Cleaned laundry caps drying

Toddler Craft – Basket from Recycled Laundry Cap

For the Obon festival at Ekoji Buddhist Temple, I designed two crafts for younger children from recycled materials.

One was this little basket made from recycled laundry caps. These are the caps that you see on the liquid laundry detergent jugs. Have you ever looked at those caps? They are extra large and heavy-duty – and very colorful. Some even have cool shapes. Downy has a cap that looks like a flower, and some Tide caps have spikes on them (so you could use them like a scrubber on stains).

I have saved more than 200 laundry caps over the years! I was looking for a way to reduce my stash, so I designed this simple craft. It involves drilling two holes on the side with my new drill press. The kids will then thread large plastic beads on a pipe cleaner, and then thread it into the holes to make a handle on their basket.

Small toy basket made from a recycled laundry cap
Small toy basket made from a recycled laundry cap

A cute craft with some nice fine-motor skill development for the kiddos.

The only challenge is that laundry detergents are often stinky. I have washed all those caps at least once, but when I pulled out the box of caps, I decided to give them another scrub. I noticed some had dried detergent in the crevices, and even if they went into the box clean, that had spread to the collection.

With a toothbrush, I scrubbed them all, and put them out to dry on my dining room table. What a colorful scene!

Cleaned laundry caps drying
Cleaned laundry caps drying

So looking at my collection, can you notice:

  • What are the most common colors of laundry caps?
  • There is one cap in the collection that is a unique color – what is it?

Can you see how laundry caps come in two distinct shapes? One is a simple cap and the other has a rim around the middle. I have found over the years that sometimes if you are lucky, you can get one of these to fit into the other and it makes a little container that twists together. I always wanted to do something with that idea. But for now, this will be a great craft for the smaller Obon attendees.

(I particularly like the transparent ones. I could imagine the kids putting a little treasure in there, that you can see through the sides.)