25 Earth Day Craft Ideas: Sustainable makes, eco-friendly supplies + kids craft ideas
Find some eco-inspiration and use your crafty skills to reduce, reuse and recycle with our list of earth day crafts!
Earth Day 2021 returns this week and we're celebrating by sharing some of our favourite ideas for how to think more sustainably about our favourite crafts. This year, Earth day will fall on April 20-22nd, and it's the perfect chance to think about how we plan and source our craft projects with the environment in mind. So for Earth Day 2021, join us in making our making a little more sustainable!
We want to help you to use your creative skills to help the planet, by reusing and upcycling with some fab Earth Day Crafts projects! We've also included some links to inspiring Earth day crafts for kids, and if your craft stash is getting low, we've also included a list of some of our favourite sustainable craft products too.
Here at Gathered we're passionate about crafts, and big lovers of fabrics and textiles. But it can be surprising how much these industries can impact the planet. Over 300,000 tonnes of fabric goes to landfill each year in the UK, and a staggering 85% of textiles in the US are sent to landfill or burned (sources: BBC/ClothesAid). And it's not just the disposal of textiles, much of the textile production process also contributes to our collective carbon, water and waste footprint.
We hope you're now full of crafty eco inspiration and are eager to get reusing and recycling! If you would like to find out more about Earth Day 2021, head to earthday.org.
Looking for fun craft ideas for kids? Check out our arts and crafts to do at home.
Earth Day Craft Tips
Craft smarter - use your stash!
Whatever sort of crafter you are, most crafty people eventually fall into an all-too-common trap - hoarding! We've all got that 'special' skein of yarn or fancy fabric that we just had to buy. But rather than holding onto it and waiting for that perfect project, try making a concerted effort to use up those materials in your stash rather than buying more! We've been trying this ourselves recently, and find it really fulfilling and inspiring.
- Get Stash busting tips from our We've Made It podcast
Be a problem-solving crafter!
Next time you're thinking of buying something online or in-store, and you've already thought about if you really need it, take an extra second to think - "is there any way I could make this myself?" Need a nice pot for your new house plant - could you crochet one? Rather than buying some new cushions for your sofa - why not try sewing some? Once you adjust your way of thinking, you'll be surprised at how crafty you can be, and it not only saves money but will also help save the planet!
- 34 Recycled craft ideas to make from home
Think outside the box (or even the bin)!
One of our favourite trends in the eco-craft movement is creating your own craft supplies out of items that would normally go to waste. In our list below you'll find 2 fun tutorials on how to make your own upcycled yarn, but we don't want you to stop there. Next time you're putting something in the bin (or even the recycling bin - remember we want to reduce too), have a think about if there's anything you could use it for. Little bits of left over yarn or fabric scraps could be used to help pad out your toy or cushion stuffing. Food containers could be cleaned and used to store your little crafty bits and bobs, or easy plant pots! When you start thinking creatively you'll be amazed at how much you can reuse!
Earth Day Crafts to try!
Easy mens shirt refashion tutorial
Even if you're relatively new to sewing, this project is a really easy way to transform an old men's shirt into your new favourite top!
- Check out the Easy mens shirt refashion tutorial
How to make T-shirt yarn
We've all got at least one old T-shirt we don't wear anymore, and while we'd always encourage your to responsibly recycle your textiles where possible, if you fancy getting creative with them you could always try making some T-shirt yarn. It's surprisingly easy to do, and is great for using with super-size crochet and knitting projects like baskets and rugs!
- Check out our How to make T-shirt yarn tutorial
DIY Macrame garden chair
As we head into summer, it's time to start getting the garden furniture out of storage. But if your folding chairs have seen better days, don't throw them out - give them a second life with our DIY Macrame garden chair tutorial!
- Check out the DIY Macrame garden chair tutorial
Give your trainers a makeover
Shoes are a tricky one when it comes to sustainability. Although they can be recycled at many clothes recycling points, the reality is that they are often made up of so many different materials and composites that unfortunately some parts of them will inevitably not be able to be recycled. So we want to encourage to get as much life out of them as you can, and one way to do this is by giving them a fresh new makeover! If you've got a pair of old canvas shoes that you're a bit tired of, try jazzing them up with some funky embroidery details with our tutorial!
Upcycled sweater project
Here's another fantastic upcycling project that makes use of any old clothes you might be considering throwing out! This upcycled sweater project shows you how to transform an old jumper with other old clothes or fabrics to create a stylish new asymmetric sweater!
Check out our upcycled sweater project tutorial
How to do visible mending
Just because your favourite top has got a bit worn out, it doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to it just yet! You can save that garment and give it a whole new element of crafty style with a bit of visible mending!
How to make reusable cotton pads
Add some sustainability to your daily routine by using these reusable cotton pads rather than disposable ones! Not only can you wash them again and again, but they're also super-easy to crochet - it's just two rounds, so you can make a few and ensure you're never short of them!
How to make shoelaces from fabric scraps
Here's another fab project for breathing new life into your old shoes as well as using up those leftover fabric scraps from your sewing projects! These fabric shoelaces can be made from multiple pieces of fabric, and are a great way of adding some crafty style to your plain shoes!
