Summer is a great time for crafts. There are so many fun things to make, and there’s no need to spend a lot of money on supplies. These DIY upcycled plastic bottle character puppets are perfect for summer crafting. They’re easy and fun to make, and your kids will love playing with them. Best of all, you can use whatever supplies you have on hand.
Plastic Bottle Character Puppets
These fun painted bottle characters are perfect for a fun eco-friendly craft project for kids! Made from recycled plastic bottles, these puppets are super easy and fun to make. Simply gather up some empty plastic bottles, and some craft supplies, and let your imagination run wild!
These puppets are perfect for kids of all ages. Whether you’re looking for a fun activity for a rainy day or want to teach your little ones about recycling, these puppets are sure to please. Plus, they make great gifts or party favors! You can use them in so many ways, and the kids are going to absolutely love seeing their own creatures come to life.
If you like this idea, make sure that you check out our list of fun ways to craft with upcycled detergent bottles. There are tons of great ideas on that list too that are sure to be a hit with your kids!
How Do I Clean Labels Off Plastic Bottles?
When I am ready to remove the labels from the plastic bottles, I start by soaking the bottles in hot soapy water. For many bottles, this is enough. If the paper label doesn’t come off easily, you can use a product like Goo Gone and spray on the areas the label is stuck. Just follow the directions of the product for safety.
For those bottles, like shampoo bottles, where it isn’t a plastic or paper label, but a printed/painted label, you may need to use something different to remove the paint. If there is a leftover sticky residue on the bottle, you can use acetone or nail polish remover. This is something that a lot of families already have on hand. Another idea is to use paint thinner to remove the stickiness. Just make sure that when you are using this kind of products, you are doing so in a well-ventilated area.
What All Can These Be Used For?
The options are really endless when it comes to what you can do with these plastic bottle character puppets. Below are some of the ideas that I love and have seen used with kids.
- They make great toys for pretend play. Just like any doll or action figure, your kids can use these to create a fun world of pretend play with stories they tell.
- Another popular idea for this is to use them for a bowling game. You can line them up then use a small ball to knock them over. This is great for kids’ parties or for kids who like to bowl at a real bowling alley.
- They can be painted in a holiday theme and used for decorating. I love the idea of making them patriotic and lining them up on a mantle for the summer 4th of July events. They could also be used to create “elves” or similar figures at Christmastime.
- Use them to hold homemade bath products for gifting. Such a fun way to gift a homemade item but also repurpose trash.
What Paint Should I Use For Making These Characters?
There are a few different types of paint that you can use for these puppets. The most common and easiest choice is to use spray paint. It is convenient, easy to use, affordable, and covers a large surface with just a little paint.
If you prefer, however, acrylic paint works great, and sometimes, you can use tempera paint on plastic like this. It will depend upon the type of plastic you are painting on how it will stick. Of course, when adding details like the faces and clothing or similar items, a paint pen, marker, or a craft paint with a detail paintbrush is a great choice.
How Can I Customize My Character Puppets?
One of the great things about these puppets is that they are very versatile and can be customized to your liking. You can use different colors of paint to create different characters. Or you can add googly eyes or other embellishments to make them even more unique.
I love the idea of adding things like a hat made from the fingertip of an old glove, a scarf from scrap fabric, and even pants by cutting a pant shape on 2 pieces of fabric and gluing it to the front and the back. You can add as much or as little detail as you want to these puppets. It’s really up to you!
- Various empty water bottles, soda bottles, shampoo bottles, etc.
- Blue spray paint
- Yellow spray paint
- White craft paint
- Red craft paint
- Orange craft paint
- Black paint pen
- White paint pen
How to Make Upcycled Bottle Characters
Begin by removing all labels from your bottles. Soak any with paper labels in hot soapy water, and remove painted on labels with Goo Gone or nail polish remover. Wash them well and let them dry completely before decorating them.
Begin by painting any bottles that will need a solid coat of paint to cover them.
I prefer spray paint for this and will do all that need it then set them aside to dry.
If you prefer using acrylic paints and just painting them partially, you can do this now as well.
Once the bottle’s paint has all dried, you can begin creating character faces, bodies, and clothing. Start with markers or paint pens to create faces with eyes, noses, mouths, and ears.
Then use craft paint to add details like stripes or polka dots for clothing.
You can even add on things like hair bows, bow-ties, or even skirts and pants.
Continue decorating until you are happy with the look of your character puppets. Then, let them dry completely.
Once they are dry, they can be used for kids’ pretend playtimes or as bowling pins in an outdoor bowling game.
More Easy Craft Ideas
For more easy craft ideas, check out some of my other projects below. These are great for kids to use in pretend play and are super easy to make. Make sure that you bookmark the ideas, print out the tutorials, or pin them to an appropriate Pinterest board!
- 25 Bottle Cap Upcycled Projects For Your Home
- Upcycled Shampoo Bottle Monster Pencil Holder
- 30 Insanely Adorable Toilet Paper Roll Crafts for Kids
- Upcycled Plastic Bottle Penguin Craft for Kids
- 60 Best Disney Crafts That Will Keep Kids Busy
- Remove any labels on the bottles by soaking in hot soapy water or using a paint remover such as nail polish remover. Wash them well and let them air dry before beginning to decorate them.
- Start by spray painting any of the bottles you want to have a different color, such as clear bottles.
- Once the paint has dried on any you have sprayed, begin decorating the bottles.
- Start by adding a goofy face with eyes, ears, a nose, and even ears on some.
- Then add painted clothing such as dots or stripes along the "body" of the bottle.
- If desired, add other things such as pom poms, beads, or ribbons to decorate your bottles.
- Repeat with the different shaped bottles until you have at least 4 to 6 for game play or as many as you wish.
You can use the bottles without painting them if they are already a colored plastic.
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Finished Project Gallery
This is a great project for kids to help you make to show their creative personality.
Use these as toys for pretend play or as part of a kid’s bowling game!