#EarthDay Crafts

April 18, 2020
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With the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day right around the corner, you are about to be inundated with tons of Earth Day messaging. We want to make sure you know about some activities you can do in your homes or backyards with materials you already own (or are out in nature). These activities are good for residents of all ages!

Art Contest!!

Grab your paint brushes, watercolors, and markers – the Clean Water Art Contest is OPEN!!! The contest seeks to use art to educate the public about the connection between our communities, streams, and the Bay. All entries must be received by 4:00pm EST on Friday, April 30, 2020.
For more information: https://mygreenmontgomery.org/art/ 

Using Recycled Materials

Our Resource Management Division has a program dedicated to Recycle Right so we are encouraging you to take some of those items out of the recycle bin and use them for crafts! Plus you can learn about the different DEP programs while you make these activities.

Popsicle Sticks and Bottle caps 

These activities use materials such as Popsicle sticks and bottle caps – plastic and metal – so go scour your recycle bins and see what you can find!


Butterflies are not only pretty but they are necessary for our ecosystem. The County’s Rainscapes program can help you transform your yard into haven for beautiful wildlife. In fact, the simple act of planting milkweed creates a “way station” for monarch butterflies. Or you could just make your own butterfly out of recycled materials!

Materials Needed: 

  • Scissors (to cut wings)
  • Clean plastic bottle caps
  • Wings – Reused plastic file folders, sheet protectors, or laminated sheets
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Glue Dots (medium)
  • Wiggly Eyes
  • Markers (to outline wings)
  • Glitter glue

To Make:

  1. Attach glue dots to Popsicle stick (use glue gun for larger projects).
  2. Fasten Popsicle stick to back of bottle cap.
  3. Attach glue dot to wing and fasten to stick or cap.
  4. Attach glue dots to wiggle eyes and attach to bottle cap.
  5. Decorate wings with glitter glue.

Wind chimes

Wind is one of the oldest forms of energy used throughout history. From powering mills to grind grain and wells to pump water, wind energy is now also harnessed to generate electricity. As of June 1, 2017, Maryland has more than 191 MW of installed land-based wind capacity. In 2016, wind energy accounted for 1.4 percent of all instate electricity generation which is enough electricity to power 49,000 average Maryland homes. While you can’t personally install a wind turbine in your backyard, you could switch the wind energy for your home. Since Maryland is a choice state, you can choose to purchase wind energy but make sure you read the small print!

Making a wind chime is a wonderful way to enjoy the power of wind – let the clank of the bottle caps and beads relax you!

Materials Needed: 

  • Scissors (to cut the string)
  • Clean plastic bottle caps
  • Clean metal bottle caps
  • Beads
  • Popsicle Sticks
  • Glue Dots (medium) or glue

To Make:

  1. Make a triangle with the Popsicle sticks
  2. Glue them together.
  3. Cut strings of various sizes.
  4. Then put beads or bottle caps onto the strings.
  5. Tie the strings to one side of the triangle, that will be the base.
  6. Continue until all strings are placed on the Popsicle stick. We suggest 5 strings in total.

Incandescent Bulbs 

Incandescent bulbs are the most energy inefficient bulbs out there so we are encouraging people to switch to LED light bulbs. LEDs last longer, cost less over time, and use a fraction of the energy that an incandescent and even a CFL uses.

If you still have some of these light bulbs in your house, you are in luck! You can turn those bulbs into amazing ornaments that you can use all year long. But please do not plug them in once they are painted!

Materials Needed:

  • Incandescent bulb
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Glitter
  • Glue Spray

To Make:

  1. Determine what design you want to paint
  2. Sketch it on the light bulb with a pencil.
  3. Paint the light bulb, we suggest using an old toilet paper holder or egg carton to hold the bulb while you paint.
  4. Let it dry.

Old CDs/DVDs and CD Cases 


According to the Energy Information Administration, Solar energy provides about one-fourth of the state’s renewable electricity generation, and has increased significantly in recent years, nearly tripling from 2016 to 2018. Two-thirds of the state’s solar generation came from small-scale solar photovoltaics (PV), such as rooftop solar panels, and the rest of the generation was at larger utility-scale sites like solar farms. Montgomery County has had three Solar Co-ops for residents and another one should be opening soon!

In the meantime, take a moment to celebrate the power of the sun by creating a sun catcher from old CDs or DVDs.

Materials Needed: 

  • Old CD or DVD
  • Paint or puff paint
  • Paint brushes

To Make:

  1. Sketch your design on the CD/DVD with a pencil or marker – use the side that had the writing on it, not the shiny side. The shiny side will reflect the sun’s rays and make rainbows all over the place.
  2. Paint your design onto the CD/DVD
  3. Let it dry.
  4. Hang from a window.


Have you heard of a rain garden? These gardens are designed to intercept, store and soak in rain water and include native plants and flowers. Native plants have evolved with a region’s climate and unique features for thousands of years. This makes them especially well-suited to growing and thriving within their respective climates. There are seven types of plants and flowers that are native to Maryland that we love: Cardinal flower, Christmas fern, Bergamot, Red Maple, Black eyed Susan, Arrowwood, and Pawpaw.

You can design your CD flower after one of these or choose to use another flower all together.

Materials Needed: 

  • CDs—the best CDs for this have no paper or printing on them
  • Heavy duty scissors
  • A flame, like from a candle
  • Plyers to hold the CDs
  • A thick rubber tool glove or leather glove
  • Hot glue gun
  • Chopsticks, plastic straws, or other sticks for stems
  • Bits of ribbon or cloth

To Make:

  1. Cut the CDs into wedges—usually 8-10 wedges per CD. Round the corners of the wide part of the wedges. Cut one piece as a straight skinny shape for the center of the flower.
  2. Go outside with the wedges, candle, plyers, and scissors.
  3. One at a time, and slowly, hold a wedge over the candle, taking it off the flame as it starts to soften, and using your gloved hand, press into the petal form. This part takes some practice, you might ruin a few.
  4. For the center piece, slowly soften from the end and use another plyer or your gloved hand to slowly roll into a swirl.
  5. Using the glue gun, start attaching the petals to the center swirl until your flower is formed.
  6. Attach the chopstick or other stick to the formed flower with the glue gun. Glue on ribbon around the base to cover up the attached area.

Light Box

These light boxes are created by using LED holiday lights. LED holiday lights use light-emitting diodes, rather than filament to produce light. This new technology makes LED lights more efficient, durable, and longer-lasting than fluorescent incandescent lights. They don’t burn out, like other bulbs; and they also don’t get hot to the touch, so they’re a lot safer, too.

You can either use the holiday lights from your garage for this activity or you can find shorter, smaller strands online for a bargain price. Either way, make sure they are LEDs so they don’t get hot in the plastic.

Materials Needed:

  • 3 clear CD cases
  • Clear tape or a hot glue gun
  • A wire light—battery powered or old holiday lights
  • Optional—ribbon, stickers, paint pens, or glitter glue

To Make: 

  1. Open the two cases to form the four sides of the box. Glue or tape them together. Add the third box to make the top, and glue or tape to make the top of the box.
  2. Decorate if you wish, with ribbon, glitter glue, paint pens, or stickers.
  3. Place lights inside of box and enjoy your new twinkly table lamp!

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