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Egg Carton Ideas

Styrofoam egg cartons in Alberta are, for the most part, not recycled. The reason - it is not environmentally-friendly or economically feasible to do so. This is because the nearest facility which recycles styrofoam is in Ontario and in the recycling process itself, inks on the cartons need to be removed. The bottom line: at this time, the energy used and pollution created in the transportation and chemical processes offset any benefit, environmentally, to recycle them. (Note: paperboard or cardboard egg cartons, not as common in Alberta, are not necessarily the answer either to being more environmentally-friendly. That's because the "paper" used to produce them is at the "tail end" of its lifespan/usefulness having been made from recycled paper… and again here too, there are transportation issues.)

Here are some great ideas for reusing cartons. If you can't use all the egg cartons you have, consider giving extras to schools, daycares/day homes, seniors centers, community art centers, etc.

ARTS AND CRAFTS

Animals:

Tools & supplies required: Egg cartons, acrylic paint (tempura or poster paint will not stick well to styrofoam), scissors, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, white glue, markers, cork.

Caterpillar

  • Separate 4-6 cups from an egg carton.
  • Using the point of scissors, make 2 small holes at one end.
  • Insert 1/4 pipe cleaner into each hole for the antennae.
  • Add googly eyes and decorate with markers.

Ladybug

  • Separate 1 cup from an egg carton and paint red.
  • Using black paint/marker, make spots on the body.
  • Make 3 small holes on each side at the base for legs & 2 holes at the top for antennae.
  • Insert black pipe cleaners into each hole on one side and out the other side for legs, and use ½ a pipe cleaner for antennae.
  • Add googly eyes and decorate with marker.

Camel

  • Separate 2 cups from an egg carton.
  • Using scissor points, make 2 holes at the base of each cup on opposite sides, for legs. Make a hole at each end for neck and tail.
  • Insert pipe cleaner into each of the holes for legs and tail.
  • Make 1 hole in the wide end of the cork.
  • Insert 1 end of pipe cleaner into cork and the other end into the hole at the end of the egg cups, for the neck.
  • Add googly eyes and decorate with markers.
Spider

  • Separate 1 cup from an egg carton and paint black.
  • Using scissor points, make 4 small holes on each side at the base.
  • Insert a pipe cleaner into each hole, for legs.
  • Add googly eyes and decorate with markers.
Bat

  • Separate 3 cups from an egg carton.
  • Cut out part of the bottoms of the 2 outside cups for wings.
  • Poke a hole in the top of the bat's head.
  • Tie a knot at one end of a piece of string (about 31 cm or 12" long).
  • Slip string though the bat's head to hang the bat.
  • Add googly eyes and decorate with markers.
Sea Monster

Tools & Supplies required: Egg carton, pipe cleaners, permanent marker, paint and other materials to decorate, tape, scissors and glue.

  • Cut the egg carton down the middle lengthwise; trim the rough edges.
  • Cut the egg carton lid into waves; paint the waves and attach them to both sides of the sea monster.
  • Cut/attach 2 pipe cleaners into the head of the sea monster for antennae.
  • Decorate with felt markers, paint, etc.
From: http://www.EnchantedLearning.com

Fish, Cat and Dog Mobiles

Tools & supplies required: egg cartons, cardboard, straws/Popsicle sticks, string/fishing line, paper clips, permanent markers, paint and other materials to decorate, tape, scissors and glue.

Hang your creation from lengths of string or fishing line. You can attach the string to a paper clip and insert the clip into the hanging object. Test different locations for attaching the string/fishing line to ensure that the mobile will balance. Use the lid of the egg carton as a hanger for the strings/fishing line by attaching with tape on the underside of the lid, putting a looped string with a knot through the middle to use as a hanging device. Or, cross and secure two straws/Popsicle sticks together and hang the string from the ends and middle.

Fish Mobile

  • Cut 2 individual egg sections apart and trim rough edges (this is the fish's body).
  • Use the carton lid to cut a fin and tail section (use an enlargement of the pattern).
  • Glue the body sections to each side of the fin and tail section, holding the pieces together a few minutes until dry.
  • To make a mouth, cut around one of the pop-up lid fasteners. Glue it on the body.
  • Decorate as desired… and hang.

