Eco-Friendly Nature Crafts: 30+ Earth-Conscious Projects Using Recycled Materials

Creating nature crafts sustains connections with the natural world around us. But generating unnecessary waste harms the environment. This guide shows how to craft beautiful nature-inspired pieces sustainably by upcycling household materials, minimizing ecological impact, and spreading appreciation for the planet through art.

Upcycled Planter From Scrap Wood

Give discarded wood cutoffs new life as charming rustic planters for potted plants.


  • Wood cutoffs or salvaged wood
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain/sealer
  • Decorative elements like pebbles, moss


  1. Gather and prepare scrap wood pieces by sanding edges smooth.
  2. Adhere salvaged wood planks together into a box shape using wood glue. Allow glue to fully cure.
  3. Stain the planter box with any color stain to protect the wood from weathering. Apply outdoor sealant over the stain.
  4. Plant flowers, herbs, or greenery in the planter box. Decorate surrounding the base with pebbles, moss or other elements.

Giving used wood fresh purpose keeps it out of landfills and creates charming decorative planters for gardens.

Also, Check this as well Outdoor Art for Beginners

Upcycled Scrap Wood Birdhouses

Woodworking cutoffs transformed into charming bird habitats encourage sustainable wood use while sheltering neighborhood birds.


  • Assorted wood scraps and cutoffs
  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood sealer/stain
  • Miniature house decor (optional)


  1. Cut and arrange wood scraps into the walls, roof, base and other parts of a miniature birdhouse.
  2. Use wood glue to join pieces into the full birdhouse structure. Allow to fully dry.
  3. Sand to smooth any rough edges. Apply outdoor wood sealant to protect from weathering.
  4. Adorn with mini bird-friendly decorations if desired before mounting outside.

Upcycling leftover wood into functional birdhouses gives birds cozy sustainable homes while keeping waste out of landfills.

Recycled Magazine Seed Starters

Repurpose used magazines, catalogs or junk mail into biodegradable seed starting pots for gardens.


  • Used magazines, catalogs or junkmail
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Seeds
  • Tray or plate


  1. Cut paper into 4″x6″ rectangles. Cut rectangles into a spiral coil shape starting from one corner.
  2. Roll paper coils into tube shapes. Staple or use glue stick to adhere tube ends together.
  3. Fold over one end of the tube to create a bottom. Fill tubes with soil and plant a few seeds in each.
  4. Place tubes in a tray or plate, bottom down. Add water sparingly to soil until sprouts emerge.
  5. Transplant magazine paper seed starter tubes directly into soil outside once frosts pass. The cardboard decomposes, fertilizing the soil.

Repurposed Jar Vases From Food Waste

Transform empty food jars and bottles destined for the recycling bin into beautiful flower vases with a creative recycled makeover.


  • Empty glass food jars, bottles or containers
  • Spray paint
  • Scrapbooking paper
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Florist foam bricks
  • Faux or fresh flowers


  1. Clean used glass containers thoroughly. Apply spray paint if desired to give a colored tint. Allow to dry.
  2. Cut scraps of patterned paper to cover exteriors of repurposed containers or leave glass transparent.
  3. Affix paper around jars using a thin coat of craft glue diluted with water. Smooth wrinkles. Allow glue to fully dry.
  4. Use florist foam inside bottom of jars and insert fresh flower stems or faux blooms. Style flowers attractively.

Giving used food containers new life as vases reduces waste while creating charming floral decor.

Repurposed Book Page Flowers

Upcycle the pages of discarded books into stunning handcrafted paper flower bouquets and garlands.


  • Used book pages
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Florist wire
  • Pruners/wire cutters
  • Glue dots


  1. Draw flower petal shapes onto book pages. Cut out using scissors.
  2. Layer and stack multiple sizes of petals using florist wire threaded through the center to attach pieces.
  3. Twist wire stems tightly. Use pruning shears to trim stems once completed.
  4. Make leaves by layering ovals. Adhere smaller blooms to wire stems using glue dots.
  5. Arrange wired paper flowers into stunning bouquets, wreaths or garlands. Display proudly!

