It's mid-summer. The days are long and hot, and the nights, while cooler, can still be pretty hot. When people are hot and bored, things escalate to cranky pretty quickly. If you're already running out of activities to keep you and the little ones occupied, we've got some some ideas that could spell relief. Summer is the perfect time for crafting projects that might be too big or too messy for inside the house. Gather your supplies, spread a blanket on the lawn or brush off the picnic table, and pick your favorite from this list of eco-friendly DIY projects. Some are more intensive than others, but all will leave you with a completed item that you'll definitely want to show off to the neighbors.
Tin Can Table Lantern
Planning a barbecue or an al fresco dinner party? These recycled tin can lanterns are an easy way to add some sparkle without stretching your decorating budget. The materials are practically free, and the tiny holes create gorgeous scattered light patterns on your table when you drop a votive candle inside.
Knotted String Hanging Planter
Hanging plants purchased from the gardening store can cost $20 or more a piece. Why spend all that money when everything you need for a delightful hanging planter is probably sitting in your recycling bin right now? Follow this tutorial to learn how jam jars, plastic takeout containers, yogurt cups and a little bit of string can all be repurposed into a modern and functional hanging planter.
Plastic Bag Hammock
I have lots of reusable bags and most of the time I remember to bring them along to the store. Somehow plastic shopping bags still creep in. If you don’t have a convenient place to drop them off for recycling, this DIY hammock chair might be the perfect solution. All you need to make one is time (you’ll need to braid each plastic bag to make it sturdy), about 500 plastic bags (ask your friends to donate theirs if your collection is too small), two spring link carabiners and rope. The hammock chair has been tested to hold about 220 pounds.
Mason Jar Herb Garden
Windowsills, porches, and fire escapes are great for starting tiny urban gardens, but they can only hold so much. And why should passersby have all the fun of watching your plants grow? This Mason Jar Herb Garden is the perfect way to increase your growing capacity while at the same time bringing the joy of live plants to your kitchen.
Mini BBQ Grill
Are you a fan of the curiously strong mint? If so, you’ve got the perfect base material for a curiously tiny BBQ grill. Just the right size for a single shrimp or marshmallow, this adorable DIY grill can be made from a single Altoids Sours tin, two salvaged computer fan guards and a handful of nuts and screws.
You can’t always get outside to enjoy nature (sometimes it’s far away and sometimes the weather just won’t cooperate). So instead of going to nature, why not bring nature inside with you? Terrariums can be made with either leafy plants life ferns, or with water-storing varieties, such as succulents or cacti. Because terrarium plants need little soil and water, they can be made from containers of all sizes. This post has pictures and instructions for 10 amazing terrariums that are perfect to keep or give as gifts.
Upcycled Bird Feeder
A bird feeder placed outside a window is a great way to observe nature without disrupting it. Once the word spreads, you might even find your feeder visited by some of the lesser known winged inhabitants of your neighborhood! In this simple how-to, we show you how to create a fun, recycled urban bird feeder that you can hang from your fire escape or windowsill. It costs next to nothing and anyone can do it—all you need to do is dig through your recycling bin and follow eight easy steps!