Make an easy recycled tortoise craft with a fancy unique shell created from a plastic snack tub. This is a fun and easy recycling craft for kids.
This craft was originally created in 2015 and has been updated and reshared for today’s audience.
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Tortoises are amazing creatures which are renowned for their long life span – the longest recorded tortoise life is 188 years! They are part of the reptile family and are basically turtles that live on land.
We decided to make a plastic tub tortoise craft and have even created a printable for the arms and legs so it’s easier for you to make some at home. I’ve left the head blank so that kids can give each tortoise it’s own unique face. We’ve used plastic fruit and yoghurt tubs because we’ve been collecting them to repurpose, but you could make this craft from any form of small tub e.g. cardboard cupcake cases, foil pie tins, takeaway sauce tubs etc.
Our tortoise craft was inspired by this cutie my 6 year old made, so I am now officially an idea-stealer! She made her tortoise from a foil pie tin, but we had no more of those left so had to use the plastic tubs. The decorated box in the background is his house.
You can easily make this tortoise craft without the glitter for a more eco-friendly version.
How to make a recycled tub tortoise craft
You will need
- plastic tubs
- coloured paper
- glitter – optional
- This free printable tortoise template
- DIY mod-podge for painting over the glitter
First paint and decorate your plastic tubs. I painted mine, allowed them to dry and then added some glitter afterwards.
To make sparkly spots, add spots of glue using a paintbrush and sprinkle liberally with glitter, then blow the excess off. When using glitter it is a good idea to put a tray underneath your art or craft and it will help to contain the mess, or else use it outside.
Once the glue has dried, paint over the top of the glitter with DIY mod podge (a mix of 50% pva glue and 50% water) to stop the flecks from going everywhere after you make the craft.
You can see the girls went a bit crazy with the number of tortoise shells they made. They then lost interest and didn’t add the arms and legs so I have no photos to show of their kid-made finished versions (but they did have a lot of fun decorating the plastic tubs).
Cut out the body parts from the free printable template.
Fold the two long strips into a paper spring to create the neck.
Draw a face on the head and fold the legs and tail. Glue all the parts onto the shell.
And that’s all there is to it!
Kids will love playing with their finished plastic tub turtles – they are so much fun!
More reptile crafts for kids
- Create a frill-necked lizard from a paper roll
- This snake made from a paper chain almost looks real
- We also have a fun tutorial for a finger knit snake
- Make a pom pom and pipe cleaner gecko – so cute!
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