Creative recycled art

What is recycled art? What are the advantages of transforming waste into art? How can we apply our knowledge of the 3R’s of waste management? How can we show our motivation to contribute to the planet’s welfare?

These are the questions Te Mihi students who chose to work in Room 8 for Art in the Park asked as we went on our journey of getting creative through art. 

‘Art in the Park’ inquiry rationale is to engage in visual arts, learn how to participate in, critique, and celebrate our own and others’ visual worlds. 

Recycled art is creative work that is made from discarded materials that once had another purpose. Artists who make recycled art take those materials and make them into something new. The learning intention was to create a 3D sculpture using cardboard and/or fluted polypropylene (corrugated plastic sheeting) that had previously had another purpose. 

Te Mihi students tried art tasters and were able to select their favoured art media and joined any classes among Te Mihi. Room 8 learned this year about the 3 R’s of waste management “Reduce, reuse, recycle”. ‘Art in the Park’ was the perfect opportunity to put new knowledge into practice. During the tasters, we looked at some photos of artwork from upcyclers, artists committed to a type of sustainable art such as New York artist Warren King or British artist Chris Gilmour. This gave us some ideas about artwork we could create using waste materials. Students from each class created abstract miniature sculptures using cardboard. They attached the different pieces together using the technique of slots. 


Creative recycled art Te Mihi tasters

At the end of the tasters, Room 8 welcomed some students from Room 5, 6 and 7. The students worked in groups during the whole process. 

The first step was to plan our art work using an art planning template. It was great to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the students planning their artwork.  

After this, the students started to create their artwork. They used cardboard collected from supermarkets, fluted polypropylene from old real estate signs. They also used paint and glue using hot glue guns. 


Marshall Jack Jaxon Lenox Eiffel Tower

There were several projects: deer heads, giraffe, Eiffel Towers, pineapples, Minecraft character, fictional character Gudetama and a soccer ball. Many of these projects used the attachment technique called slots taught in workshops through the term. All groups decided to paint their art. 

At the end of the process, the students had to reflect on their work and write an explanation answering these questions

  • Why did you choose the subject?

  • What techniques did you use? 

  • What media did you use?

  • What did you find difficult and why? 

  • What worked well? 

  • How does your finished art make you feel and why? 


Tori Bella Harrold


Madison Michaela Blake perky pineapple


Ava Emily Zaara La Dame de Fer


Elliot Max Darrius Arion David the fabulous deer head


Students voice

The environmental values, in terms of recycling and the reuse of  materials, have as much value as the artwork itself. Giving the materials a second life and reducing the amount of waste generated inspired the students through the whole process. The movement of extending the life of waste is also a very interesting tool to raise awareness in society, especially among children, regarding the consequences of our actions on the environment and the importance of recycling. 

Keywords: Art in the Park, recycling art, cardboard, fluted polypropylene, artwork, tasters, slots, reflection, explanation

Elliot Max Darrius Arion David the fabulous deer head 20208