Breathing new life into discarded books prevents waste while crafting elegant works of paper flower art.

Repurposed T-Shirt Yarn

Shrink your textile waste footprint by upcycling old t-shirts into crafty recycled yarn for knitting and weaving projects.


  • Used t-shirts made of jersey/stretch cotton
  • Scissors


  1. Cut the shirt horizontally just below the underarm sleeves to remove collar and sleeves.
  2. Cut the remaining shirt body from hem to neckline into a spiral strip 1-2 inches wide.
  3. Once the entire shirt is cut into a strip, tie one end to a stationary object.
  4. Gently pull and stretch the fabric strip lengthwise into a yarn. Wind into a ball.

Use your upcycled t-shirt yarn to knit scarves, weave baskets, crochet rugs and more!

Repurposed Bottle Cap Magnets

Transform used metal bottle caps destined for the recycling bin into fun handmade photo magnets for the fridge.


  • Clean used metal bottle caps
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Photos
  • Glue dots
  • Self-adhesive magnet sheets


  1. Cut circles slightly smaller than cap diameter from patterned paper and photos.
  2. Affix paper circle background into cap recess using glue dots. Allow to fully dry.
  3. Adhere a photo circle on top of the paper background, trimming to fit if needed.
  4. Cut small strips of self-adhesive magnet. Place magnets on the outer side of cap backs.

Display favorite pics or memories in recycled bottle cap magnets rather than tossing them.

Tin Can Lanterns

Illuminate your space with upcycled candle lanterns crafted sustainably from reused tin food cans.


  • Clean empty tin cans
  • Metal hole punch
  • Tea lights
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Scrapbook paper (optional)


  1. Clean and thoroughly dry tin cans. Optional – spray paint with metallic finish and let dry.
  2. Punch symmetrical holes evenly spaced around the can using a metal hole punch tool.
  3. Cut strips from patterned scrapbooking paper and glue around cans if desired.
  4. Place tea lights inside, light, and display as ambient lighting or miniature tabletop lanterns!

Upcycling food cans into decorative candle lanterns repurposes metal waste into handmade lighting.

Recycled Book Page Ornaments

Craft gorgeous holiday ornaments by repurposing pages from worn books destined for the trash.


  • Pages from used hardcover books
  • Circle punch or pencil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Ribbon, string or scrapbooking paper


  1. Use a circle punch or trace a circle template on book pages. Cut out using scissors.
  2. Fold the circle in half. Cut into a spiral pattern starting from the fold to the outer edge.
  3. Roll up the circular paper strip tightly into a cone. Glue end in place.
  4. Punch a hole at the pointed end. Loop ribbon or string through the hole for hanging.
  5. Decorate cones with scrapbooking paper, gift bows or other embellishments.

Hanging handmade book page ornaments on the tree reduces paper waste for more sustainable holidays.

Repurposed Sweater Mittens

Extend the usefulness of old wool sweaters by upcycling them into cozy and eco-friendly handmade mittens.


  • Used wool sweater
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle and thread


  1. Lay mittens onto sweater and trace outline onto the fabric. Cut out using scissors.
  2. For each mitten, sew two pieces with wrong sides facing leaving an opening. Leave open the finger edge.
  3. Turn mittens inside out once sewn. Use needle and thread to whip stitch closed the finger gap.
  4. Make wrist bands from remaining sweater scraps. Sew to mittens when finished.

Upcycling used or thrifted wool sweaters into handmade mittens reduces textile waste.

Repurposed Book Art

See the artistic possibilities hidden inside the pages of discarded hardcover books. Craft eye-catching 3D book art sculptures, wreaths, and other creations.


