5 zero-waste craft ideas the kids and the planet will love

young girl painting

Trying to do your bit for the planet but struggling to keep the kids entertained without using plastic? Educate your kids on upcycling and how to save the planet with these fun and innovative craft ideas.

It’s time to get back to basics with these zero-waste craft ideas that will keep the kids amused for hours, plus help your budget!

Paper Mache

If your kids love to get messy, Paper Mache is the perfect cure! Make your own bowls, animal figurines and masks with DIY paper mache.

What you’ll need:

  • Natural glue
    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 ½ cup water
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp vinegar
  • Old Newspaper
  • Paint
  • Optional: toilet rolls and extra cardboard


  1. Cut the newspaper into 2cm wide pieces and set aside. Make natural glue paste in a bowl by whisking all ingredients together.
  2. When the glue is a lump-free consistency dip pieces of newspaper into the glue and line a clean glass bowl overlapping each piece. Alternatively, form frames using toilet paper rolls and cardboard then cover to form ­­animal shapes and masks before leaving to set.
  3. Allow your creations to dry overnight then paint with lots of colours! 

Read more about craft activities:

Food art

What you’ll need:

  • Old cardboard cut into large squares and shapes
  • Glue (use the same recipe as paper mache)
  • Seeds and legumes (green and yellow lentils, black beans, popcorn)
  • Marker

Level 1

Using cardboard squares cut from old boxes, stick on your favourite bulk-bought beans, seeds and legumes, placing them into fun patterns.

Level 2

Draw a shape onto a piece of thick cardboard and cut the centre of it out (see picture here). Stick your shape onto a similar sized piece of paper or cardboard, creating a sort of bowl. Fill the void with glue and then let the kids fill in with seeds.

DIY Containers

Make fun and quirky containers for around your home. Paint a set of six for DIY bowling in the backyard or use them around the house to store pencils, cooking utensils or even as planters!

What you’ll need:

  • Old tins and jars
  • Paint
  • Ribbon
  • Optional: one nail and a hammer


  1. Soak the tins and bottles in warm soapy water and vinegar to remove the labels.
  2. Help the kids paint them in their favourite colours and decorate with ribbon you’ve saved from other gifts.
  3. Optional: you can even nail holes in the tins to create a funky candlelight stencil.

DIY wrapping paper

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Here’s one we made (much) earlier (like 18 months ago 😂) 🌵🍉🐱 • After an unproductive night (resorted to just making a cup of tea & tending to the snotty kids who were alternating in waking up every 30 minutes), we made our own humous first thing this morning…. and it was gross. We’ll still eat it though because, zero waste an’ that. Swipe across to see our efforts… but instead let’s just focus on these fun potato prints 🌵🍉🐱 Got some funky looking ‘tatoes? Make them into stamps to print on that massive chunk of brown packing paper you got from Amazon (or try planting them if they’re sprouting). The former is particularly fun for the young and the young at heart…. and, for us, more aesthetically pleasing than our yucky humous. #zerowastekent #zwkmakes #makesmthng #heresonewemadeearlier #onewemadeearlier

A post shared by Zero Waste Kent (@zerowastekent) on

Another great fun zero-waste idea is using old veggie ends to create fun stencils and make your own wrapping paper.

What you’ll need:

  • Vegetables (potatoes are my go-to!)
  • Brown recycled kraft paper
  • Optional: old kitchen sponge


  1. Cut a potato lengthways then cut inverted shapes for your kids to use, once you’ve finished simply rinse the potatoes and pop them in the compost bin. A reusable option is to cut up a used kitchen sponge.
  2. Dip the stencil in paint and press onto the paper for fun wrapping paper ideas! You could also touch up with a paintbrush if you like but I prefer the rustic look.

Leaf painting

Get the kids outside and on the hunt for materials to build one of these colourful mobiles.

What you’ll need:

  • 1-2 sticks (similar lengths)
  • Old dried leaves with a 3-5cm stem
  • Cotton
  • Paint
  • Optional: twine or wool


  1. Paint the leaves on one side and leave to dry.
  2. Whilst drying paint or wrap the sticks in twine. If using two sticks form a cross and wrap to secure, using one long piece of twine to make a large arch which you will use for hanging.
  3. Paint the other side of the leaves and when dry tie a piece of cotton to each stem. Attach the other end of the cotton to the sticks hanging at different lengths.

This July people around Australia are making the pledge to join Plastic Free July. By quitting plastic for just one month, Banish is hoping that Australian’s realise how easy and simple it is to help save our planet, every small change we make as individuals has a big impact. Are you ready to make a change? Follow Banish on Instagram for more fun tips and share your zero waste creations, don’t forget to use the hashtags #banishbandit #choosetorefuse and of course #plasticfreejuly.


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