We love making things from everyday items. It’s recycling at its best and some of our favourite things to use are milk cartons, bottles and jars.
So here’s a huge list of milk carton crafts you could try. Go and raid the recycling bin now!
1. FAIRY HOUSE LANTERNS
We painted a jar with white emulsion paint and used twigs which we glued on to create the windows. Decorate your lantern with permanent marker pens before popping in a battery-operated tea light.
Love all things fairy? check out our tree stump fairy house.
2. BEACH TRIP MEMORY JAR
Collect sand in a jar when you visit the beach and place it in a photo to remember your day.
3. ETCHED LANTERNS
Paint the outside of your jar with emulsion paint, and leave it to dry before using a cocktail stick to etch your patterns. Finish by popping in a battery-operated tealight.
4. PERSONALISED DRINKS JARS
Paint your jar with gloss paint to personalise it. Check out our other Fun with Food Ideas.
5. ELMER ELEPHANT
We made our Elmer elephant using an empty milk carton & some coloured paper.
You could pop in a battery-operated tealight to turn him into a lovely nightlight.
6. MUSICAL BOTTLES
Fill bottles with different levels of water and add a few drops of food colouring. Use a wooden spoon to tap the bottles for different sounds.
7. POPPY DAY LANTERNS
We used permanent marker pens to decorate milk cartons for remembrance day and filled them with fairy lights. It’s the perfect Remembrance Day activity.
8. LIGHT UP FAIRY VILLAGE
Here’s how to make your own illuminating magical village.
9. MILK CARTON WATER PLAY
Make holes in the lids of milk cartons to turn them into bath-time watering cans. Check out our other baby activities.
10. SEA GLASS LANTERNS
Collect smooth sea glass and use glue to stick it to bottles to make a lovely vase.
Fill with battery-operated fairy lights.
11. TORNADO IN A JAR
Keep warm, dry and away from the rain indoors but create your own weather front. It’s really simple. We filled a jar of three-quarters full of water, added a drop of washing-up liquid and replaced the lid tightly. We then shook in a round and round motion & left to settle watching the tornado form.
12. AUTUMN LANTERNS
Decorate empty milk cartons/shampoo bottles with permanent marker pens and fill with a string of battery-operated fairy lights.
13. RIBBON WINDSOCKS
Carefully cut the end off of a milk carton and make some holes to attach ribbons. (If you love this then check out our Duvet windsock and sheet fun.
14. MUMMY LANTERNS
Use PVA glue to stick tissue paper to your jar before adding googly eyes. Finish by popping in a battery-operated tea light.
15. TIME CAPSULE JARS
Fill a jar with small items, a photo, a letter or a toy and bury it for years to come.
16. MILK CARTON BUTTERFLIES
Make some beautiful and simple butterflies to brighten up your garden. See how here.
17. MILK CARTON CATCHERS
Carefully cut the ends off of milk cartons to make catchers. Use rolled-up socks as balls.
18. PETAL PERFUME STATION
I used to love making petal perfume potions as a kid, so I picked some petals and laid them out on a plate with a small jar of water for a sweet-smelling after-school invitation to play.
19. MILK CARTON WATERING CAN
Carefully poke holes into milk carton lids to make your watering can.
20. DRIFTWOOD LANTERNS
Use an elastic band to secure driftwood around a jar. Pop in a string of battery-operated fairy lights.
Check out our Beach activities here.
21. MILK CARTON BIRD FEEDER
22. LAVENDER LANTERN
Use an elastic band to attach sprigs of lavender to a jar. Pop in a battery-operated tealight or, alternatively, a tealight which would heat the lavender and emit a lovely smell.
23. PICNIC POTS
We love having fun with food.
24. SALT ART JARS
Use chalk to rub into salt before filling in layers into your jar. Check out our summer activities.
25. NATURE DISCOVERY BOTTLES
Fill bottles with water and natural treasures then secure the lid tightly. Check out our baby activities.
26. FAIRY IN A JAR
27. PENNY HUNT JAR
28. VISUALLY SENSORY JARS
Fill plastic bottles with water and food colouring and place them in a bright place to stimulate young babies.
Check out more baby activities here.
29. STAINED GLASS ELMER LANTERN
Use permanent marker pens to decorate your jar before adding googly eyes and a cardboard trunk and ears. Finish with a battery-operated tealight.
30. CONSTELLATION LANTERN
Do see more Star Gazing Ideas.
31. READING LAMPS
32. MOTH ATTRACTOR
Decorate a milk carton before placing a torch or headlamp behind it to light it up and attract moths.
Check out our Fun Camping Ideas.
33. CRESS BOTTLEHOGS
Cut the side from a bottle and fill it with soil and cress seeds. Poke some drainage holes in the bottom and add googly eyes.
34. BEACH VIEWING BOTTLES
Fill plastic bottles with seawater and shells for some toddler observatories.
35. TODDLER NATURE OBSERVATORY BOTTLES
Fill a bottle with water and flowers.
36. NET FISHING
Take a jar with you to net fish in streams so you can view what you catch.
37. REMEMBRANCE LANTERNS
Use paper and glue to make remembrance day lanterns.
The uses for jars and milk cartons really are endless!