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10 Household Items Every Mom Can Transform into Amazing Projects

I'm obsessed when it comes to upcycling materials such newspaper or wrapping paper into brand new objects with a bit of personality. The philosophy of reuse and recycle runs deep in my house and I'll often hear my kids say things like, "Mom, we're saving this cardboard box because we can turn it into something."

Bottle caps can become mini picture frames, a little paint can turn a cork turn into action figure, and an old milk container becomes an instant sandbox shovel.

In this spirit, here are 10 household items that you can easily transform into amazing projects. To jump on this idea, set up a recycling bin to collect all of the objects you'll need to make some of these projects next week.

1. Baby Bibs Made from Old Jeans and a T-Shirt

Supply: Old Jeans

When your beloved jeans earn one too many holes and rips, it's time to turn those jeans into something else. Why not baby bibs? These would be such a thoughtful shower gift, made even more special if the jeans came from family members.

2. Homemade Art Brushes Using Clothespins

Supply: Clothespins

It's far more fun to paint with a feather than a traditional brush. For this project, you'll simply scoot around your home and collect small bits and pieces that can be clamped to clothespins, thereby transforming them into art brushes.

3. Turn a Cardboard Box into a Space Shuttle

Supply: Large Cardboard Box

Save large cardboard boxes (extra kudos if you can score a fridge box) and transform them into spaceships, food trucks, or play kitchens.

4. How to Make a Q-Tip Weaving Loom for Kids

Supply: Cotton Swabs

Everyone has cotton swabs, right? For this colorful project, repurpose your cotton swabs into a substrate for weaving. Not only is the result gorgeous, but the project teaches resourcefulness, too.

5. Make a Paper Bag Art Portfolio

Supply: Paper Bag

There are so many ways to reuse a paper bag, but this project really sings to me because I'm OFTEN asked for advice on how to manage the growing number of art that children make and or bring home from school. The lovely thing about this portfolio is that the handle is built right into the bag. Sweet!

6. Wrapped Washer Necklaces

Supply: Washers

Gina at WillowDay has a gorgeous blog, and this truly really shines in its beauty. Wrap washers with embroidery floss for a classic style that will go with anything.

7. Crayon Art Sculpture

Supply: Crayons

Meri Cherry had the genius idea to turn extra crayons into an inspiring, colorful sculpture. I just love how this looks!

8. Paper Plate Cookie Basket

Supply: Paper Plate

This is easy AND practical. With a few folds and cuts, you'll turn a simple paper plate into a takeaway box with tall sides. So smart.

9. Make a Shovel from a Milk Jug

Supply: Gallon Milk Container

If you ever find yourself at the beach without a shovel, this project is for you. Save your gallon milk containers and turn them into a genuine, working scooper. While it may not be the strongest shovel in the sandbox, it sure does work in a pinch.

10. Make action figures from corks

Supply: Cork

Maggie is the queen at repurposing cardboard rolls and corks, and I love how sweet this little knight in shining armor looks with his makeover.


If you enjoy smart parent hacks and creating treasure from trash, I have two books that you'll love: "Parent Hacks: 134 Genius Shortcuts for Life with Kids" and "Red Ted Art," a kids craft books that's filled with crafts made from recycled materials.

For more parenting ideas, check out the moms on Pinterest hub.


Rachelle Doorley is an arts educator with a passion for helping families and teachers find easy ways to set up meaningful creative projects for kids. She's the author of the popular kids' craft book and bestseller, "TinkerLab: A Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors". Her articles and ideas on creativity and arts education have been featured in School Arts Magazine, Real Simple, and FamilyFun. She lives in Northern California with her husband and two children where she seeks out ways to make every day creative. Favorite tools: glue gun, camera, permanent markers.

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Photograph by: Hello, Wonderful

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