Over the years, crafty moms and savvy recyclers have come up with a number of ways to recycle junk from around the house and turn it into fun arts and crafts projects. One often overlooked material, though very versatile, is the juice box. Juice boxes are made out of plastic, paper and aluminum foil, all of which are perfect for arts and crafts. You can make plenty of items from a juice box -- it just takes a little imagination.
A small collection of old juice boxes and a few other arts and crafts supplies will be enough to keep you and your kids entertained on a rainy afternoon. You can make everything from a doll to a miniature golf course with no more than a few juice boxes, scissors, glue and some construction paper [source: Artists Helping Children]. As an added bonus -- these activities tend to be cost efficient. You probably already have most of the supplies you'll need lying around the house.
Aside from being composed of great materials for arts and crafts, juice boxes have one unique property that sets them apart. They're waterproof, which makes them perfect for projects such as a garden planter or a protective case for your iPhone [source: Nick Jr.].
So, if you find you have juice boxes stacking up in your trash, think of the many ways you could reuse what you've already got. Many of the arts and crafts projects in this article are a great way for you to spend time with your kids without having to spend an arm and a leg. You can make a train. You can make instruments and form a band. Try a few of these projects with your kids and then see if they can come up with some of their own. Their creativity might just surprise you.
Keep reading for a few great ideas on how to recycle juice boxes for fun art projects.
Juice Box Art Projects
Here are three projects you can try with your kids. They range in difficulty level from easy to moderate.
The first project is a juice box train. You'll need at least three juice boxes, some pipe cleaners, scissors, a paper towel or toilet paper cardboard tube, construction paper in different colors, tape, glue, and crayons or markers to decorate with. Begin by poking a hole in the top and bottom of the juice boxes. Then have your child wrap the juice boxes in construction paper and color them. These are the train cars. Next, thread the pipe cleaner through the juice boxes, and connect them at each end. Cut a small ring off the cardboard tube and attach it like a smoke stack on the engine, or the front juice box. For the final touch, cut out a small triangle and attach it to the front [source: PBS Kids].
You can also make a juice box doll. Gather one juice box for each child, colored construction paper, yarn, wiggle eyes, black marker, glue, tape and scissors. Wrap the box in construction paper. Cut four strips from a separate piece of construction paper to be arms and legs. Fold all four strips like an accordion and use glue them to the juice box. Next, attach the wiggle eyes to the front of the juice box using glue and begin cutting yarn for the hair. Cover the top of the juice box in glue and attach the yarn until your juice box doll has a full head of hair. Finally, draw on a smile and decorate as desired [source: Formaro].
The third and most difficult project is a juice box jumper. You'll need all of the same supplies from the juice box doll -- except a rubber band instead of yarn. Have your child decorate the juice box like a frog. Then have them cut out arms and legs. You can use the same accordion technique from above or make them look more realistic. Attach the arms and legs to the juice box with glue, as well as the wiggle eyes. Draw on a smile and then poke a small hole in the top of the juice box. For the final step, cut a rubber band so it makes one long strand and tie a knot at either end. Push the knot through the hole in the top of the juice box and you've got yourself a juice box jumper [source: Nestle Family].
Of course, not all juice box crafts are solely for kids. Keep reading to find out how you can turn a juice box into a case for your iPhone.
Juice Box iPhone Case
If you have an iPhone, you know the importance of keeping it protected. You could go to the store and buy a brand new case that will protect your iPhone from damage, or you could try making your own case out of an old juice box [source: Artists Helping Children]. It should take less than an hour and you'll save a nice chunk of change in the process.
Gather a juice box, some fabric and a sewing kit. A sewing machine will help speed up the process, but it isn't necessary. Start by unfolding the juice box. Pull it apart at the seam and lay it flat on the table. Next, use your iPhone to determine the size of the case and cut away any excess. You should be left with enough of the juice box so you can wrap it around your iPhone completely and have about an inch of overlap on one side. This is where the sewing comes into play. To form the enclosure flap of the case, simply fold in the corners on one side of the juice box so it looks like the lip of an envelope. Using colored string, sew the folded sections together so they'll hold that shape.
Next, cut a piece of fabric to fit the inside of the case and use spray glue to attach it. Sanding down the waxy surface of the box may help the glue to stick better. Here's where it gets a little tricky. Once you've formed the enclosure flap for the case and lined it with fabric, you need to wrap the juice box around your phone, folding the corners and making them as tight as possible. Cut away any excess parts of the juice box that might be making this difficult. For the next step you can use glue to seal all the seams or you can sew them if you're proficient enough in sewing. When you're done you should have a box perfectly sized to fit your iPhone with an overlapping flap to close it.
