The Cleaning
Authority Blog

The Upcycle Craft Challenge (Part 1)

A few staff members from The Cleaning Authority were given a craft challenge to take everyday household items and instead of recycling them, upcycle them and repurpose them into a new life. It’s not as easy as it sounds!

Here are the terms of the craft challenge:
Each person received a sponge, a bottle (all a little different, but used to contain some type of household cleaner), and a few brown paper bags, and were required to use at least two of the three items together as the main part of their upcycle project. Additional supplies could be purchased for construction and decoration purposes, but the amount spent could not exceed $10.

The purpose of this challenge was to inspire creative and innovative ways to help reduce our footprint on the environment and minimize the amount of resources consumed. No matter how creative you are, anyone can apply the concept of upcycling and repurposing in their life and make a difference.

Here are the results:

In no particular order, here are three of the five projects that were conceived and constructed as a result of this craft challenge. Look for The Upcycle Craft Challenge (Part 2), coming soon, to see the other two projects.

Craft Challenge Contestant #1

FINAL PRODUCT: Animal Squirt Gun
REQUIRED ITEMS USED: Brown paper bags and a bottle (previously contained window cleaner)
ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED: Construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons or markers

Here’s How It Was Made:

1. The first step is deciding what animal or creature you want to use for your animal squirt gun. We’ve provided templates for a few, but feel free to create your own! We recommend making them at least 10 inches tall and at least 6 inches wide. You can print your template and use it as a guide to cut out colored construction paper or you can print it on a plain white sheet and have everyone decorate and color it themselves as desired. We'll be using a dinosaur in our example.

Download Dinosaur Template
Download Horse Template
Download Giraffe Template

2. Cut out your template with scissors or an X-Acto knife. Remember to cut out two pieces of paper, one for each side of the bag.

3. Place your paper bag over your spray bottle to get a feel for where the holes should be. You’ll want a hole in the back for your hand and a hole in the front for the spray to come out of. We recommend cutting a hole to remove the top half of the back, as pictured below.

4. The front hole can he about half the size of the back hole. This hole should go right to the top edge of the bag with no overhang so it won’t get wet.

5. Now it’s time to decorate your animal. You can cut out more pieces to glue onto it or draw on the paper to make the animal look however you want. In our example we’ve added eyes, teeth and a tongue to the dinosaur. Once you’ve finished decorating your animal, fold the top of the bag in half and glue your animal onto the bag.

Now place the bag over your spray bottle and you’re good to go!

Tip: This project can also be a fun way your kids can water the house plants.


Craft Challenge Contestant #2

FINAL PRODUCT: Hanging Mail Organizer
REQUIRED ITEMS USED: a sponge, brown paper bags and a bottle (previously contained toilet bowl cleaner)
ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED: X-acto knife, elmer’s glue, tape, twine, hole puncher, label sticker (optional), Mod Podge gloss finish.

Here’s How It Was Made:

1. Use an X-acto knife to cut a rectangular piece out of the sponge. Keep it thick on the sides and thick on the bottom for the best support.

2. Use a larger X-acto knife to cut the top of the bottle, but make sure you have enough of a base that papers/mail will not fall out.

3. Tear the paper bag into little pieces (about 1-2 inches in size.)

4. Mix 50/50 water and glue. It should have a milk-like consistency to it. Then, dip a piece of torn paper bag, one at a time, into the glue until the inside of the sponge is covered and dry. (Again, the inside of the sponge only for now.)

5. The sponge is going to become the pen/pencil holder. Arrange where you want the sponge to be, then secure it with tape.

6. Continue adding the glue covered pieces of paper bag until it is completely covered and dry.

7. Now it’s ready to be decorated! I like the look of the dried brown paper so I opted to paint only the pen area of the organizer. If you want this to be a hanging organizer (because you lack desktop space like me), now is a good time to punch two holes in the back near the top so you will be able to hang it with twine, string, or ribbon, depending on your preference.

8. Because the main material I used was paper I wanted to seal it, so I used a Mod Podge gloss finish. (Follow the instructions of the finish to administer it properly.)

9. And then I picked a label sticker I had leftover from another project to add a “Mail” label and added the twine to hang it.


Craft Challenge Contestant #3

FINAL PRODUCT: Personalized Christmas Tree Ornament
REQUIRED ITEMS USED: a brown paper bag and a bottle (previously contained orange degreaser cleaner)
ADDITIONAL ITEMS USED: X-acto knife, hot glue gun, pencil, stencil, paint and glitter (colors can be whatever you want)

Here’s How It Was Made:

1. Use the exacto knife to cut out one side of the spray bottle. From the removed piece, cut out the shape you would like (In my case, an oval).

2. Find the image that you want on the ornament online and print it off to use as a stencil, then trace the image onto the cut out.

3. Take the black paint and fill in the image on the cut out. Take the glitter and sprinkle it on the wet paint. Once that is dry, paint the edges with the silver paint and let it dry.

4. Cut out a strip from the paper bag and twist it into a rope. Take the paper bag rope and glue it to the back of the ornament.

Categories: Green Living