The most epic list of things to make with what you already have - including recyled crafts, nature crafts, stash-busters, cool DIY ideas for teens, tweens and adults and more!

A Zillion Things to Make at Home!

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There’s nothing quite as therapeutic as creating something new. This enormous list of things to make is organized mostly by material . You’ll find something for every skill level and every age group – including many unique ideas! And you’ll love that you already have most of the materials for these handy! This post contains affiliate links and was originally published in November 2017.

A unique collection of your favorite things to make from around the web. Use unusual materials to craft!

I have a personal craft challenge that I like to do all by myself. I choose a random material and see what I can make with it. It’s a really simple challenge, and a great craft room purge.

It’s also great for when you’re looking to repurpose and make use of what you have.

Below, you’ll find things to make with unusual materials, with recyclables and trash, with craft scraps, and nature crafts.

In this post, you’ll find links to lists that use a specific material. The challenge: use this post as your prompts/challenges. I’ll include some thought starters within this post and then click through to that material for specific ideas.

Happy crafting!

You’ll need to click on the image or title to find things to make with each material. This is a category page organized so that you can find your ideas by material. It would be impossible to browse through if each idea was spelled out. Find the material you want and click through to that post to find really cool things to make with it.

Things to Make with Unusual Household Materials

Sometimes you just need to think a bit further than your craft closet! And sometimes inspiration can be found in your craft closet… but not in the way you think.

Material #1: Nail Polish

14 cool and functional nail polish crafts! These quick and easy crafts are perfect crafts for teens, or for when you're short on time and all use a common ingredient: nail polish!

My long-time favorite, nail polish crafts are a score mainly because it’s so much fun to paint and cover surfaces with a little polish… But they also make for a very hard-wearing paint.

When looking for things to make with nail polish think: updated fashion accessories, things that look great with a glossy, hard-wearing finish. You’ll find that nail polish chips much less when you’re not washing dishes with this – I have it last on updated jewelry for years!

Tip: buy cheap assortment packs from inexpensive brands.

Find ideas for nail polish crafts here!

Material #2: Balloons

16 awesome things to make with balloons - you'll love these easy balloon crafts are for all skill and age levels! You'll find crafts for kids, teens, and adults with easy ideas to repurpose balloons you have left over from a birthday party.

From decorated balloons, to making use of the flexible rubber sheet that you get from dismantling a balloon, you get surprising possibilities. There’s really no specific direction to take when brainstorming things to make – some balloon crafts even just enjoy the bright colors that balloons come in.

Find loads of balloon crafts here!

Material #3: Drinking Straws

14 of the BEST and most unique things to make with straws - these straw crafts use both paper straws and plastic, and include kids crafts, adult DIY, and unique ideas for teens too.

Between plastic straws and paper straws, you really have lots of possibilities for things to make with straws. You’ll want to go for a better quality straw when crafting with them if you want your craft to last. Some cheaper options can be quite flimsy.

Of course, you can start with beads – and they don’t need to look like a toddler made them. Wrap them with string, spray paint them, make ’em look cool!

Another cool idea with straws is Himmeli – a Finnish craft originally using actual natural straw. Of course, your options are diverse, for kids and adults, so check out the full list of straw crafts.

Material #4: Pool Noodles

'Tis the season of stores overrun with pool noodles, cheaper by the dozen, and so the time to look into pool noodle crafts and activities to try!

While not a “common household item”,pool noodles are a common dollar store item and an unusual material that open up lots of new possibilities.

First of all, they float – so they’re fantastic for water toys or activities. They are also easy to cut with a knife but have a big, solid form, making them fantastic for easy large-scale projects. 

But there’s lots more so check out the full list of pool noodle crafts and activities!

Material #5: Clothespins

These 14 beautiful clothespin crafts are so easy to make - you'll find ideas for kids and for adults! There are a few clothespin puppets ideas, clothespin vehicles and many funcitonal DIY toys and projects.

