If you’re a crafter, hopefully, you save just about everything in case you can later recycle it into something really cool. If you’re not a crafter save everything anyway! Your kids can have all kinds of fun, and leave you lots of time to yourself, when you give them trash to play with! Well, not really trash, but things other people might consider trash. One good example is an oatmeal container. Similar containers, like empty salt canisters, toilet paper tubes, or even film canisters can be turned into any number of robots, animals, aliens or interesting people.
Use things you have around the house, or a few inexpensive craft supplies, to make a huge collection of characters. Have one theme, like animals, or create a parade of attention-getters. Use an oatmeal canister to make a cool robot. Wrap the canister and lid in foil and replace the lid. Glue on wiggly eyes, button eyes or even beads. Use a pom-pom for a nose or glue on a black spool. Stick springs in the top for hair or use yarn. There are so many different robots you can create. Use cans, lids, caps and similar items to embellish the robots. Paint the items black, gold, silver or other colors. Cover toilet paper rolls in foil to make arms or use springs for arms. Attach metal pieces, like broken jewelry or drawer pulls, with hidden magnets. Reach inside the canister and place a button or square magnet in the position it need be to hold the item in place. The finished robots are unique and look great on a boy’s shelf.
A potato chip can is easily made into a robot, too, or you can do something else with it. Turn it on its side and glue on four small spools, bottle lids or spice jar caps. Wrap the tube in fake fur to make any number of animals. Create a face for the pet with a Styrofoam ball, foam disk or similar object. The potato chip can could become an unusually long cat, dog, tiger or other creature. Embellishments you can use include wiggly eyes, pom-pom ears, foam triangles for noses, felt or ribbon for collars, doll boas for tails – the list is endless!
Make a much smaller animal by using a bathroom tissue roll. Cover it in fur, paper or cloth. Or, just paint the roll with black and white stripes or other designs. Glue on embellishments to create a zebra or other animal. They can be silly-looking, with spring tails and huge foam ears, or you can try to make them look as realistic as possible. The final design is all your own.
Whether you’re using a potato chip can, an oatmeal canister, or something similar they can each be made into robots, animals, people and more. The oatmeal canister can be an animal as well as a robot. The potato chip can is easily turned into a robot instead of an animal. If the body is canister shaped it can be used to make most any creature – human or otherwise.
Things you can use for facial features include colored tape, buttons, pieces of pipe cleaners, and even paint. Things that can help you create arms and legs include lids, popsicle sticks, clothes pins, painted cans, small boxes or cardboard tubes. Crete the body by using craft foam, felt, fur, decorative paper or cloth. Hair can be made from yarn, pipe cleaners, springs, twine, thread, roping or fake fur.
Some of the characters you make might be so lightweight that they’re easy to tip over. Cure this by partially filling the canister or tube with rice, beans, pea gravel, marbles, sand or similar items. For tubes, seal one or both ends with a cardboard disc to keep the weights inside. Weight the canister or tube before continuing to create the creature or silly person. It may not be necessary to weight characters that are made with the canister or tube on its side.
You and the kids can sit down and make crazy, kooky characters one day or you can start saving supplies for a birthday party project. Your child can invite friends over to have a character-making party. To get started towards that end, begin saving any small metal objects, paper and fabric scraps, boxes and lids, beads buttons and similar items. When you have a nice collection of canisters and craft supplies break them out and have a great time!