19 DIY Milk Jug Crafts, Art Projects, and Upcycling Ideas
If you drink a lot of milk, there’s a good chance you’ve recycled dozens of milk jugs in the past. And if you’re the crafty type, you may have even thought up a couple of your own ways to repurpose those empty jugs.
Turns out, there are quite a few different ways to reuse empty plastic milk cartons. There are really neat art projects, crafts, upcycle ideas, and more scattered around the internet if you look hard enough! Best of all, the crafts are great for both kids and adults (some are functional, some are pure fun).
So, hang onto those empty bottles and check out the milk jug crafts below! I’ve separated the ideas into five categories:
- Milk Jug Art Projects
- Milk Carton Games
- Milk Jug Crafts for Outside
- Holiday-Themed Milk Jug Crafts; and
- Other Ideas
Milk Jug Art Projects
There are probably a ton more milk jug art projects than just the few listed below, but they should give you some ideas of what’s possible.
1. Milk Jug Elephant
I love all the colors in this craft. It’s a great learning project too as it includes a bit of patchwork, cutting, and gluing. The finished result is awesome!
Get the full tutorial from The Imagination Tree.
2. Milk Jug Owl
These milk jug owls actually surprised me a bit. At first glance, I didn’t even think even realize they were made from milk jugs! With the colors and different additions, the jug sort of just blends in.
This is another awesome craft for kids of all ages as they get to experiment a bit with paint and they get to utilize different materials around the house in ways that they weren’t initially meant for. Knowing how to repurpose is a great skill to have!
Get the full tutorial from Kids Crafts by Three Sisters.
Suncatcher crafts are always a blast to create and hang around the house, and plastic milk jugs make for the perfect suncatcher material! Cut out a shape, add some color and a string, and you’re good to go!
Get the full tutorial from Happy Hooligans.
DIY Milk Jug Games
The kids are going to love these!
4. Milk Jug Toss
The creator of this game mentioned that preschoolers will have a lot of fun with this, and I honestly think kids of all ages can enjoy it! They can try placing the jug in different areas around the house and taking trick shots to see who can get a pom-pom in first. I can think of so many different ways to enjoy this simple DIY game.
Get the full tutorial from Crafty Journal.
5. Milk Jug Catcher
This game, although it may look similar to the one above, is actually quite different. And it has three different play options!
- Outdoor Water Balloon Catch – Take two catchers outdoors and throw water balloons back and forth, trying to catch them in the jugs. Prepare to get wet! For more ideas like this, check out these backyard water games.
- Indoor Sock Catch – Same idea as the water balloon game except indoors with a sock to catch.
- Solo Catch – Attach a pom-pom on a string to your milk jug and try to swing it up and catch it.
As you can see, this one is pretty versatile and SO easy to make!
Get the full tutorial from Childhood 101.
Milk Jug Crafts for Outside
There are some really fun and functional ways to use milk jugs in your garden area!
6. Bird Feeder
We created a list of DIY bird feeders and included a cardboard milk carton feeder idea, but you can make one out of a plastic milk jug as well! There are actually a few different styles you can make. Kids will have a lot of fun decorating their own bird feeder!
Get the full tutorial from Great Stems.
7. Mini Greenhouse
If you want to start growing some plants for your garden a bit before the weather starts getting warm enough, you can actually use a milk jug to create a little mini-greenhouse for your seedlings. The milk jugs are easy to label too!
Get the full tutorial from Gardening Know How.
8. Fun Milk Jug Planter
If you DON’T need to use the greenhouse idea above but instead just need a regular planter, you can use a milk jug for that too. And you can make them look pretty unique! Kids will love to help you decorate your homemade planters.
Get the full tutorial from Milk Life.
9. Watering Can
This is SO simple to make yet so effective. If you don’t have a watering can (or want multiple) but don’t feel like spending a ton of money on one, just make one of these. They work great and they hold quite a bit of water.
Get the full tutorial from Family Handyman.
10. Totem Pole
Ok, this might not be the most useful way to reuse milk jugs, but it sure is a fun way! Have the kids help you decorate each jug for the totem pole and you’ll have a unique, colorful DIY backyard decoration in no time.
Get the full tutorial from Instructables.
Holiday Themed Milk Jug Crafts
I found some fun DIY milk jug decor ideas for Halloween, Easter, and Christmas. Check them out!
11. Milk Jug Witch Heads
Simple and not too creepy! Just how I like my DIY Halloween decorations to be. These witch heads actually look really cool for being made from milk jugs. You can basically hang them anywhere too.
Get the full tutorial from Smart School House.
12. Milk Jug Skeletons
Milk jug skeletons are a CLASSIC DIY Halloween decoration. Why? Because they look great and the milk jug material is perfect for them. Super easy to make too.
Get the full tutorial from eHow.
13. Milk Jug Ghosts
This is the last of the Halloween ideas, and it’s even easier than all the others. Just draw a ghost face on a milk carton and put a small light inside!
Get the full tutorial from Mom Wife Busy Life.
14. Easter Bunny
The thing I love about this easter bunny milk jug craft is that it also doubles as a DIY basket. You can put little treats in it like chocolate eggs or peeps! For more similar ideas, check out our frugal DIY Easter decorations.
Get the full tutorial from She Saved.
15. Milk Jug Snowmen
Something about these milk jug snowmen just makes me smile. Maybe it’s just the thought of Christmas, or maybe it’s cause they’re just adorable! Either way, I love these, and I love that you can use different size milk jugs to get different looking snowmen.
Get the full tutorial from Free Fun Christmas.
Other Ways to Repurpose Milk Jugs
These milk jug craft ideas didn’t really fit into any of the categories above, but they’re actually some of my favorite ones. They’re all very functional!
16. Art Supply Organizer
The shape and size of milk jugs just make them perfect for upcycled storage containers. Especially if you don’t want to use a nice, expensive container for whatever you’re planning to store – like art supplies! You won’t even care if this gets wrecked as you can quickly make a new one in a new style.
Get the full tutorial from Factory Direct Craft.
17. Fairy Houses
If you have a little one that loves to play with small dolls or action figures, they can create their own little playhouses with old milk jugs! What’s cool about this vs. store-bought playhouses is that they get to make them look however you want. This is a great craft for building creativity and design skills.
Get the full tutorial from Filth Wizardry.
18. Milk Jug Piggy Bank
If your kids don’t currently have a designated place to save their money, why not get them to make one from scratch! They can design it however they want, or even just write down the things they’re saving for on the container. Once they’re ready to spend their hard-earned money they can easily get it out by popping open the milk jug lid.
Get the full tutorial from Thrifty Fun.
19. Storage Containers
As I mentioned above, milk jugs make for great storage containers. This post shows a bit of a different method for this and I love the organization aspect of it all.
Get the full tutorial from Sew Many Ways.
It’s pretty amazing all of the different things you can do with empty milk jugs! Now instead of getting rid of them right away you can wash them out and save them for one of the milk jug crafts above. Have fun!
Which idea do you like best? Have you ever upcycled a milk jug? Leave a comment!
Other Craft Ideas You Might Like:
- 5 Extremely Creative Ways to Upcycle An Old Sweater
- DIY Tin Can Crafts, Projects and Ideas for Upcycling
- 18 DIY Bottle Cap Crafts for Kids and Adults
- 30 Easy Sock Crafts & Uses for Old Socks
- 50 Amazing Paper Plate Crafts for Kids
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