Clothespins are so versatile for crafting, they’ve become a staple in my craft room! First of all, I use them as a “clamp” to secure glued projects until they set.

As for things to make with clothespins, my favorite is puppets with mouths that open and close (I’ve made a few styles of clothespin puppets) but you can make all sorts of cool crafts for kids and grown ups.

Find some awesome clothespin crafts right here!

Material #6: Zippers

Who knew you could make such cool things with zippers? I love these zipper crafts, especially those easy DIY shoes - plus lots of DIY jewelry, accessories, and home projects!

Colorful zippers make a cool craft supply beyond sewing, and one of the ways I’ve challenged myself was to find things to make with zippers that are somewhat unusual.

I’ve made three different types of bracelets but beyond jewelry , there’s more you can do with zippers! Think of them as a glorified strip of ribbon with a little edge. I stock up on colorful zippers and keep them handy in my craft room as a non-sewing craft supply.

Find loads of zipper crafts here!

 Crafts made with Recyclables and Trash

Instead of throwing it out, why not craft with it? These super cool things to make use materials that would otherwise probably go right into the garbage bin. Some of them might be recycled, but the most eco-friendly solution is to turn them into something new!

And the best part? These craft supplies are F.R.E.E.

Material #7: Jars

One of my first regular-stock supplies, baby food jars come in a small size that’s unique. When M was a baby, I used a lot of baby food and so we emptied a few jars a day. I saved loads of these for crafting.

While lots of these crafts can be made with full-size jars, many make use of the small size. Think first of storage solutions, then globes, candle holders and more!

Click for endless things to make with baby food jars!

Material #8: Promotional magnets

Make these adorable recycled crafts using promotional magnets! Featuring 16 genius, easy DIY projects that upcycle fridge magnets you got for free.

You know those business card magnets that you might have plastered all over your fridge? While slightly less versatile than other recyclables, they’re still free and make fantastic magnets for lightweight crafts.

I’ve even used these to turn printables into magnetic toys for the kids.

Score on things to make with promotional magnets here!

Material #9: CDs and DVDs

15 Amazing ways to recycle and craft with old CDs and DVDs! This is the best DIY CD upcycling craft list I've seen

When decluttering and scaling down, one of the big steps is to go digital with all media. That means backing up movies, home movies, old music and more on more compact high-capacity media, or even on the cloud.

That leaves loads of CDs and DVDs to be thrown out… or used! The best things to make with these are those that make use of the iridescent back or translucency. We’ve done scratch art that shows the beautiful back. We’ve also made use of the fact that it’s a hard plastic surface for other art projects.

Get some more ideas for things to do with CDs here!

Material #10: Wine Corks

Ah… wine corks! It’s one of those things that we, as savvy crafters, impulsively tend to save without really knowing what we’re gonna do with them.

They are from the more versatile materials, with things to make ranging from magnets (they’re lightweight so don’t require very strong magnets to back them) to jewelry. Some people like saving a lot and making larger scale projects, like cork boards.

More wine cork crafts this way!

Material #11: Cardboard tubes

You'll love these fun and functional toilet paper roll crafts - because why not upcycle them and get something new? These cardboard tube crafts are totally unique and easy to make.

For sanitary reasons, you may want to remove these before you use the roll, or stick to paper towel tubes. Either way, there’s no need for me to elaborate on how useful these are. But you might not realize that cardboard tube crafts does not end with kids’ character crafts.

I’ve seen these repurposed into gift boxes a lot, but my favorite is a pencil pouch I made from cardboard tubes. Ultimately, you’ll probably want to focus on the cylindrical shape and challenge yourself with things to make from there.

Or just find ideas for toilet paper roll crafts right here!

Material #12: Bottle Caps

I love these recycled bottle cap crafts and DIY ideas! I love to collect beer bottle caps AND plastic soda bottle caps, and then making crafts for kids, seasonal crafts, art projects, diy toys, magnets and more with them.

