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Eco-Art Crafts Made by You

Crafts for Kids

Need creative summer projects for idle hands? Here's some eco-friendly projects that kids will like. They can see quick results.

Poster Puzzles (One-or two-sided)

This project is contributed by Recycle, a hands-on studio located at The Boston Children's Museum. Since 1972 it has provided work space, re-usable materials and suggestions for using surplus materials creatively.

  • Small printed posters or colored postcards or drawings, collages or 2-D works of your own
  • Cardboard or matte board
  • Yard of clear contact paper
  • Pair of scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Ruler or yard stick
  • Exacto knife
  1. Trim poster or artwork to fit the size of your cardboard or matte board. (Trim art slightly smaller than the board to create a border.)
  2. Glue trimmed artwork onto board.
  3. When glue has dried, cover the entire board with clear contact paper to protect the newly mounted artwork. (Trim away excess contact paper.)
  4. Using an Exacto knife and ruler, cut your mounted artwork into a variety of sizes and shapes.

To make a two-sized puzzle, follow steps 1 and 2 on one side of your board and on the other side, mount another piece of artwork. Then cover both sides of the board with clear contact paper (step 3). Cut the pieces with an exacto knife and ruler (step 4).

If you skip step 4, you'll have a wonderful placemat.

New Uses for Tissue Wrapping Paper


Bernice Arthur is a professional artist who also sets up recycling centers and shows others how to use non-traditional art materials creatively. The following project is excerpted from her self published book, "The Art of Recycle". It presents suggestions on creative uses for materials that are easy to find or that you already have on hand. It is an excellent idea book for anyone working with young artists.

Order from:
Bernice Arthur
122 Longmeadow Drive
Apartment 129
Holbrook, MA 02343
Price: $15 -- check or money order

  • Tissue paper (from packaging and gift boxes, craft stores)
  • Plain wrapping paper
  • Poster paint
  • Marking pens
  • Glue, paste or Modge Podge

Dip a wad of crumpled tissue paper into a dish of poster paint and stamp on plain wrapping paper. Use a separate wad for each color.

Experiment with cut and torn shapes, overlap them to create new colors. Make sure to include white. Save tiny scraps of torn paper in a covered shoe box held closed with an elastic to prevent a mess.

Add a collage of colored tissue to parts of a painting.

You can use the tissue paper collage technique on a drawing done with markers to create soft masses, such a sky,clouds and flower petals. Attach the tissue paper to the plain wrapping paper with glue, paste or mod podge and use this medium to create different effects. (Mod Podge makes it glossy, paste makes it lumpy and glue makes it smooth.)

Watered white glue (half water, half glue) can be brushed on to make a collage lay down smoothly. This glue coating will also add sheen to the surface.

For a stained glass effects, outline tissue shapes with a black marker.

Multi-Color Super Crayon

The crayon and batik projects were contributed by SPECTICKLES artist, Julia E. Newhouse

  • Ends of old crayons in many colors
  • Muffin tin or metal mold ( such as a tomato paste can or metal metal ice cube tray)
  • Electric food warmer or stove
  • Saucepan or large tin can

Remove paper from crayons. Put crayons of different colors together in a muffin tin or mold, filling it one-half to three-quarters full. Place mold or tin can on an an electric food warmer or stove on a low setting. Alternatively, you may fill a mold (a tin can or metal ice cube tray) one-quarter full and immerse in a saucepan of boiling water. Melt the crayons slowly, so that the colors do not mix. When melted, cool or immerse mold in a sink filled with cold water. When the super crayon is hard, remove from mold. Use it to create multi-colored pictures, or create a paper batik (see below).

No Fuss Paper Batik

  • Strong white paper (e.g., construction paper--not newsprint or copy paper)
  • Crayons in several colors (including Super Crayon)
  • Several large sheets of newspaper
  • 1/4 cup of black (or any dark color) liquid tempera paint
  • Medium bowl of water to clean your brushes
  • Large bowl of water
  • Large artist's paint brush or one, one-inch foam brush

Paper Batik Remove paper wrapped around crayon. Using the side of crayon, NOT the point, press hard and make bold drawings or abstract patterns all over the paper. (One big star works better than many little ones. But it doesn't have to be solid. Be creative. Color each point a different color, fill it with geometric patterns or progressively smaller stars.) Cover as much of the white background as possible. Dip finished drawing gently into a bowl of room-temperature water. When the paper is totally immersed in water, gently crumple it into a loose ball. This should take about 10 seconds. Remove the paper ball from water and gently squeeze out excess water. Open the wet paper ball to its original shape and spread it out on sheets of newspaper.

Paint the tempera paint, thinned with a little water, over the entire paper. Let it dry. If the batik paper is torn, tape it on the back when it is dry.

If your design isn't a masterpiece, use it for the background of a collage, cut it up for bookmarks, cut out the best parts and glue them on homemade greeting cards. (To brighten it up, add a little glitter.)

See what you've missed

If you've enjoyed this project, don't miss our crafts archive with projects including:

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