Kids can turn trash into treasure

By Jennifer Forker

For The Associated Press

To honor Earth Day in kids’ crafting, one really needs to think trash. That is, "What can I rescue from the garbage bin and reuse?"

For Earth Day, which is April 22, consider these crafts that make the most of objects you probably already have:

Wine cork coasters


These are fast to make and last forever. An excellent conversation piece, they really will protect your tabletops.

You’ll need:

• Wine corks of approximately the same size, about 10 or 11 per finished item

• Heavy felt

• Glue (such as Elmer’s or Aleene’s Tacky Glue)

What to do:

• Cut a square of felt that’s approximately 4-1/2 inches long by 4-1/2 inches wide.

• Lay the wine corks on their side on the square in any pattern of straight lines that you’d like, trying to cover the felt.


• Test your coaster by placing an empty glass on top of it: Is it steady? If not, substitute any offending corks for others.

• Glue the corks to the felt. The glue may seep to the back of the felt, so dry this item upside down.

• When dry, flip over and use, cork side up. Cheers!

Mint tin treasure boxes

Finally, here’s a use for your staggering collection of empty mint tins. Instead of paper, you can visit your local wallpaper store and ask if they have any discarded sample books to give away. You receive free "paper" while rescuing the sample books from the landfill.

You’ll need:

• Mint tins, such as Altoids, empty and wiped clean

• Patterned paper scraps, such as from scrapbooking, or wallpaper scraps


• Glue (such as Elmer’s or Aleene’s Tacky Glue)

• Found objects, such as buttons, beads, fake jewels and faux flowers, or anything that’s small and colorful

• Optional: stickers and markers

What to do:

• Trace the tin’s lid onto the backside of a piece paper. Do this twice; the paper does not have to match.

• Trace the tin’s base onto the backside of another scrap of paper.

• Glue the three pieces of paper onto their respective places: Outer and inner lid, and inside base. You may need to trim the paper to make it fit.

• Decorate the outside lid as desired, with buttons, beads, jewels, and other found objects.


• Decorate the inside lid and base, ensuring that nothing bulky is used that would hinder closing the tin.

• Note: Older kids may like the challenge of trying to cover the sides with paper. This will take extra precision.

Crazy-hair people

This craft can be fully compostable if you use biodegradable paper cups. Check your local coffee shop or health-food store, or purchase from a supplier such as Eco-Products, If you can find wheatgrass seed, you can cut your friend’s "hair" for juicing — another kick for kids.

You’ll need:

• Paper cups, preferably compostable

• Markers or crayons

• Potting soil


• Grass seed, such as wheatgrass, or any lawn variety, such as tall fescue

• Spoon, measuring spoon, small scoop or trowel

• Water

• A small plate or saucer

• Optional: Plastic wrap and rubber band

What to do:

• Draw a face on the side of the cup with markers or crayons.

• Punch a small hole in the bottom of the cup (for drainage).


• Fill cup 2/3 full with soil.

• Add about 1 tablespoon of grass seed.

• Mix grass seed into soil with finger or spoon. Moisten soil with water. Put in sink for drainage or on saucer.

• To encourage growth, cover cup with plastic wrap and secure with rubber band

• Place cup in sunny window. Water as needed.

• Remove plastic wrap, if using, when sprouting seedlings grow near.

• When your "crazy hair" is long enough, you can cut it and watch it grow again.

• When ready to discard, compost or throw out; it will biodegrade.

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