Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

My husband loves to watch Do-It-Yourself programs.  I think some of the most creative people in the world take one thing and use it to create something else entirely.  For example you can install beautiful counter tops made from recycled glass.  We watched a show where a man built his own company turning old composite shingles into driveways.

Last weekend my husband and I were on a mini-vacation, and my mom kept our children.  While she had her five grandchildren for days, she opted to do fun things with them.  They played Wii games, they began putting together a hard puzzle, they made masks, and they made popsicles.  But the most incredible activity that she did with my children was making beads.

Jake and Kyla love to make and design jewelry.  Both of them have an eye for design and have sold several pieces.  They wait for places like Hobby Lobby to hold sales so that they can stock up on supplies.  Now they know how to make their own beads from reusing #6 plastic and/or #6 styrofoam.  If you are wondering what #6 means, simply look at the bottom of plastic containers, bottles, etc.  There will be a triangular shape with a number inside.  For making beads, you need a “6” to be in the triangle.

You need your #6 plastic/styrofoam, markers, a whole punch, scissors, parchment paper, and an oven preheated to 350 degrees.  Your first step is to cut the plastic into the desired shape.  Decide where you want the hole, and then punch it with a regular hole punch.  Using markers, color the entire area or make a design.  Use as many colors as you want.  Highlighters work, but permanent markers make a more opaque color.

Know that when you are cutting out your plastic you need to make a large version of it.  It is going to shrink in the heat of the oven.  For example the hole might seem too large, but when the bead is made, the hole is perfect for stringing on wire.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Space out your completed designs of plastic or styrofoam shapes onto the sheet.  Bake in the oven for exactly 5 minutes.  Then, they are ready to be used to make jewelry.

Not only is this a fun project for children, but it is reusing what would have been trash into something useful and beautiful.  Making beads is a great way to encourage recycling and creativity.  The possibilities are limited only to the extent of your imagination.

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