Can you believe that it’s fall already? This is one of my favorite times of year here in Atlanta, and I love to celebrate the turning leaves and cooler weather with fun fall crafts.
Whether you have a crafternoon with your friends or do fall crafts with your kids, an often overlooked resource for free, eco-friendly craft supplies is your recycle bin. From junk mail and old canning jar lids to old cans, you can reap lots of free craft supplies that would have otherwise ended up at the recycle center.
Related Reading: 25 Ways to Reuse Glass Jars
Wait, but recycling is good, right? Of course it is! Recycling is definitely better than tossing those recyclables into the trash, but it still takes energy to recycle paper, metal, and plastic. When you reuse recyclables in your fall crafts, you’re conserving energy by giving that material a new life. It’s really a win-win.
Gathering Recyclables for Fall Crafts
Does the thought of digging through your recycling for craft supplies give you a case of the icks? Here are a few tips to help make your recycled fall crafts easy:
- Set things aside. Did you get some really pretty junk mail or finish a roll of paper towels? Instead of tossing them in the recycle bin, put them straight into your stash of craft supplies.
- Clean things well. Materials like cans and glass bottles that held food can also hold onto smells. You also probably want to remove any sticky labels. Check out this tutorial on prepping glass jars for crafting and this one on with an additional top for removing sticky labels without harsh chemicals. These tutes are for glass, but they will work just as well with empty cans.
OK, got your supplies ready? Check out these recycled fall crafts to use them!
Fall Crafts Straight from Your Recycle Bin
1. Junk Mail Ornament – Create a flying paper crane ornament for your tree. I bet that you’ll have so much fun folding the first one that you’ll end up with a whole tree full of paper cranes!
2. Paper Acorn Banner – Transform reclaimed cardboard and paper (she uses book pages, but you could use junk mail, sheet music, etc) into a sweet length of bunting to add a little fall to your decor.
3. Canning Jar Lid Pumpkin – If you like to craft with old mason jars, chances are you have a bunch of lids that you’re thinking about tossing in the recycle bin. Turn them into a shabby chic pumpkin instead!
4. Recycled Paper Wreath – This tutorial uses sheet music, but junk mail envelopes or any other discarded paper would work just as well for this upcycled wreath.
5. Paper Tube Birdhouse Ornaments – This tutorial is not in English, but there are plenty of photos that you can follow. It’s worth it for the super adorable results!
Related Reading: 25 Paper Tube Crafts
6. Glass Mummy Votive – Clean out a glass jar and turn it into a spooooooky mummy for Halloweeen.
7. Paper Pumpkins – Twisted lengths of paper make a beautiful pumpkin decoration. You could use pretty much any paper in your recycle bin. Old newspaper would look really nice, I think.
8. Aluminum Can Wreath – Turn old soda and beer cans into a sweet wreath with this fall craft. This tutorial calls for alcohol inks, and you can make your own alcohol ink from upcycled markers, if you want to add even more recycled goodness to this craft project.
9. Owl Pendant or Ornament – This project uses reclaimed cereal boxes and plastic bottle caps to create a cute fall craft that your kids will love!
Related Reading: 15 Ways to Reuse Plastic Bottle Caps
10. Twine and Chicken Wire Pumpkin – Got some chicken wire that you’ve been meaning to recycle? Turn it into a very cute pumpkin instead.
11. Soup Can Pumpkins – Dig out your stash of wine corks and transform an old soup can into a pumpkin. This is another craft that the kids can get involved in.
12. Coffee Filter Leaf Garland – Instead of tossing used coffee filters into your recycle bin, rinse them out, let them dry, and turn them into a beautiful fall leaf garland.
Do you have any fun fall crafts in the works? I’d love to hear about what you’re making in the comments!
Image Credits: Photos by Bonnie Getchell