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/// Recycled & Upcycled Glass Crafts

By Andy Darnley

Recycling glass has many benefits, and it's possible to recycle glass repeatedly to continue its useful lifecycle. Glass recycling reduces carbon dioxide emissions into the environment, it reduces refuse levels in landfills, it conserves raw materials, and it saves energy that would otherwise be used to melt these materials to make new glass items. While recycling glass is one way to reuse glass items, upcycling glass is another great way to reuse it. Upcycling involves repurposing jars, bottles, and glasses to remake them into new items. Both kids and adults can enjoy upcycling glass to create objects.

Craft Projects Using Glass

When kids repurpose glass objects, they learn many lessons, including valuable experience and a better understanding of the benefits of recycling to save money and conserve resources. If a family sets up a recycling system in the home to separate recyclable items from trash, almost every family member can become involved in some way. As a glass recycling bin begins to fill with bottles, jars, and glasses, the family can brainstorm ways to reuse them. From planters to bird feeders to pencil jars, glass items can serve many new purposes in and around the home. Kids may also enjoy painting and decorating jars as they prepare to reuse them.

Upcycling Projects Using Glass

Some upcycling projects are better suited for adults because they are more involved and complicated. Adding decoupage to glass jars is a beautiful technique to add color and design to these items. Strings of LED lights can be inserted into bottles, and then they can be strung together to make a set of twinkling lights. An old bottle can be repurposed to become a soap dispenser, salad dressing bottles, kitchen canisters, candleholders, lamp stands, and more. Mason jars are extremely versatile for upcycling projects. They can become terrariums, storage for spices in the pantry, and they can even be used in baking for single-serve cakes and pies. By decorating the top of a jar lid, old glass jars can become beautiful storage vessels in the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and closet. Jars can be an ideal place to store school supplies, sewing items, bulk items in the pantry, and odds and ends in the workshop.

More Recycled Crafts

Once a family begins to look at recyclable items with a new perspective, a wide array of upcycling options can become evident. Raising awareness of options for reusing recyclable materials is frugal and environmentally responsible, so it has a variety of far-reaching benefits. For example, instead of throwing away old magazines, people can use the pages for decoupage or mosaic projects. Instead of tossing old CDs, these items can be made into beautiful coasters, refrigerator magnets, or even wind chimes. An old plastic container or milk carton could be repurposed to become a pencil jar for a desk or a bird feeder for the yard. Kids could get involved with reusing empty cereal boxes to make woven placemats by simply cutting the cardboard into long, narrow strips and weaving them together. An empty CD case would be the perfect thing to use to make a photo frame that sits beautifully on a shelf or desk. It's also fun to make musical instruments out of recyclables. A plastic container with a lid could be filled with dry beans to become a shaker. An empty oatmeal container could become a drum. With a variety of jars in different shapes and sizes, it's possible to make a xylophone by filling them with different amounts of water. Taping several water bottles together and filling them with different amounts of water is a perfect way to make a panpipe. With just a little imagination and ingenuity, upcycling glass and other recyclable objects can produce many useful and enjoyable items.

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