Make a reusable crochet shopping bag
Most of us have got on board with reusable shopping bags nowadays, and if you know some crochet basics it's easy to hook up your own handy bag! This cotton crochet shopping bag is made from 100% cotton and features a sturdy base to ensure your fruit and veggies are secure - why not make a few so you'll always have one to hand!
How to make plarn - plastic bag yarn
Even though most of us have moved on to using reusable shopping bags, we know that plastic ones still make an appearance even if you don't want them too. Well, did you know that like t-shirts, you can turn plastic bags into yarn! It's great for making things like crochet plant pots, and even when your crochet creations get worn out you can still recycle them!
Check out our How to make plarn plastic bag yarn tutorial
Ditch disposable face masks and make your own
In 2021 facemasks are a big environmental topic, with a reported 53 million facemasks being discarded in the UK each day (source - Guardian). One alternative to using disposable facemasks is by making your own fabric facemasks which can be washed and reused.
- Check out our guide on how to make a face mask
Sustainable products for Earth Day Crafts
If you're on the lookout for new craft supplies, but want to keep your purchases environmentally friendly, then here's some sustainable craft supplies that are perfect for Earth Day Crafts
Wool and the Gang Ra-Ra-Raffia
Whether you use it as a general ribbon for your crafty projects, or use it as a yarn for your knitting or crochet project, this Ra-Ra-Raffia is a brilliant environmentally friendly ribbon yarn. Made from 100% Viscose - which is wood fibre (so it's essentially paper), this yarn is super light, water-repellant and dries fast. Plus it's biodegradable too, so if your projects have got worn out or are no longer used, you can easily recycle it... or you could even put it on the compost heap!
Enzyme washed eco friendly linen fabric
If you're looking for a fabric to use in your sewing projects and want to keep it environmentally friendly, then how about trying this Enzyme washed eco friendly linen. Linen by itself is more sustainable as it's made from flax plant fibres, but this fabric is washed with enzymes rather than harsh chemicals which helps to reduce on its environmental impact.
Eco-Stitch Linen Hand-dyed yarn
It's not just fabric that linen is great for, it also makes a fantastic yarn! There's quite a few different linen yarns available, but we're particularly big fans of the Eco-Stitch Linen yarn. It's hand-dyed in the UK with either non-toxic low impact dyes or alternatively with plant dyes, and are all Vegan, eco-friendly, cruelty-free and sustainable
Recycled A4 colour sugar paper
Here's one for all you paper-crafters! These 100% recycled papers come in a pack with 10 bright colours, and are perfect for your sustainable arts and crafts projects!
Wool and the gang new wave yarn
We think it's incredible how producers are finding new ways to incorporate recycling into their products, like this New Wave yarn from Wool and the Gang. Each ball is a blend of cotton and recycled polyester, in fact 3 plastic bottles go into each ball of yarn!
Handmade recycled perfectly-imperfect paper
If you liked the idea of using recycled paper in your arts and crafts projects, why not take sustainability one step further with these handmade recycled papers. As their name suggests, they're perfectly-imperfect, showing off the fabulous effects that are created thanks to the traditional frame & deckle method.
Recycled Polyester sewing thread
When you start thinking about sustainability in your crafts, even the simplest everyday items can have an impact. We were amazed to discover these 100% recycled polyester sewing threads, again made from recycled plastic bottles! They can be used for both hand and machine sewing, and are available in quite a few different colour collections.
Hoooked recycled cotton cord
If Macramé is your craft of choice, then you should definitely check out the Hoooked Spesso Chunky cotton. Not only is it made from un-dyed recycled cotton fibres, but also uses zero water in the production process! As well as Macramé, it's also perfect for your chunky knitting and crochet projects too!
Recycled Craft Felt Sheets
You don't have to sacrifice on quality when buying sustainable craft supplies. This recycled felt is high quality, made in the UK and is available at an affordable price, perfect for your appliqué and arts and crafts projects!
Recycled Toy Stuffing
If you're a knitter, crochet or stitcher who likes making soft toys, then you can make sure that even their insides are sustainable with this recycled polyester toy stuffing. Again made from recycled plastic bottles, it stands up just as well as conventional toy stuffing, and complies to all the usual safety standards!
Earth Day Crafts for Kids
If you're looking for some fab projects that you can make with your kids, then we've got some inspiring makes that you can easily use sustainable or recycled materials with and that will make brilliant earth day crafts for kids!
How to make play dough
Kids will love getting messy in the making of this home-made play dough, and as it's made from food ingredients you'll find in your kitchen cupboard it's safe to go into your food waste bin once kids have finished playing with it - far better than dough that uses chemicals going to landfill.
- Check out our how to make play dough tutorial
36 egg box crafts
Keep hold of your egg boxes and get your kids crafting up a storm with our list of 36 egg box crafts! From monsters to mermaids, treasure chests to trains, you can unleash your child's creativity in a sustainable way!
- Check out our 36 egg box crafts
Recycled craft ideas to make from home
Whether you're trying to get younger kids or teenagers into sustainable crafts, you'll find a project suitable for every age in our list of 34 recycled craft ideas to make from home. There's potato printing and cereal box guitars for little ones, or try origami or friendship bracelets with older kids, and there's also plenty of fun projects for adults too!
Check out our list of 34 recycled craft ideas to make from home
Main image (top of post): © Elena Vafina
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.