  • Hardcover books ready for recycling
  • Craft knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Hot glue gun
  • Embellishments – paint, paper, lace, buttons


  1. Identify book pages or sections to upcycle into shapes. Carefully cut pages away from binding using a craft knife on cutting mat.
  2. Fold, roll, pleat, stack, scrunch or fan pages into flower shapes, wreaths, boxes, letters or other forms.
  3. Apply hot glue to adhere pieces into final book art sculptures. Decorate further with paint, paper or other elements.
  4. Display artistic book creations proudly as wall art, centerpieces, holiday decor and more!

Breathing new life into discarded books through art stops useful materials from clogging up landfills.

Cinnamon Ornament Air Fresheners

Craft natural air-freshening ornaments for the holiday tree using common baking ingredients from the pantry.


  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups ground cinnamon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Rolling pin
  • Cookie cutters
  • Straw or popsicle stick
  • Ribbon


  1. Mix applesauce and cinnamon together. Roll flat on a floured surface. Cut shapes using cookie cutters.
  2. Poke a hole at the top of each shape with a straw. Thread ribbon through the hole.
  3. Place cinnamon dough ornaments on parchment paper until fully dried and hardened, at least 24 hours.
  4. Hang your all-natural, fragrant ornaments on the Christmas tree! The cinnamon scent will infuse the air.

Nature Mandala Art

Create meditative nature mandalas using leaves, flowers and other foraged organic materials from the backyard.


  • Leaves, petals, twigs, pebbles, pinecones
  • Circular wooden board or canvas
  • Craft glue
  • Acrylic sealer spray (optional)


  1. Collect small nature materials like leaves, flowers, twigs, seeds during a meditative walk outdoors.
  2. Arrange materials in a circular mandala pattern on a round board. Glue down once design is complete.
  3. Allow glue to dry fully – 24 hours. Mist with acrylic sealer spray for permanence if desired.

Centering the mind while crafting with natural objects fosters eco-consciousness, creativity, and presence.

Nature Weaving Wall Hanging

Weave a rustic fibre wall hanging from foraged grasses and vines using natural dyes.


  • Natural grasses, vines, bark fibers
  • Tree branches
  • Natural dyes – peels, berries, leaves
  • Water in spray bottle
  • Twine or jute cord


  1. Bundle and tie washed grasses, vines and fibers to ends of tree branches using twine.
  2. Soak natural materials in boiling water with berries, peels or leaves to dye fibers. Rinse and air dry.
  3. Weave dyed bundles over and under each other at right angles. Mist with water to soften and bend fibers while weaving.
  4. Rotate the circular loom to weave fibers across the entire grid.
  5. Tie off woven ends. Hang the finished circular fibre wall hanging.

Nature Science Paper

Upcycle scrap paper into textured handmade paper embedded with leaves, petals and seeds using a blender.


  • Used scrap paper
  • Large bucket
  • Blender
  • Window screen or cheesecloth
  • Leaves, petals, seeds
  • Picture frame mold
  • Sponge


  1. Tear used paper into small bits. Soak the shredded paper in water overnight.
  2. Pour paper slurry into a blender. Add leaves, petals, seeds or other natural materials. Blend to combine thoroughly.
  3. Pour blended pulp into a picture frame with cheesecloth/screen bottom. Press pulp evenly into frame.
  4. Flip frame over onto cardboard. Lay sponge on pulp and press to soak up moisture.
  5. Remove cheesecloth and allow frame to dry completely. Carefully remove new nature paper sheet.

Get creative with homemade paper embedded with natural materials destined for the compost bin like leaves, flowers and seeds.


With a little creativity, crafting sustainably using recycled and natural materials found right at home proves both simple and deeply rewarding. Beyond just repurposing potential waste, these eco-friendly projects cultivate mindfulness of consumption while fostering appreciation for the abundance offered by the natural world around us. Crafting “green” also often sparks inspiration for more harmonious, intentional living and upholds values of ecological stewardship through art.

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