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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Recycling Projects: Plastic Bottle Butterflies

Plastic Bottle Butterflies
         Parental supervision may be needed for this project as it requires the use of sandpaper, sharp tacks, and cutting plastic with scissors, which can be difficult.
         Supplies needed:
         Empty 2-liter plastic bottle
         180-grit sandpaper
         Paints, paintbrushes
         Pins or tacks, a surface to pin on

         1. Make sure the plastic bottle is clean and dry. Cut off the top and bottom of the bottle and recycle these pieces.
         2. Cut up one side of the remaining cylinder so that it opens into a rectangle.
         3. Sand the surface of the plastic rectangle so the paint will stick. Sand until it looks like frosted glass, or is opaque. Keep in mind, the plastic is curved, so depending on which side you sand and paint the butterflies on, their wings will either be curved downward or upward.
         4. Pin down flat the rectangle onto a surface that you don’t mind having pins stuck into, like a piece of wood or a yoga mat.
         5. Using the marker, draw butterfly shapes on the piece of plastic. Make them as big or as small as you like. You may want to practice on a piece of paper before hand, and maybe even slide the paper design under the plastic to trace. Use books and online pictures to get ideas for shapes and color designs.
         6. After you’ve drawn as many butterfly shapes as you can fit onto the plastic, begin painting them. Let your creation flow! 
         7. Allow the paint to dry.
         8. Remove the tacks and cut out the butterflies from the plastic. Recycle any plastic scraps.
         The butterflies can be assembled into a beautiful garland and strung around a room, or if you glue clips onto their undersides, they can be clipped onto bedroom curtains. If glued to a hair tie or clip, they could make an adorable hairpiece.  They can also be simply aesthetically placed around a room.
         If you decide to make a garland, you may want to pull out your recycling bin and transform some of the paper into origami figures to add to the plastic butterflies. Here is a website with lots of instructions for easy, child-friendly origami: Remember, use up as much paper that would have been recycled as you can before you use new paper for the origami. You may want to color the paper with markers or colored pencils.

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