Recycled Art

What is Recycled Art?

There are two videos to choose from to learn about recycled art.

The first one is better for younger kids, the second one will appeal to older kids. Feel free to watch one, or both!

You may see a number of other videos that are a deeper dive into things you might be interested in. Feel free to watch as many of those as you like. Then choose some activities and/or a project. 

High school students or any student who wants to dig deeper, continue your study with the advanced learning project in the Projects section.

Take A Deeper Dive!

Meet the folk who are creating stunning artwork from materials found out at sea, in order to raise awareness of the impact waste has on our oceans.

Travis Hunter creates sculptures and furniture out of plastic bottles and other waste materials.

Ali Golzad creates incredible sculptures using recycled cardboard. Watch this video to see his work and his process.

Tom Deininger constructs intricate, optical illusion sculptures, using only discarded items.

Kaarina Kaikkonen, an artist from Finland, uses waste clothing to create her artwork. She uses her experiences and emotions to influence her pieces.


Create a Bird House

You will need:

  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • PVA Glue
  • Marker pens
  • Ruler
  • Paint brush
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Milk carton
  • Twig
  • Lolly stick

Watch the video below for inspiration and create a beautiful bird house for your garden.

Take a photo of your finished bird house and upload it to your portfolio.

Upcycle a Mug

Give an old mug a new lease of life with this painting activity. This process of taking an old object and transforming it is known as upcycling. Upcycling is one way that we can reduce waste ending up in a landfill. 

Watch the video for instructions for creating a beautiful mandala mug.

You will need:

  • Multi-surface acrylic paints (check they are permanent if you intend to use your mug afterwards)
  • Cotton buds
  • Pencil with rubber 
  • Paint palette
  • Water

Please check with an adult before undertaking this activity.

Remember to take photos of your mug and upload them to your portfolio.

Make an Art Journal

Paper usually makes up a large proportion of home waste. Did you know that it is really simple to recycle? 

In this activity, you will take waste paper and turn it into a brand-new art journal! 

Step 1:  Make some handmade paper

You will need:

  • Scrap paper (non-glossy paper will work best)
  • Bowl of water large enough to soak your paper
  • Scissors
  • Blender
  • Sieve 
  • Bowl (larger than the sieve)
  • Cotton fabric or sponge
  • Optional: Turmeric, coffee, dry flowers, ink, cotton thread.

Now that you have created your own paper, you can use your paper to make an art journal. 

You will need:

  • An old magazine or book
  • White primer
  • Your paper
  • Optional: Glue, washi tape, paints, marker pens

An art journal is a way of expressing and documenting both feelings and experiences. Use your paper in the creation of an art journal. How you use it is completely up to you! You might wish to paint or draw, or perhaps you would prefer to document poetry or writing. Take a look at the video below and find out how to create your art journal.

Watch this video for some more inspiration for your art journal, then get journaling!

Remember to take a photo of your journal  and upload it to your portfolio.


Create a sculpture using only discarded materials

Ashlyn creates beautiful art from materials which would otherwise be thrown away. Be inspired by Ashlyn and create a piece of recycled art!

You will need to collect a selection of materials – grab a large cardboard box and ask your family to help you fill it over a week. 

Before you begin – are you surprised by the amount of waste material you have collected? Which material makes up most of your waste?

Once you have a large selection of materials, you will be able to begin creating! Remember to upload a video walk-through or a picture of your creation to your portfolio, you could also include a written piece expressing your thoughts and experiences creating your sculpture.

Advanced Project

Create a presentation on a recycled art artist

Choose one of the artists from this website to research in more depth.

Create a PowerPoint of Google Slides presentation on your chosen artist. Think through the  5Ws (who, what, where, why, when) when deciding what information to include. 

Make sure that there is at least one slide addressing each of:

  • Where the artist is from/where they are based
  • The style of their artwork
  • Any major influences on their artwork
  • Significant works of art

Include your presentation in your portfolio. Write a description and then provide a link.


Read Aloud Book(s)