GIY (Green-it-yourself)

While this week marks the official onset of spring, the banks of snow in Rochester that have built up allude that we have not quite made it past the winter weather yet.

During the cold Rochester days, many find themselves turning to arts and crafts for entertainment. Arts and crafts can often produce not only a mess, but also leftover scraps gone to waste. Here are several tips on how to make arts and crafts greener. 

Artists can pay attention to various aspects of materials such as paint: do these products emit toxic waste; do they support local communities. When painting/crafts that require water, reduce your water consumption. When using paper for crafts, dedicate the scraps and materials to a “leftover craft” such as using leftover newspapers for a piñata and using leftover paper and magazines for collages. 

There are many ways to practice art in a sustainable manner. One of the biggest ways to practice green arts and crafts is through upcycling materials. Here are a couple of projects you can start right now that are made with upcycled materials:

A Soup Can Holder for all your pens and school supplies:

Clean a soup can or any small container and paint it or glue decorations on it to store your school (or future art) supplies. 

Plastic Yarn:

Plastic bags can be reused and made into a yarn that is easy to crochet! Here is a video on how to make plastic yarn (and here’s another method

Plate and Glasses to Mosaics

Broke a plate or a glass? Follow this video to repurpose the ceramics into works of art!

Newspaper to Paper Máche

As mentioned already, one can use newspapers, balloons/cardboard, hot water and glue to make a piñata and other paper máche projects. Here’s a tutorial showing the steps needed to make a basic piñata.

Greener Piñatas

One small trip to a Home Depot and some simple power-tools and you have an easy, reusable, and no-mess spinning piñata. This video shows how to make a piñata torno/giratoria using tape, cardboard, and decorations

Repurposing Old Shirts 

Old shirts can be cut and repurposed into headbands, weaved into a rug, room decorations, and even sewn into quilts

Next time when you find yourself wanting to pass time with arts and crafts, repurpose household items into works of art, furniture, and activities. If you make any of these crafts, tag ursustainable and we’ll feature your art in our story!


Written By Lugardo Marroquin ‘24

Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay 

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