Cat Mobile

  • Cut 2 individual egg cups apart. One will be the body and tabs can be cut at the four corners for the cat's feet. On that same cup, cut out the sides to make legs. The other cup will be the head section and two tabs can be cut out of two corners to make the ears.
  • Glue the head section on top of the body section.
  • Decorate the face by glueing grass, twigs, etc for whiskers, and a pompom, paint or felt for a nose. Attach a bit of yarn for a tail… and hang.
  • The ears and tail can easily be changed to make a dog.

Other Objects:

Pumpkin
Tools & supplies required: Two egg carton cups, white glue, orange acrylic paint, black marker, green pipe cleaner (or green tissue paper).

  • Glue together 2 egg cups, bottoms together, to form a ball.
  • Paint orange and draw a face.
  • Poke hole in top and stick in green pipe cleaner or twisted tissue paper.
From: http://www.crafterscommunity.com/feedback.php

School Bus
Tools & supplies required: Egg carton top, yellow acrylic paint, black construction paper, glue, scissors, black marker, pictures of people (optional).

  • Using the top of an egg carton, paint the outside of it yellow.
  • Draw windows and write "School" at the top of the bus.
  • Cut 2 circles of black construction paper for wheels & glue on bus.
  • Either draw people in the bus, or cut pictures of people from magazines and paste them in the windows of the bus.
From: http://www.dltk-kids.com

Flower/Flower Bouquet
Tools & supplies required: Egg carton cups, green pipe cleaner, white glue, scissors, acrylic paint or markers.

  • Cut separate egg cups, each one will become a flower.
  • Cut the edges of the egg cup jagged or rounded to resemble flower petals.
  • Paint or color each flower.
  •  Punch a hole (with scissors) into the top of each flowerInsert green pipe cleaner through each hole to create a stem and bend over/knot at the top so the stem is stable.
  • A decorated empty can makes a great vase for a flower bouquet!
From: http://www.zoomschool.com

Airplane Mobile
Tools & supplies required: egg cartons, cardboard, straws/Popsicle sticks, string/fishing line, paper clips, permanent markers, paint and other materials to decorate, tape, scissors and glue.

Hang your creation from lengths of string or fishing line. You can attach the string to a paper clip and insert the clip into the hanging object. Test different locations for attaching the string/fishing line to ensure that the mobile will balance. Use the lid of the egg carton as a hanger for the strings/fishing line by attaching with tape on the underside of the lid, putting a looped string with a knot through the middle to use as a hanging device. Or, cross and secure two straws/Popsicle sticks together and hang the string from the ends and middle.

  • Cut 2 individual egg cups apart and trim rough edges.
  • Punch two holes in the top of one with a sharp pencil. This is where a string will go through for hanging the finished plane.
  • Cut the wing, tail and propeller pieces from the egg carton lid. (enlarge the graphic for use as a pattern). The two tail pieces fit together at the slit.
  • Cut a slit down the side of one of the egg cups and insert the tail into the slit.
  • Glue the wing section between the two egg cups.
  • Push a straight pin through the propeller and stick it onto the airplane.
  • Decorate and hang.

Rocket Ship
Tools & Supplies required: Egg carton, styrofoam cups, pipe cleaners/wire, permanent markers, paint and other materials to decorate, scissors and glue.

  • Cut 1 individual egg carton section apart and trim rough edges (this is the nose of the rocket ship).
  • Glue the body section together (wide ends of 2 styrofoam cups).
  • Glue the tail section to the body (narrow ends).
  • Glue the egg carton section on to make the nose of the space rocket.
  • Place pipe cleaners/wire into cups to make antenna and the rocket's vapor trail.
  • Decorate with stickers, markers, paint and other material.

Race Car
Tools & Supplies required: Egg carton, styrofoam cups, cardboard, paper fasteners, permanent markers, paint and other materials to decorate, tape, scissors and glue.

