Just think how many water bottles (and soda bottles) end up in landfills! They can be recycled but many don’t make it into the recycling centers and even when they do it takes more energy to convert these into other plastic items… So save a few and turn them into cool party decorations!
Level of Difficulty: Medium – For ages 7+ with minimal adult supervision. This is a great family activity with the younger kids helping to decorate the bottles, and older kids and adults doing the cutting and wrapping.
Estimated Completion time: Learn how to make 3 different crafts from one water bottle! Expect approximately 20 minutes per bottle, yielding 3 items: 1 string light lampshade, 1 streamer, and 1 candy cup. With a few hands working together you can have dozens of each completed in several hours…enough for a great party!
– 8 or more Plastic Water Bottles – remove the caps and the labels
– Craft Scissors
– Tissue Paper
– Modge Podge™ Craft Glue (you can use plain white craft glue, but Modge Podge is preferred because you can get it in Satin or Gloss finish and it can be watered down without losing its strength and glossiness)
– Big Paint brush
– String Lights
– Floral Tape (this is special tape used for floral arranging, found in the floral department of your craft store)
Step 1: Collect 8 or more plastic water (or soda) bottles. Make sure they’re empty, clean and dry. Remove the lids (save these for a later project) and the labels. Sometimes there is a plastic ring left around the mouth of the bottle where the cap was secured – remove this, too.
Step 2: Cut your bottles into thirds as shown in the pictures above. You don’t need to draw your cutting line, this was done to illustrate where to cut. The Aquafina™ bottles were used because of the scalloped pattern that is pressed into the plastic – it makes a perfect flower, but any plastic bottle will do. Don’t worry about the rough cut edges at this point, you will trim these later. The top of the bottle will become a mini lampshade for string lights, the center portion will become a streamer and the bottom will become a candy cup or could also hold a tea light. You use the same technique for decorating all 3 sections.
Step 3: Pour approximately 2 tablespoons of Modge Podge into a small bowl or paint tray and add about a tablespoon of water (2 parts glue to 1 part water). Mix thoroughly with your paint brush. Also, set up a drying rack or an old dish rag where you can set your pieces for drying.
Step 4: Cut your tissue paper into approximately 2” squares – doesn’t need to be perfect. Use colors of tissue that match your party theme – holidays, graduation/school colors, team colors, seasonal, whatever you like!
Step 5: Use your paint brush to coat the outside of each section of the bottle with glue. Place squares of tissue paper onto the glue and gently smooth it down with the paint brush or with your fingertips. Cover the entire piece with tissue paper. Wherever the pieces of paper overlap, add more glue. Set aside to dry and start on the next one.
Lampshades: One of the things about these little lampshades is that they make string lights look good even in the daylight. While plain string lights create a twinkly, festive ambience at night, during the day they just look like a bunch of wires hanging around. When you add these pretty blossoms it looks like you have vines of flowers hanging around instead!
Step 6: When all your lampshades are dry, trim the ends into a scalloped flower shape…or any shape you like. Then you’re ready to attach them to the string lights.
Step 7: For each lamp you’ll need to cut approximately 36” of tape. Wrap the tape around the neck of the bottle, starting at the top of the blossom and wrapping up toward the opening of the mouth. Insert a light bulb into the mouth and wrap the tape over the light strand at least 3 times. Each time you wrap over the strand, go back around the neck of the bottle to secure it.
Something like this:
Wrap around the neck 3-4x, insert light bulb
Wrap up and over the wires, wrap around the neck 2-3x,
Wrap up and over the wires, wrap around the neck 2-3x,
Wrap up and over the wires, wrap around 3-4x.
Floral tape is very light and pliable, and it sticks to itself without being too sticky – perfect for this application. So use the entire length and then press it all firmly together around the nozzle to secure it.
For this example, the lampshades were placed over every third bulb, but you can place them over every bulb or every other – do what looks best to you!
Streamers: The center of each bottle can be cut into bright curly streamers. Hang these colorful coils around the room for that instant party vibe!
Step 8: Start cutting at one edge at an angle. Cut in one continuous ¼” spiral around the entire ring until you cut free on the other edge.
Step 9: When you hold up one end, and tug a little on the other end, the spiral will spread out into a streamer approximately 18” to 24” long (dependent upon the size of your bottle). If you want longer streamers you can connect pieces together with a bit of the floral tape.
Candy Dish: The bottom of each bottle is perfect for holding candy, nuts or even tea lights. You can make these any depth you wish and trim the edges to look like a flower, like our example, or any shape you like.
Step 10: To make the flower-shaped candy dish in this example, trim the top edge of your cup into petal shapes. The Aquafina™ bottles have a natural scalloped shape to follow. Cut approximately 1” straight down between each scallop or petal.
Step 11: Bend each petal outward from the base. When you do this the paper may separate from the plastic – if it does, you can cut away the plastic or keep it as a second layer of clear petals. The paper is now strong enough to stand alone because of the Modge Podge. Sweet!
For Room Décor craft kits for kids, click here.
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