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Lesson: Water Bottle Crowns

April 22, 2015 | By Rachel Zink

On Earth Day and every day, Arts For Life is committed to creating unique, student-made art with materials that may otherwise end up in a landfill. With this lesson, students turn a landfill regular—the water bottle (it’s estimated that 38 billion bottles aren’t recycled each year)—into a wearable work of art!


  • To encourage creative thinking by using materials that might otherwise be thrown away.
  • To inspire dramatic art through the creation of a unique, wearable work of art.
  • To encourage materials exploration including glue, paint, and embellishments.


  • 1 L plastic water bottle
  • X-ACTO (teacher/parent only)
  • Scissors
  • Sharpie markers or tempera paints
  • Hole punch (need a standard hole punch, but you can use others as well)
  • Tacky glue
  • Buttons, beads, feathers, sequins, stickers, adhesive jewels, etc.
  • Elastic

Teacher/Parent Preparation:

  • Sanitize the water bottle: peel off label; hand-wash with hot, soapy water; dip in a bleach solution; and allow to air-dry.
  • Using an X-ACTO knife, cut the bottom and top off of the bottle.
  • Use scissors to trim the edges of the bottle.


  • Begin with the top of the crown. Using scissors, cut triangle-shaped indentions on one end of the cut bottle (both ends should be of equal circumference, so it doesn’t matter which end). You will be creating the top of the crown—points will be pokey, so watch out! Save your scraps if you want to add interesting details elsewhere on your crown.
  • Using Sharpies, color your whole crown. This a little messy. (If desired, you can cut your crown and lay it down on the table flat to color. You will just have to go back later and tape it up with strong clear tape on the inside.)
  • If desired, you can punch holes in your crown to make it more visually interesting.
  • Decorate your crown with beads, buttons, jewels, etc. Use tacky glue to adhere these embellishments.
  • Punch a small hole in either side of the crown, just above where your ears would be.
  • Cut a length of elastic (roughly 20 inches long), and tie it to the crown at both holes using a double knot. Secure the knot with a dot of tacky glue.
  • Wear your crown by pulling the elastic down under your chin!

 Tweak It:

  • Replace the bottle with a plain piece of 9 x 12 cardstock rolled into a tube.

© 2015 Arts For Life