Confession: I hoard bottle caps. And I’m far from done crafting with these. But for now, I’ll share with you two tips for brainstorming things to make with both plastic and metal bottle caps:

  1. Think small and sturdy – so crafts like magnets and jewelry are a score
  2. Round shape and a solid material. Use it in DIY toys, or use the round shape as a starting point for art.

Or make one of these amazing bottle cap crafts.

Material #13: Old jeans

Make super easy crafts from old jeans! These 16 recycled denim crafts and DIY ideas are perfect for upcycling and repurposing old clothing. They make great teen crafts too :)

While most fabrics can be repurposed into smaller-scale fabric projects, denim is especially sturdy and upcyclable.

Think jewelry, covers for smaller crafts, and patchwork ideas. But the possibilities don’t end there.

Click here to be amazed by how cool recycled denim crafts can look!

Want to learn how to make jewelry out of anything? Get the book!

Use up craft scraps and your craft room stash

Are you a scrap hoarder too? I know I am…

Bust your scrap stash with these cool things to make with scraps and leftovers. Or, make something unique with more common crafting materials that you aready have, to clear out some space for that new hobby.

Material #14: Felt scraps

Don't throw away your felt scraps! These 18 cool things to make with felt scraps include a variety of easy felt crafts that can also be made from sampler packs. Click to see eighteen cool crafts for kids, teens, and adults.

Believe it or not, I sometimes buy my felt in scrap sizes because so many projects call for small amounts of different colors.

Many things to make with felt crafts fall in the toy category, but kids’ fashion and costume appliques are a great idea too! And there’s more!

Find more things to make with felt scraps here!

Material #15: Ribbon Scraps

Looking for some cool things to make with ribbon scraps? These stash-busting ribbon crafts for kids, teens, and adults are easy, fun, and includes loads of no-sew ideas! Just grab your leftover ribbon remnants and DIY!

I actually buy scrap packs of ribbons to begin with, because you can get such a good variety in those! But even if you simply collect from gift packs or have leftovers from things you’ve done, there are endless things to make with ribbon scraps.

First, group them by color family so that you have a better handle on making aesthetically-pleasing, scrappy projects. Then you can weave them, tie them, and sew them. You can make sensory toys, home decor, and even bookmarks.

Click for things to make with ribbon scraps – your whole bag of ’em!

Material #16: Colored coloring pages

21 things to make with adult coloring pages - if you saved your colorring that you worked so hard on, these are some great easy functional crafts to make with them!

Coloring intricate pages can be so cathartic but what do you do with them when you finish?  Besides for accidentally wallpapering your craft room, of course…

First of all, they can be repurposed as a craft paper, preferably in a craft where the paper takes center stage. You can also cut out your favorite elements and use those in crafts.

More things to make with adult coloring pages here.

Material #17: Crayons

Check out this amazing list of things to make with crayons! You can upcycle old crayon pieces or turn whole crayons into fun DIY projects, crafts, and recipes for play. Includes ideas for kids, teens, and adults.

Besides for all those broken crayon stubs, we’ve also had circumstances where we just had extra. Once it was a cheap pack that we started using before we gave up and got some Crayola. Another time, someone bought my kids huge art cases and they stopped using the assorted packs they had.

Regardless, crayons make a fantastic craft supply beyond their obvious mission. They are sometimes melted down and used as a dye of sorts, and sometimes the fun, artsy look of crayons is enjoyed as the main decorative element.

Find your fix of things to make with crayons this way.

Material #18: Beads

18 cool things to make with beads that are NOT jewelry! Some fun kids and teen crafts and DIY projects in here that are SO easy!

Here’s the deal: I used to make LOADS of jewelry. And while I still do, it’s not my main craft. Back in the day, if I was crafting, I was making bling – other things were the exception. So I was left with lots of beads when my jewelry pace slowed.

