The plastic bottles used to package common bathroom products like shampoo, lotion and body wash are indeed recyclable. But if you’re looking for a creative way to repurpose them first, there are loads of options to choose from.
Stuck for ideas? Check out these five inventive craft projects that transform the humble plastic bottle into everything from useful storage to home décor.
1. Cell phone charging caddy
Make It & Love It blogger Ashley Johnston was sick of tripping over obnoxious wires while she and her husband charged their smartphones, so she came up with this ingenious solution.
Created from an upcycled lotion bottle, this convenient caddy makes it easy to charge your phone at any outlet without leaving a trail of wire across the floor.
Not one to let her functional caddy go undecorated, Johnston used a simple technique to attach a piece of scrap fabric for a pop of color. How clever!
For step-by-step instructions on how to make it yourself, head to Make It & Love It.
2. Plastic bottle necklace
This chevron statement necklace is so chic and sophisticated, you’d never guess it was made from reused plastic bottles.
Marta of the Spanish-language blog 2nd Funniest Thing used a laundry detergent bottle to complete her project, but you can easily apply the same technique to rescue empty bottles of lotion, shampoo and other bathroom products from the blue bin.
For step-by-step instructions on how to make it yourself, head to 2nd Funniest Thing.
3. Hanging storage bins
Another savvy idea from Ashley Johnston of Make It & Love It, these hanging bins are perfect for the office, craft room or anywhere you need a bit of extra storage space.
Created with a simple cutting technique, this storage setup is versatile enough to be made from whatever empty shampoo or lotion bottles you happen to have around the house.
After you’ve completed your bins, attach them to a piece of plywood for wall-mounted storage wherever you need it.
For step-by-step instructions on how to make these bins yourself, head to Make It & Love It. We also love this idea from Pya of Made in Mommyland, who painted her lotion bottle bins for a pop of color.
4. Bright and bold mobile
Perfect for a playroom or nursery, this colorful mobile is made almost entirely from recycled shampoo bottles.
Dreamed up by Kimberlie Kohler at B.B. Bellezza, this fun hanging mobile is held together by embroidery floss and ribbon — two materials the blogger happened to have on hand — but she encourages readers to get creative and stay away from the craft store.
“This project doesn’t take long at all and there wasn’t a cost since I just used what I had around the house,” Kohler writes on her blog. “If you don’t have actually what I used, get creative and use another string.”
For step-by-step instructions on how to make it yourself, head to B.B. Bellezza.
5. Recycled owl kids’ project
Made from recycled shampoo and soap bottles, these darling owls are the perfect project for a lazy afternoon at home with the kids.
Karin Schaefer of the bilingual blog Pysselbolaget and her 9-year-old daughter Freja used simple materials like craft paper and sequins to decorate their owls, but you can use whatever crafting materials you happen to have on hand. Get creative!
For step-by-step instructions on how to make these yourself, head to Pysselbolaget.
For tips on how to recycle items from the bathroom that you don’t plan to reuse, check out Johnson & Johnson’s Tumblr campaign, Care to Recycle, which is full of information on recycling everything from shampoo bottles to toilet paper rolls.
Editor’s Note: Earth911 partners with many industries, manufacturers and organizations to support its Recycling Directory, the largest in the nation, which is provided to consumers at no cost. Johnson & Johnson is one of these partners.
This article was originally published on June 23, 2014 and updated on July 24, 2016.