Things to Make Out of Recycled Products for School Projects

    by Ashley Kurz

    About the Author

    Ashley Kurz, a full-time professional writer since 2009, publishes on various informational websites. An expert in the craft field specializing in craft-related topics, Kurz has taught arts and crafts for group therapy sessions.


    The best way to recycle something is to reuse it, either in its original state or in a project. Even with recycling programs, the materials require energy to be processed and manufactured into a new item, but using the items yourself skips the extra energy usage. Using recycled items can save you money as well, when you use them in place of store-bought materials. School projects provide multiple opportunities to demonstrate the usefulness of recycled items.

    Dioramas and Model Buildings

    Construct small buildings, city models and dioramas with empty cardboard boxes. Use cereal boxes, cracker boxes and shoe boxes for large models. Use gelatin boxes, tea boxes and matchboxes for smaller details and buildings. Sandpaper is a perfect material for rooftops. You can cut it into smaller pieces to make shingles or lay it in sheets over flat roofs. Make fences around houses with craft sticks.

    Two-Liter Bottle Greenhouse

    Create a greenhouse with a 2-liter soda bottle. Cut the top off of the bottle and fill the bottom half with potting soil. The bottom of the bottle acts as a planter. Plant seeds or seedlings in the potting soil. Water the plant and replace the top of the bottle by tucking the sides into the sides of the bottom half of the bottle. The plastic cover of the top lets sunlight in for the flowers and traps the heat, allowing the water to create condensation through greenhouse effect on a small scale.

    Recycled Musical Instruments

    Turn trash into musical instruments for music class. This is an economical way to provide an entire class of students with instruments for low or no cost and to include them in completing the project. Create shakable percussion instruments with empty soup and soda cans. Fill them with rice or beans and cover the openings with duct tape. Pour a small amount of rice into a pie tin and set another pie tin over top. Tape them together and use them as a tambourine. Glue sandpaper to wooden blocks and swipe them across each other.

    Coffee Can Time Capsule

    Wash out empty coffee cans and apply paint to decorate them. Fill the cans with notes about life as it is today, objects and memorabilia representing your interests and photos of you and your friends or family. Seal the can and label it with the date you filled it. Bury it or have it otherwise locked away, like in a locked supply closet. Set a date to dig up or retrieve the can. Set the date as far away as reasonably possible, so that the contents of the can are a surprise to find when someone opens it.

    Photo Credits

    • for recycling image by Alexander Afonin from