  • Cut the lid off an egg carton and trim the rough edges.
  • Cut two (2) styrofoam cups in half lengthwise. Attach one half to the front of the car to make the nose piece and two halves on the top of the car to make the windshield (small end of the cup towards front end of car) and passenger compartments (small end of the cup towards back end of car).
  • Cut an egg cup out of the carton; trim rough edges. Draw a face on the egg cup and insert into the passenger compartment. This is the driver for the car.
  • Cut out 4, 1 ½" in diameter cardboard circles (the wheels) and attach them with paper fasteners to the side of the egg carton. (The paper fasteners allow the wheels to rotate. Stapling on the wheels is another option.).
  • Decorate with stickers, felt markers, etc.

The Seven Dwarves
Tools & Supplies required: Egg carton, fabric, yarn, permanent markers, paint and other materials to decorate, tape, scissors and glue.

  • Cut the bottom off an egg carton and trim the rough edges (ensure the lid and locks are removed).
  • Attach an additional 2-cup piece to the egg carton (to make the 7th dwarf).
  • Turn upside down - decorate the "upper" row of humps as faces with beards, hair, etc; decorate the lower row of humps (bodies), covering with small squares of fabric to make the bed covers.
  • Use the lid of the egg carton to form the bed's head and foot boards. Attach to the bed.
  • Decorate with stickers, paint, etc.

Art Palette:

Egg cartons make great art palettes for paints. Place separate colors into each egg container. The inside of the egg carton top can be used to blend colors to create your own.

GAMES

Mathematics Game (for grades 3-5). The objective is to teach children to read numerals in the "ones" to "thousands" place.
Tools & supplies required: Egg carton, four 2.5cm (1") circles of construction paper with one of the following words written on each of them: "ones", "tens", "hundreds" & "thousands" (these are the markers), black felt pen.

  • Write # 1-12 at the inside bottom of each egg cup in the carton.
  • Place the markers in the egg carton.
  • Shake egg carton.
  • Open to see what number has been created.

Math Game (grade 3-5)
For example, if the "ones" marker lands on egg cup labeled 4, the "tens" marker lands on 7 and the "hundreds" marker lands on 2, the number created is 274.

  • Begin with three markers and add the "thousands" marker once the students have the hang of the game.

Mathematics Game (for preschool)
Tools & supplies required: Egg carton, beads or beans.

  • Place a number of beads/beans in the carton.
  • Close and shake the carton.
  • Get the children to count how many beads/beans are in each egg cup.
Math Game (preschool)

Tools & supplies required: Egg carton, glue, scissors, 48 small stones/beads/seeds.

  • Cut off top of egg carton. Cut top in half widthwise.
  • Glue the two halves under the 4 egg cups on each end of the bottom carton (this creates a tray on either end).
  • Paint and decorate the game board.
  • Place 4 beads in each cup.
Rules:

a) Place the game board lengthwise. Each player owns the tray to their right as well as the 6 egg cups closest to them.
b) Taking turns, a player scoops all beads from one of their own cups. Drop one bead into the cup to the right of the cup the beads were taken from. Continue dropping one bead per cup, heading in the right (counter clockwise) direction until there are no beads left in your hand. If you reach your tray, drop a stone in and continue on. If you reach your opponent's tray, skip over the tray and continue dropping beads one by one.
c) The winner is the player with the most beads in their tray.

From: http://www.kckpl.lib.ks.us/refdept/askus.htm

OUTDOOR PROJECTS

Birdfeeder Bird Feeder
Tools & supplies required: Egg carton bottom, scissors, string, birdfeed.

  • Poke holes in the four corners of the egg carton.
  • Cut 4 pieces of string (about 45 cm or 1.5 feet each) and knot each at one end.
  • Pull a string through each carton hole.
  • Gather strings in middle, and knot.
  • Fill each egg section with birdseed.
  • Hang on a tree and watch the birds feast!

Seedling Pot
Tools & supplies required: Bottom of egg carton, potting soil, easy-to-grow vegetable, flower or herb seeds

  • Poke small hole in bottom of each egg cup (for drainage).
  • Fill each egg cup ¾ full with potting soil.
  • Plant a seed in each egg cup.
  • Water, put in sunny window & continue to water when dry. Watch plants grow! (They will need to be transplanted to the garden or bigger pots when they outgrow their pots.)

STORAGE CONTAINERS

Egg cartons make great storage containers for golf balls, small desk supply items (eg. paper clips, elastics, etc), coins, beads, buttons or any other small items you want to keep well-organized. Decorate cartons as you wish!