Make Your Own: Reclaimed Crafts

          October 14th, 2016

          Reclaimed Trash to Treasure

          The children in Sultans of the Street, like many people living with very limited means, use discarded and found items to create the costumes they wear as beggars dressed as gods. See a collection of images selected by director Marcus Youssef showing inspiration for the design of the show.

          Many acclaimed artists have worked in recycled materials to make striking works of art. See some examples here.

          Making art with recycled materials not only uses great creativity, but it encourages reuse and repurposing of materials that might otherwise be thrown away.

          To the craft materials you may already have (paper, glue, beads, etc.) consider collecting (clean!) items such as these:

          • Styrofoam: egg cartons, packing peanuts; food containers; meat trays
          • Cardboard: food boxes, paper boxes, corrugated boxes, ice cream containers, drink trays
          • Wood: off-cuts from carpentry projects
          • Plastics: soap containers, lotion bottles, shampoo bottles, laundry bottles & lids, plastic shopping bags, soda 6-pack rings, plastic “clamshell” containers
          • Aluminum: soda cans, clean/used tin foil, food wrapper linings
          • Paper: shredded paper, envelopes, junk mail, magazines and catalogues
          • Odds & Ends: CD’s, broken pieces of furniture, chipped plates/mugs, jewelry pieces
          • Wire: old clothes hangers, twist ties from garbage and bread bags
          • Metals: nuts & bolts, screws, soda tabs, lids
          • Fabric: scrap fabric swatches, old t-shirts, old scarves

          Spread out all the collected materials and choose at least three items to incorporate into a new creation. Here are some ideas for projects incorporating recycled materials:

          • Two-dimensional wall hanging using layers of flat items such as cardboard, paper collage, flat pieces of plastic or metal, or fabric
          • Relief sculpture with a flat back and items glued on top to add depth/thickness
          • Wearable pieces of jewelry featuring striking or unusual pieces – create homemade beads by cutting strips of colourful magazine paper with tapered ends, rolling around a toothpick, and gluing the loose end. Coat with a layer of varnish or Mod Podge and let dry
          • Create a three-dimensional sculpture of an animal, person, figure, insect, plane, train, etc. using a bottle or cardboard tube as a body, then attaching items such as sticks, nuts and bolts, fabric, and wire. Decorate with collage, paint, and glued-on items

          See also the wonderful recycled art projects at


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