Friday, May 15, 2009

Recycling can be ~ Contagious...

These days recycling is a necessity. We have so much packaging that we are drowning in it. But some of this stuff is really worth saving and reusing..several or MANY times over.

This is the ultimate in recycling. From the book" THE ADVENTURES OF CALI" written by Michele Lallouz Fisher that I illustrated, Zachary is smuggling his pet caterpillar (tomato worm) across country on an airplane. He has his "friend" nestled in an airport salad container.

But I was thinking that since I have been saving a lot of packaging lately, all of you must be as well. Here's what I am using primarily for my art and our garden.

For my painting I save the plastic containers from eggs, cookies and other items to use for paint containers, mixing colors and holding water.
There is a double sided plastic egg container that I love for my water colors and acrylics. It opens up so that there are 24 "holes" to put paint and the top folds out to become a large mixing tray.

Cardboard egg cartons?... I am saving these for my youngest visitors. They make great stacking toys and can be a "quiet" kind of noise when the buildings get knocked down. I also use them as planters. A seed can go into each egg holder with some dirt ... once it begins to grow I just plant the whole box in the garden. The cardboard dissolves over time and the roots of the new seedlings just go right into the ground. The separations keep the plants from competing with one another too.

I also love to use these light weight egg cartons for the armatures of paper mache sculptures.

Old cereal boxes and laundry detergent boxes can be reinforced and used upright or on the side with one side cut away as book or magazine holders. I cover mine with fabric and tape over that with heavy duty clear packing tape. Works great and keeps my smaller books and study guides in order.

Did you know you can make a great little terrarium from a plastic cookie container or cake or pie container. Put a little dirt, some small plants, a bit of water and a few pebbles or rocks into the bottom and then tape the top back on tightly.

I wash and keep all kinds of containers from yogurt, cottage cheese, and mayonaise bottles. The Mayo containers with the snap lid and a hole in it are great for paint projects for kids. Just fill with paint, store and when you need a color just squeeze enough out onto a small plastic lid or other small container you have saved.
Meat trays from large quantity purchases make great storage containers.

My efforts are puny compared to some others. Do you have great ideas for recycled items... that make a difference and might also create art, or give beauty to something or someone?
Post your ideas here...


Mia Charro said...

Great idea ginger and beautiful illo! My recycling idea: I recycle the vegetables crystal pots and I use them to put my pencils, earrings, etc.

Juan said...

Very nice idea!
Have a great weekend Ginger!

froggie said...

what great ideas, ginger and a very sweet illio! i love all the veggies! my recycling idea...hmmm. oh yes! old sweat socks. when they get holes to big to wear, you use them to polish and dust...great on banisters! "))

M.M.E. said...

I started cutting about magazines and brochures lying around the art department and crafting them into handmade envelopes. That way I can send a letter and a piece of artwork. You can see a few sets in my Etsy shop at

Jack Foster said...

Great illustration Ginger! Love your "kids". And what a terrific and timely idea for this weeks challenge. Love it!!! Always enjoy a trip to Ginger Blogland.

Roberta said...

Every little bit helps doesn't it!!
What fun you are!!!

Julia Kelly said...

as usual, wonderful illustration and wonderful lesson- I'm grateful for all the tips and tricks you have taught me and here is another one- using the egg cartons for paints- will be using it down at Battlerock teaching the kiddos!

ValGalArt said...

Your image is so timely and your colours are beautiful! I recycle and upcycle so many things like you do. I use candy tins and boxs to make gifts and gift items. I reuse glass jars to make candles. I use the lids of coffee cans as paint palettes when I am doing handwork. All my plastic containers become soaking tubs for my airbrush parts. Love this idea and image and you have been quite prolific this week as I looked at your new posts. Great work :)