Soda and juice bottles are purchased by the thousands every year, and most of us throw them away when empty, but there are many different things you can do with the bottles. One thing that’s really easy to do is to make a baby’s play toy. Remove the label from a 20 oz plastic soda bottle and fill halfway with water. Add glitter and small plastic toys to the mix. You can also use colored sand, sequins, beads, or even novelty pencil erasers. Choose items that will float rather than sink. Rub a small amount of glue on the inside of the lid before screwing on tightly. A crawling baby will play with this toy for hours.
For slightly older kids fill one bottle a third full with bells. Fill another bottle with beads. Fill still another with dry noodles or rice. The noisemakers will keep kids busy for long periods of time. Make them more colorful by dropping in lengths of colored ribbon, sequin or glitter.
Use a 2 liter plastic bottle to make a cute snowman door stop. Sand the bottle slightly, all over. This will help the paint stick to the bottle better. Paint the bottle with white acrylic paint. Get a plastic margarine lid along with the lid from a spray paint can, or something similar in size. Sand them slightly and paint them with black acrylic paints. To give the hat more texture you can add felt to the margarine and spray can lids. Cut a hole, slightly smaller than the spray can lid, in the center of the margarine lid.
Turn the spray can lid where the open side is down and glue it to the center of the margarine lid, over the hole in the center of the margarine lid. Fill the bottle halfway with sand, small rocks or even marbles. Screw the cap back on the bottle then glue hat on top, making sure the cap from the bottle goes into the hole of the margarine lid.
Cut a piece of felt or fleece to the size of two feet long and two inches wide. Tie the “scarf” around the snowman, about a third of the way from the top. Keep it secure by placing a little glue under the scarf. Use a small circle of black fake fur, if desired, to make ear muffs for the snowman. Glue them to the sides, just under the hat. Draw a face on the snowman with black paint. Use a craft carrot for the nose or just paint an orange dot. Glue real buttons, or ones made from felt, down the front of the snowman, just under the scarf. Use the snowman to hold open a door or just set it by the front steps to welcome guests.
A pal for the snowman can be a penguin. Empty a 2 liter bottle and clean labels and such from exterior. Sand slightly and paint white. Cut black “wings” from craft fur or felt and attach them to the sides of the bottle. Cut feet from orange craft foam or felt. Glue them to the bottom of the bottle. Cut a beak from the orange felt and glue it in the center of the face region. Fashion a hat from fleece or felt. Shape it like a nightcap, made with Christmas colors. Glue onto head, covering the lid of the bottle. Paint large ovals for the eyes, leaving two-thirds of the oval white and painting the bottom part of the oval black. Use pink paint to add rosy cheeks to the penguin.
Cut the top third off of a 2 liter bottle. Cover all but the opening in beads by hot gluing them. Glue the lids to an upside-down saucer for unique candle holders. It’s okay to eliminate the saucer and use just the beaded bottle part.
Fill a bottle with hot water and use for a sore muscle. Drop it into a sock first to keep from burning skin.
Make a fun drinking hat for kids by starting with a baseball cap. Use a pair of matching socks and sew one on each side of the hat. The socks should be large enough to hold a 20 oz bottle but should be rather short. After sewing the socks on the opening of each sock should be pointing outward. Use two bottles that have the push-down stopper that you pull open to drink. Poke a 42″ length of plastic tubing through the drinking spout of each bottle. The child can now wear the hat and drink from two straws at the same time.
Remove labels and stickers from a 2 liter bottle and wash well. Use a glove to hold a nail and warm it up over electric burner. Poke two holes in the bottom of the bottle, opposite each other. Thread a piece of wire in one hole and out the other, then twist together. Scoot the wire back through the holes to where the twisted part is inside the bottle. The loop on the outside of the bottle will serve as a hanger for this bird feeder. Use hot nail to poke holes at the top of the bottle, about a fourth of the way down from the lid. Slide dowel rods into one hole and out the other. Make a couple sets of holes and glue in a couple dowels to use as perches. Use fishing twine or wire to secure a margarine lid to the perches. The margarine lid should, when bottle is turned over, hang just an inch or so below the bottle lid. Scoot the lid aside and fill with bird feed. Now turn the bottle over and the bird seed will spill out onto the lid. The bird seed will stop flowing as the lid fills. As the seed is eaten more will fall out, landing on the lid.
There are lots of things you can do with an empty bottle, like make a terrarium, an ant farm or a change bank. Take a good look at your next throw-away bottle to see what craft you can invent.