Recycling and Art: A Match Made in Heaven

Recycling symbol on white wooden wall background.

So you have finished your senior year and are looking for some meaningful things to do before stepping into college. If you hail from one of South East Asia’s most beautiful destinations, Thailand, gap year programs are offered through various universities. You most probably have a good resource for that with the school you recently attended. While waiting for your options, you can try doing the things you do at home. If you have a creative streak and a passion for the environment, you can combine both and make art pieces out of recycled materials. Since both have meaningful purposes and can be impactful in other people’s lives, you can say that it is a match made in heaven. What kind of works can you produce with it? Here are some that you can try to create.

Small Trinkets

Everyone appreciates receiving a present from a friend or a loved one. It does not matter how big or small it is. As they say, it is the thought that counts. Given that idea, imagine how your recipient would feel if you yourself crafted their gift. You can craft small tokens or trinkets with various recyclable materials. Small pieces of furniture or ornaments could be made out of scrap metal and wood. Build examples like a small wooden bookshelf for a child’s bedroom, pen holder made out of aluminum mesh, or fancy-looking accessories made from colorful translucent plastic.

Those are not the only materials you can work on. Paper is a surprisingly versatile item you can use for pretty much anything. You can have it broken down into mush which gives it a consistency similar to clay, and you can sculpt whatever you want from here on. It needs to be held together with a binding substance, and you can make that by dissolving cornstarch in boiling water. Once it cools down, you basically have made yourself some paste. After applying that to your sculpture and leaving it out to dry, it should harden up. Some objects you can produce with this method are plaques, picture frames, and ironically, paperweights.

Big Items

If you have big items lying around the house and you do not know what to do with them, maybe they are just waiting to be made new again. An old and beat-up couch can be given a new lease in life by reupholstering it. The main thing you should have is its frame. It should be completely intact, but you can do repairs or enhancements to that if needed. This framework will be holding the cushion, which will make everything soft and comfortable. Foam is the perfect material for this as it is easy to procure whether you purchase it new or source it from scraps. Once you have that in, give it a nice clean. The last step would be covering it up, and this is another chance to recycle stuff. You can use old shirts or jeans as the fabric that wraps around the whole furniture.

Another huge example is fixing up a dining table. If you have one that you have not been using because of damages or cracks on the surface, you can fill those gaps in using colored resin. Just pour the substance on top and let it creep into every space. After letting it dry, grab yourself a sander and polish the top surface until it is even. Apply a generous amount of glossy finish to give it that shiny look.

Kid-friendly Craft

Arts & crafts time with child

Children love to play more than anything, and they also want to see new things. Some parents are afraid to walk down the toy aisle because they might just grab anything there. If you are one of these, you can save yourself the trouble and learn how to craft toys out of items that you have at home. Thick cardboard is a great material for making cars or dollhouses. If you have some that have blank surfaces, you can get your kids to join in on the fun by letting them draw or paint on it. Surprising them with these activities will let them know that the toy store is not the only source of their playthings.

Recycling is a noble act that helps the planet a lot. People need to reduce the items that they are throwing away and learn the way of sustainability. There are many things out there that can still be repurposed into other things, and doing this will help reduce everyone’s carbon footprint. Your love for art and nature will surely go a long way.

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