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Discuss the 3Rs – Reuse, Reduce Waste, Recycle and where you can find the three different recyclables used in the projects below.
3Rs – Reuse, Reduce Waste, Recycle


The Recyclable: Aluminum – Holiday Trimmings
Have students collect aluminum cans. Provide paint, felt fabric, old buttons, yarn, and other art materials for students to create recycled seasonal ornaments. (Note: By smashing cans in different places, students can develop unique shaped designs that will create wonderful holiday characters, such as angels, Jack-O-Lanterns, and birds.)

The Recyclable: Newspaper – Create Paper From Recycled Newspaper
Materials: 2 1/2 single newspaper pages, a whole section of a newspaper, a blender, 5 cups of water, a big square pan (at least 3 inches deep), a piece of window screen that fits inside the pan, a measuring cup, and a flat piece of wood the size of a newspaper’s front page.

  1. Tear the two and-a-half pages of newspaper into tiny pieces.
  2. Drop the pieces into a blender and blend with the water. Blend until the paper is turned into pulp.
  3. Pour about 1 inch of water into the pan. Then place the screen into the pan.
  4. Pour one (measured) cup of pulp onto the screen and spread the pulp evenly. Lift the screen and let the water drain. (Emphasize the measurement of the water. Have the students measure the amount of pulp generated by the blending process. Estimate how much pulp it would take to make paper the size of the original sheet.)
  5. Open the newspaper section to the middle, place the screen with the pulp onto the newspaper. Close the newspaper.
  6. Carefully flip over the newspaper section so the screen is on top of the pulp.
  7. Place the board on top of the newspaper and press out excess water.
  8. Open the newspaper and take out the screen. Leave the newspaper open and let the pulp dry for at least 24 hours.
  9. The next day, check to make sure the pulp paper is dry. Carefully peel it off the newspaper. Now the paper is ready to use for water color paintings!
  10. Engage students in research in which they create graphs and charts to show how trees have been used for making paper.
  11. Visit a paper mill or pulp plant in order to observe the process firsthand and/or invite a forestry agent to the classroom to share information on the procedures of reforestation in the area.

Papier-Mache’ People
Materials: Wheat paste (See local hardware store),Gesso (Find in an art store), newspaper, flour, water, clothes hangers and old glass bottles (wine bottles are suggested), styrofoam balls, paper towel rolls, masking tape, and tempera paint, found objects, and glue.

  1. Mix wheat paste according to package directions. Store in plastic container for short term reuse.
  2. Have students create the figure of a person by using the bottle as a framework, paper towel rolls and coat hanger (neck, arms & legs), styrofoam balls for head, hands and feet (cut to form). Attach with masking tape.
  3. Tear the newspaper into long strips then dip them in the paste, wiping off the excess by running the strips between your fingers. Alternate wet and dry strips. Wrap the newspaper strips criss-crossed around all the framework beginning with the base by laying the bottle on its side. Next, stand upright and papier-mache’ the middle, then chest forming an x-shape from arm to arm, head to chest and then back. Finally, wrap papier-mâché’ around the figure’s neck.
  4. Allow three-five days for figure to dry in a well ventilated area. Paint Gesso all over the figure’s body and allow one hour to dry.
  5. Students may use acrylic paints to add details. After the paint is dry, students may glue materials, such as button, fabric pieces, etc. to add character to the figure.

The Recyclable: Glass – Antiqued Glass Vase
Materials: A glass jar, masking tape, cream shoe polish (any color) and shoe polish applicator or sponge
Directions: Students should tear masking tape into confetti-sized pieces of masking tape to cover the entire outside surface of the jar. When the jar is covered, students can cover the masking tape with a shoe polish applicator/sponge, and wipe with a rag made of old clothing.