Inexpensive Recycled Craft Ideas for Kids


I love everything about fall.  From the leaves turning color to picking apples and having apple cider.  It is my favourite season!  Today my kids and I decided to try one of my craft ideas for kids and make an apple craft using recycled paper. 

We have made sheets of recycled paper before and it turned out beautifully, so we used the same idea today to make recycled apples.  I have so many fall craft ideas for kids that I can’t wait to create!

One of the great things about this craft is that it is virtually free to make even little hands will be successful in creating an apple.

Children will also get an idea of how materials are recycled and turned into something new.

While you are creating art with apples, try out this apple stamp painting idea that kids are sure to love!

recycled apple craft ideas shows a Pinterest pin with an apple craft.

Recycled Craft Ideas for Kids – Materials

You don’t need any special materials for this craft. Use things and paper that you already have at home. The process and hands-on experience of creating this craft is a great experience for kids of all ages.

  • Paper Ready to be Recycled
  • Strainer
  • Red Paint
  • Green and Brown Pipe cleaners

Start by ripping up some sheets of paper. We used old sheets that my kids had used for drawing, but were ready to recycle.  You can add in a few sheets of paper towel if you don’t have enough paper.

There is a lot of sensory experiences with this craft. Kids will enjoy ripping up the paper and they will love feeling the paper pulp when it is ready.

craft ideas for kids shows a pinterest pin.

How to Create Your Recycled Apples

After we ripped, we put the sheets into an old blender along with some warm water.  Use enough water so that the paper is covered.  Any excess water will be drained off, so make sure to use enough as you blend. 

It is best if you are able to use a blender that is not used for food. There are dyes and other things in the paper. If you don’t have a blender you can use, simply let the paper soak for a longer time. This will help break down the paper on its own.

craft ideas for kids shows a child ripping paper into a bowl.

Once the paper is mashed up, you will be left with paper pulp. Drain some of the water and place the paper pulp into a strainer.

This is a great chance to talk to kids about what their old paper now looks like. You can’t tell that the paper pulp had once been a drawing or something else. All of the paper is now just pulp, and ready to become something else.

Rinse the pulp with water through the strainer until the water runs clear. Kids will love the feel of the pulp in their hands. It is a really interesting sensory experience. (Even I love the feel of the pulp).

craft ideas for kids shows a child squishing paper pump through a strainer.

You can push down on the paper pulp to strain some of the water. Make sure to not drain all of the water. If they pulp is too dry it will not form a ball and will crumble.

Craft Ideas for Kids

Next, add some red food coloring to the pulp. My kids loved this part! They loved feeling the paper pulp and squeezing the food coloring through it.

Once mixed, roll the pulp into balls. Depending on the size of apples you want to create, roll the balls into different sizes. You can make any size of apple you want. The only thing to keep in mind in the bigger the ball, the longer it will take to dry.

apple craft ideas shows a child squishing red paper pulp.

As you roll, you can squeeze a bit more of the water out. It is okay if you leave too much water in the apple. It will simply take longer to dry, but if it is too dry it will not hold its shape.

Squeeze enough water out so that when you set the apple down, it still holds its shape.

We tried to make them into the shape of an apple and my kids loved creating lots of different sized apples.  We added a small dent to the top of each apple for a stem once it was dry.

craft ideas for kids shows apples drying outside.

Drying the Recycled Apples

Our weather has been beautiful and warm so we placed our apples outside during the day for them to dry.

Our apples took several days to fully dry, but when they were done they turned out great!  They are surprisingly strong too!  You don’t have to worry about them breaking from basic handling and they can make a beautiful decorative item.

We attached a pipe cleaner to the middle with hot glue and a green pipe cleaner for a leaf.  If I were to create the apples again, I would add the pipe cleaners into the paper pulp when it was still wet.

Or I would at least pierce the hole into the paper pulp and then hot glue the pipe cleaner in when it the apple was dry. When it dries the paper is very hard and solid.

Your recycled apples are complete!

craft ideas for kids shows three apples made from recycled paper.

Crafts Ideas For Kids Extension Ideas

I decided to paint one of the apples with red paint to really bring out the color, but the food coloring does work well for coloring the apples.  

There are endless options for what you can create from recycled paper. You can create pumpkins for fall, or Halloween.. You can even create other fruit or any other item you can think of.

Follow the same steps as you did for the apple, but when it comes time to form the shape, instead of a ball, form the paper pulp into the shape of the item you are trying to create.

For example, you could create a triangle and later paint the triangle like a slice of watermelon. You could even create a small bowl and later paint it to match the room you want to place your decorative bowl.

I love these craft ideas for kids especially because they all use recycled materials.

More Hands-On Teaching Ideas

For more learning activities for kids at home or school, take a peek at the collection of activities below. From scavenger hunts and science experiments to outdoor activities and escape rooms, there is lots to keep kids busy, engaged and learning.

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