Turning trash into art is my kind of recycling! We saw these pieces of marine animals made out of recycled plastic at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (where we also loved the jellyfish and seahorse exhibits). Sayaka Gantz made these sculptures out of reclaimed materials that might have otherwise been polluting the ocean.
Both sides of her pieces are interesting! Can you see all the plastic cutlery? My kids had fun trying to identify all the plastic parts.
Erica of What Do We Do All Day? said, “It reminds me of that famous photo with the bird that swallowed all the plastic debris.”
Chris Jordan documents animals ingesting plastic, with fatal consequences. I found this on TreeHugger.
We saw another plastic sculpture at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It’s made entirely of plastic drinking cups. Some of the cups are squished in order to make the wonderful organic curvy lines. It’s hanging from the ceiling of the first floor.
The idea of recyclables being turned into fine art got me thinking of what you can do with recycled plastic. What do you think of using it to build a house? Or a school? Watch plastic bottles turn into a school room in this 3.5 minute feel good video!
My thanks to Jacquie from KC Edventures for this find: Amazing Shadow Sculptures made from trash!
My next step is to save the plastic that we usually thow out in our recycle bin and have the kids make art from it. Stay tuned.
Would you and your kids want to try a recycled plastic art project too? If you do (or have done it already), I’d love to include a photo of your project!
Artist uses plastic ocean waste to create sculpture
Texas artist Connie Lovell has created a sculpture of a sea turtle by using more than 6,000 pieces of plastic that were recovered from Padre Island Beach.
Upcycled Into Art Picture Book
The Color Collector by Nicholas Solis, illustrated by Renia Metallinou
A boy notices the new girl in his class collecting scraps of paper and plastic off the ground. She’s shy but he takes the time to get to know her and discovers her collection of colors that help her cope with her move. She has turned trash into a beautiful mural. I especially liked how the illustration uses color to convey an entirely different story using black and white spreads that slowly transform to full color. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Washed Ashore: Making Art from Ocean Plastics by Kelly Crull
Review from The Nonfiction Detectives:
“The layout of the book is a strength and will engage young children while teaching them about the harmful effects of plastic trash in the ocean. Each two-page spread includes a colorful, close-up photograph of a sculpture of marine life made from plastic trash. The expository text offers interesting facts about each featured animal and how plastic trash affects the creature and its habitat. Crull’s writing is crisp and clear for young readers to comprehend.” [nonfiction art picture book, ages 6 and up]
p.s. So far, PickyKidPix has just used plastic cups to develop “mad cup stacking skills“. She might turn those cups into a sculpture though. You just never know about her!
Follow PragmaticMom’s board Art with Kids on Pinterest.
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
8 thoughts on “From Trash to Fine Art: Upcycled Plastic Sculptures”
These are so, so cool!!
Thanks again for your great recommendation of that famous photo! What a nice tie in!
What an amazing bunch of projects in one post. I thought the bottle house was going to be for show, didn’t realize it was actually going to be used for a real school. How inventive!
I thought the bottle ends would be showing. It was amazing how nice and smooth the walls and floors ended up being. What an amazing use for old plastic bottles! Do you think this was in India? I didn’t catch where it was.
Those shadow sculptures are so cool! We need to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
If you have a staycation, Monterey Bay Aquarium would be a great day trip for you and the kids! My husband grew up in that area and we’ve taken the kids a few times and it never gets boring! They want to go back again this year!
And that is one piece of art there. It’s really surprising what artist ideas people come up these days, specially with the use of materials that are considered as junk or, in some words, a garbage.
I love upcycled art too and I’m glad that it’s getting attention as a serious art piece! They are beautiful, aren’t they?! And to think I usually just recycle these items into the garbage dump!