I hate throwing things away. No, I am not a hoarder, actually the opposite. But I see potential in little things that most people would throw in the trash or recycling bin. Bits of packaging, old greeting cards, boxes, catalogues. Perfect art project materials – and all free. So a few years ago I started our very own “treasure box”. In it went all of these fun bits and pieces that I knew could be used again. I was amazed at how quickly I had amassed quite a collection of unique, fun, creative materials to use.
Sometimes, I go into our treasure box looking for materials for a specific project. Sometimes, we pull out a dozen or so things and see what we can create. And when I just need a few minutes (or hours) of quiet time, I pull put the treasure box and let my girl go through and examine and admire each of the treasures in the box. She loves discovering everything, and I love that she is entertained.
The most popular items in our treasure box, clockwise from top left: clothing tags, fabric scraps, egg cartons, paint chips.
A few tips to start your own treasure box:
- Start with a relatively large box. (We use an old moving box) You’ll be surprised how quickly it starts filling up.
- Keep your box accesible. If it is hard to get to you will be less likely to add things to it.
- When in doubt, add it to your box. You can always throw it out later if you don’t end up using it for any art projects.
- Don’t be afraid of the mess. This is a big one for my OCD personality. I was first trying to organize my treasure box. Scraps of paper all in an envelope, boxes nested together nicely, etc. It was too hard to keep up. So now, I just throw things in and try not to think about it. :)
- You will be amazed at how many treasures are waiting for you in your trash / recycling bin!
Some ideas of what to put in your treasure box:
- toilet paper rolls
- paper towel rolls
- mesh bags
- packaging materials
- egg crates
- milk jugs
- 2 liter soda bottles
- junk mail
- water bottles
- old socks
- clothing labels
- business cards
- paint chips
- old calendars
- paint stirrers
- fabric / ribbon / twine / yarn scraps
- plastic baby wipes containers
- shampoo bottles (cleaned out)
- cereal / cracker / pasta boxes
- oatmeal boxes
- plastic produce boxes
- starbucks coffee sleeves
- wrapping paper tubes
- ribbons and bows from gift wrap
- used ziplock baggies (washed out)
- aluminum foil
- packing materials
- greeting cards / postcards
- shoe boxes
- old art projects / paintings
- little plastic toys
- anything else that catches your eye… think creatively!
Would you be interested in seeing some of the projects that we make using treasures from our treasure box?