

Fun for Halloween or any special occasion, these tin-punched votive holders or luminaries are a fun and functional upcycling project. For younger kids, modify the craft to punch strips of heavy-duty aluminum foil or baking pans instead, then wrap the strips around glass jars.



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