For that reason I challenged myself to find things to make with beads that AREN’T jewelry.

Beads can be glued onto a variety of crafts as embellishments. There are also more bead-n-string/wire/chenille stem ideas that aren’t wearable.

More things to make with beads that aren’t jewelry!

Material #19: Craft Sticks

16 fun popsicle stick crafts for kids and grown-ups and everything in between! Whether you're a toddler or teen, these craft stick DIY ideas will hit the mark for sure! YOu'll find bookmarks, puppets, gift ideas, frames, and more!

Not just for kids, these wooden popsicle sticks are so awesome!

Use these to frame things out, as sticks for puppets, to make wooden toys, and more. My favorite: These cool pallet coasters! Plus, learn how to curve your sticks to open up new possibilities.

Full lineup of popsicle stick crafts here!

Material #20: Scrapbook paper

19 things to make with scrapbook paper - the best scrapbook paper crafts to make today

And finally, if you’re like me and love exploring pretty papers… and then get stuck with loads you need to purge, you’ll want new things to make with scrapbook paper (besides scrapbooks).

Paper crafts are a favorite of mine, and all of these ideas make great use of the pretty patterns. You can decoupage scrapbook paper, fold it, or make wall art with it. There are so many FUNCTIONAL things to make with your scrapbook paper.

Get more scrapbook paper crafts if you click here.

Bonus: learn what you can make with leather scraps here!

 Things to Make with Nature

Some of my favorite craft materials can be found for free in nature. Even better: they are sometimes collected from a favorite trip to a special place, making them nostalgic too..

Here are some cool things to make with these natural treasures. If you use a lot of these you might prefer to pick up more at your local craft store but otherwise they’re free.

Material #21: Rocks

Rocks are probably the cheapest (I mean free-est) craft supply out there, because that's totally what they are - craft ready! These 16 things to make with rocks will keep you busy on a budget! These are great nature crafts for kids, teens and adults and are easy to make DIY ideas!

Rock painting has majorly taken off lately, but besides for that there are many things to make with rocks.

I’ve used them in jewelry making and I’ve seen them used as mosaics in outdoor crafts, as garden decor, and more.

You’ll find 16 more ideas for things to make with rocks here!

Material #22: Seashells

If you've got piles of sea shells, click for 18 of the best seashell crafts around - from keepsakes to DIY jewelry, from kids crafts to teen to things for moms to make. There's something for everyone!

But of course. Collect these on your trips and turn them into keepsakes. Paint ’em. Embellish with them. The possibilities are endless.

Not on this list: my mom used to use a large one as an ashtray.

More seashell crafts if you click here!

This list is far from done.

First of all, I’ve also made things with toy animals – totally out of the box.

Second, I still have a long list of materials to challenge myself with including:

  • Coffee filters
  • Twigs and sticks
  • Leaves
  • Paper clips
  • Nail polish bottles
  • Pasta sauce jars
  • Wine bottles
  • Milk jugs
  • Fabric scraps
  • Bark
  • Wooden cubes
  • Lego bricks
  • Chenille stems
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Yarn leftovers

and more…

As you can see, if you think outside the box a little, there are so many things you can make with the things you already have in hour home! I’d love to hear some of your favorite ideas.

What are your favorite things to make? Which odd material/craft combos do you love? Comment below!

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The most epic list of things to make with what you already have - including recyled crafts, nature crafts, stash-busters, cool DIY ideas for teens, tweens and adults and more!

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  1. I like these crafts but I’m sad to say I only had about 2 of these “household” items. But these are fun and easy crafts you can do with your children!

  2. I have just found this web page! I can’t wait to explore each one! And YES I have ALL this stuff (treasures)! Thanks

  3. The one item I would like to craft with…is-old records. Back in the day bowls were made, they were used as decor on the walls, etc. Now, in my dotage, I have both the time & the records, but what & how to use them is beyond me. HELP.

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