Carnival of Green Crafts #3: Trash Into Treasure

carnival of green crafts

Welcome to the Third Carnival of Green Crafts!

Before we begin, let me just thank all of the crafters who participated in this month’s carnival for taking a weight off my mind. After reading all of these posts, I now have NO worries at all about landfill space anywhere in America. Seriously, y’all, crafters are obviously the solution to the trash problem. Go us!

Before we begin, a few administrative notes: We’re pleased as punch to announce that the fourth Carnival will be September 4th at Whip Up. Send in your posts via the carnival submission form today! For background information about the Carnival, please see the Carnival of Green Crafts home page. And in case you missed the previous editions, here are the first Carnival, here at Crafting A Green World, and the second Carnival, at BlogHer.

Thanks so much to all the crafters who shared their posts with us for this edition of the Carnival. Let’s dig in!

Eco-Friendly Materials

Tiny Decor gathered a list of the Top 10 Modern and Eco-friendly Fabric Sources on Etsy. You HAVE to see what she’s collected, there are some real knockouts.

When I started reading Dot’s series of posts at Dabbled called The Shrinky Dink Test Lab, I had a sinking feeling that I was going to have to email her back and say we weren’t able to use it. How could shrinky plastics be green? But I hung in there and finally got to the introductory post in the series, at the bottom of the page:

Stay tuned… a 4 part series on making shrinky things by recycling plastic stuff that would go in the trash… starts tomorrow! Armed with a bunch of old #6 plastic to-go containers, the Dabbled Lab performs a series of experiments on techniques, and you’ll see the successes, the failures, and the “hmmm, what if I tried this instead”s. Just like the shrinky dinks you played with as a kid, but cheap and good for the earth!

Brilliant! My hometown of Austin is FINALLY going to start accepting these plastics in our curbside recycling this fall, but I may have to hold a few out for crafting purposes…

Over at Your Impact Matters, Janeen’s tutorial on making paper had me laughing:

I’m not sure I’ll try this again with weeds. Maybe freshly mown grass clippings that don’t have stems and will be much softer to work with. I’m glad I tried it though, it was a way to make something natural and I’m all for natural, man.

She also experiments with Netflix envelopes, newspaper, and fabric bits as well as the (possibly allergenic) weeds.

Over at our sister blog Feelgood Style, Delia Montgomery shared some info about tagua buttons and why tagua is good for both elephants and the rainforest.

Bags, Bags, Bags!

In case you didn’t come across it earlier in the year, take a look at the Cheap & Easy Fabric Grocery Bags made out of sheets that Wendy posted at her blog Wisdom of the Moon.

Or if you don’t have sheets, but you have a broken umbrella, Ellen at Everyday Crafty Goodness has a tutorial on How to make a reusable grocery bag out of a busted umbrella.

Then, once you have your reusable bags, you have to remember to bring them with you to the store. Since nobody’s perfect, Jillian of peas&carrots is fusing the plastic bags that sneak home when she forgets her reusable bags on a grocery store trip. The flower pins and hair clips she’s making are sooooo cute, and her post has great tips on how to fuse safely. She also made a flowered wallet that is apparently doubling as… wildlife habitat? (Don’t believe me? Then you tell me what’s going on in that last photo!)

Then we move on to other kinds of plastic bags. Gwensmom turned six months of newspaper plastic bags into a crocheted beach bag. I loved what she said about her project when she submitted it:

If you can’t recycle it, make something out of it! These #4 plastic bags come on our newspaper rain or shine. Our city doesn’t accept #4 for recycling and it made me ill to send them to the landfill week after week. For my first crochet project I practiced with plastic bags so that if I messed up it wasn’t much of a loss. It was fun having new craft materials show up in my driveway every morning. I cut up and crocheted a bag every day (two when rain was predicted and the paper was double bagged). This beach tote is a little bigger than I originally intended but it represents 6 months of plastic bags NOT in a landfill.

Craft materials in my driveway every morning? Yes please!

RecycleCindy at My Recycled is sharing a pattern for a crocheted water bottle holder from recycled plastic bags. Cindy is a DIVA when it comes to recycled crafting. If you don’t know about her, you should also check out her Cassette Tape Barbie Doll Halter Dress from last year and her VCR Tape & Ribbon Sling Bag from earlier this year.

