Save a Lid, Make Art!

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Have you ever noticed that plastic bottle caps feel different than the bottles they’re attached to? Harder or stiffer or a different colour? Have you ever looked at a cap to find that there was no recycling number, and thus realized you couldn’t recycle the plastic cap? What a potential mountain of plastic garbage heading for the landfills!

Ms. Whittick’s Grade 7 class in Windermere found a solution to this plastic cap problem that is beautiful, engaging, and accessible to all: collage-style hangable art pieces! This is a project that can be done by any class, or crafty individual, so here’s the recipe for this DIY project:



1 class of enthusiastic students marketing the idea, designing the image, and gluing it all together

1 school of students, staff, and parents collecting and donating plastic caps to the school

Many, many plastic caps in a rainbow of colours

As many glue guns and glue sticks as you can get your hands on

Wooden board – could be a piece of plywood or a piece of two-by-four

Picture frame – optional but really gives a professional look to your finished piece

Creativity, enthusiasm, and time


  1. Encourage everyone you know – other classes, staff, parents, community – to collect their un-recyclable plastic lids and drop them off in your well-marked large boxes at your school.
  2. Collaborate on what design(s) you’d like to make. Ms. Whittick’s class made two beautiful 1.5 meter by 1 meter pieces – one wasa silhouette of a bear, the other was a scene of our local Columbia Valley including the river, Rocky Mountains, and stunning sunset.
  3. Draw your design on your piece of wood. Keep in mind that lids are round, so a large simple pattern will be most feasible.
  4. Sort your lids into the various colours (see the attached picture).
  5. Heat up your glue guns and start gluing down your lids! Watch the process come together like magic!
  6. If you’re adding a frame, leave room on the edges and attached when finished.
  7. Voila – beautiful recycled art! Cool and hang where desired.

Further Options:

a) Get your pieces into the public eye! Ms. Whittick’s class had their art pieces on display at our local art gallery, Pynelogs, during the annual “Art From the Heart” student art exhibit.

b) Teach others how to do this and help them create their own pieces! During the Earth Day event put on by the two Invermere Beyond Recycling classes (Ms. Whittick’s and Ms. Lema’s), students from Ms. Whittick’s class helped younger students create art pieces for their classrooms (see picture)

c) For a more durable, outdoor art piece, try attaching each lid by drilling a screw through each lid into the wood.

d) Count or weigh your lids before gluing them down to quantify how many lids you saved from the landfill.

Happy recycled-art making everyone!