For the last step, simply use some of the excess juice box to make a strap that will attach to the back of the case. Again, it's best to attach this strap by sewing it on. The point of the strap is to be able to slide the enclosure flap into it, so place it at a point on the box where this is possible. Once you've completed this step, you're all done. If you don't have an iPhone, you could also use this idea to create a case for an iPod or digital camera.
Keep reading for even more juice box craft ideas.
Other Juice Box Craft Ideas
The list of juice box craft ideas really does go on and on. Here are three more great ways to reuse your juice boxes and have fun doing it.
Old juice boxes can be the perfect tool to introduce your youngster to gardening. Because they're waterproof, they're perfect for a garden planter. You'll need a juice box, some construction paper or paint (depending on desire to decorate), a glue stick, scissors, potting soil and some easy-to-grow seeds. Begin by cutting the top off of your juice box and rinse it out. When it's dry, decorate the juice box. Keep in mind that you'll be watering the plant, so if you use construction paper to cover the box up you may want to laminate it first. When you're done decorating, use scissors or a pen to punch three holes in the bottom of the box for drainage. Now you're ready to add potting soil and your seed. Just follow the planting directions that come with the seeds. You'll need to water the seed every couple days, but make sure not to use too much. These planters are small and your seed won't need much water to grow [source: Nick Jr.].
You can also use juice boxes to make homemade maracas. Aside from a juice box, you'll need a utility knife (to be used by parents), a wooden craft stick, construction paper, a glue stick, tape and four small jingle bells. Start by cutting a small opening in the top of the juice box and then place all four jingle bells inside. Then use construction paper to wrap the juice box like a present. Using the utility knife, cut a small slit in the bottom that is about the same width as your craft stick. Slide the stick into the slit and use glue to secure it in place. When it dries, you can decorate your new musical instrument however you'd like [source: Juicy Juice].
For a simple but fun project, make your own indoor golf course. You'll need six juice boxes, construction paper, and tape. (Of course, when you're ready to play you'll also need a putter and a golf ball.) Begin by cutting the tops off all six juice boxes, which you can then decorate with construction paper. You'll need two different color sheets of paper as the other sheet will be used as the tee. Each juice box and each tee should have a number on them, one through six. Other than that, you can decorate them however you'd like. Then, cut the paper designated for tees into small squares. When you're done, you can set the tees and holes up around your house, using furniture, pillows and anything else you might have as obstacles for each hole [source: Activity Village].
For a lot more ideas on how you can turn old juice boxes into arts and crafts projects, check out the links on the following page.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Activity Village. "Indoor Golf Game." (Accessed 01/21/10).http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/indoor_golf_game.htm
- Artists Helping Children. "Juice Box Crafts For Kids." 2009. (Accessed 01/21/10).http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/juiceboxespouchescraftsideasactivitieskids.html
- Clearwater (Fla.) Solid Wastes Department. "Remarkable Recycling Facts." April 9, 2009 (Accessed 01/21/10).http://www.clearwater-fl.com/gov/depts/solid_waste/docs_pub/facts.asp
- Formaro, Amanda. "Juice Box Dolls." Kaboose. June 1, 2009 (Accessed 01/21/10).http://crafts.kaboose.com/juice-box-dolls.html
- Juicy Juice. "Tools & Activities: Juice Box Jinglers." (Accessed 01/21/10).http://www.juicyjuice.com/Tools/Activities/Juice-Box-Jinglers.aspx
- Live Science. "Who invented Scotch Tape?" (Accessed 01/21/10).http://www.livescience.com/mysteries/070921_llm_scotch_tape.html
- Minnesota Inventors Hall of Fame. "Richard G. Drew -- 1978 Inductee."http://www.minnesotainventors.org/inductees/richard-g-drew.html
- Nestle Family. "Juice Box Jumpers." (Accessed 01/21/10).http://www.nestlefamily.com/Categories/CraftsActivities/ArtsCrafts/Article.aspx?articleID=87ADDF8B-6B01-41AA-9861-0A5D003A61E5
- Nick Jr. "Kai-lan & Friends Juice Box Planters." 2009 (Accessed 01/21/10).http://www.nickjr.com/crafts/kai-lan-juice-box-planters.jhtml
- Oberlin. "Recycling Facts." 2008 (Accessed 01/21/10).http://www.oberlin.edu/recycle/facts.html
- PBS Kids. "Juice Box Train." Sprout Online. 2010 (01/21/10).http://www.sproutonline.com/sprout/crafts/detail.aspx?id=03970062-a927-4011-a7f7-99f600b5bc3e
- Randomly Ross. "JuiceBox, iPod Touch and Camera Cases." Flickr. January 25, 2009 (Accessed 01/21/10).http://www.flickr.com/photos/randomlyross/sets/72157612932701367/