Clothes Make The… Other Stuff

Liz at The Quilted Turtle put together an amazing Recycled Blue Jeans Bag Tutorial. Seriously, the photos and instructions are so clear, this must have taken forever. Keep in mind you can do this with any pair of pants, not just jeans – and even if you’re not likely to make this project, scroll all the way to the end of her post and check out the “model” with the finished project. Just don’t be drinking a beverage while you look at it.

If Liz’s tutorial does whet your appetite for blue jean crafts, though, don’t miss Deb Roby’s mega list of what to do with jeans.

Siel of green LA girl managed to turn a pair of, um, aesthetically challenged socks she got as a gift into Four blue booties and two blind mice, though not without a minor incident:

Excess yarn was used to stuff the mice, making this an almost zero waste craft project. I ran out of blue at the end though, so the orange mouse’s tail’s kinda stumpy. Oopsie.

Or sometimes, other things turn into clothes…

Here at Crafting A Green World, Kelly was inspired by a bandanna skirt she saw in the crowd at a music festival. If you have a stash of bandannas around from your past (or present), check out her post for the basics and useful links on turning them into a skirt.

Everything Old Is New Again

Amy of doobleh-vay turned an old storybook into a set of lacing cards. You can see the results in her post And the white knight is talking backwards, which may give you a hint as to what book she used…

Tiffany posted a good list of 10 Ways to Reuse a Glass Jar at Natural Family Living Blog. The photograph in her post is gorgeous. I don’t think my yard is nice enough for one of those lanterns yet, but someday…

Diane of altered book studio and Carol of Unlikely Crafter got together and created some amazing dolls using old books and other leftovers. Diane’s post Who’s Your Dada Doll? has pictures and a description of the materials they used. Carol is wondering what to do with hers now…

Stephanie of confessions of a compulsive crafter created a tutorial on upcycling a mint tin into a sweet little box. It will definitely give you some decorating ideas if you’re into bitty containers – and what crafter doesn’t need those?

Crafting and the Economy

Autumn has been organizing a craft festival, and she posted some thoughts on the effects of rising gas prices on crafting here at Crafting A Green World.

Back To School

At this time of year, who can forget the kids when it comes to green crafting?

Autumn blogged it here the other day, but it’s so cute I’m including it again here in the carnival. Cindy of Skip To My Lou made a recycled pencil bag out of juice bags for the first day of school.

Jennifer at Ramblings of a Crazy Woman used egg cartons for a School Bus Craft with her kiddos. I’m thinking this would be a great “warming up” project for a child who’s going to be riding the bus for the first time.

We close with something that has never happened before, and will never happen again…

Katy at Creating Misericordia is working on reusable gift wrap made out of scarves, which is very green of her. Check out what happened while she was sewing and tell me she’s not right when she says this is an unprecedented historical event!

And that’s it for this edition…

Thanks to everyone who graciously allowed us to share their work. We look forward to seeing what comes in for the next edition of the Carnival, and as always, let us know if you’re interested in hosting!

Written by Skye Kilaen

Skye Kilaen began sewing at an early age and eco-rabble-rousing shortly after that. Many years later, someone finally told her that there are books about how to make quilts. Life was never the same. In fact, she spent more on her sewing machine than her car. Bringing her green and crafty passions back together, Skye is now happily discovering ways to create beautiful and useful objects using thrifted and sustainable materials. No, that's not just an excuse to visit Goodwill more often. Honest.


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  1. I’m stepping out of my Strange Folk shoes for a minute here, will be back with a jolly good post this weekend! Anyhoo, our “Enchanted Green Craft Forest” will have eco-craft activities for kiddos, and one of the projects will be #6 plastic shrinky dinks. I think that egg carton school bus one sounds awesome too! The cool thing about doing these projects at events is that you not only create awareness about trash to treasure, but I have half the city saving odd pieces of trash. Then you really start to see the impact that upcycling can make!

  2. Wow what a tremendous bunch of crafty, green posts! This is one of my favorite carnivals as it’s filled with crafts and has such unique projects. Thanks for providing this wonderful carnival forum each week.

  3. this carnival is one of the best ideas i’ve heard of in a long time! i love that green-crafting ideas can be spread freely among all! great job!

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