There are lots of ways to recycle plastic soda bottles, and turning them into adorable penguins is one of them. With a little bit of paint, time, and creativity, you can turn 2 plastic soda bottles into an adorable penguin. If you have a lot of plastic soda bottles then you can create an entire penguin family!
EditAssembling the Base
- Find 2 plastic soda bottles. The large, 2-liter (67.2-oz) bottles will work the best for this, but you can use smaller soda bottles too. Look for the kind that have the 4 bumps on the bottom. These bumps will make the feet and the hat.
- The color of the bottles does not matter. You will be painting it.
- Remove the labels and wash the bottles. Peel the labels off first, then wash the bottles inside-out with soap and warm water. Be sure to remove all sticker residue. Dry the bottles with a towel.
- Wipe the bottles down with rubbing alcohol as well. This will remove any oils that might keep the paint from sticking. Let the bottles dry; this should only take a few seconds.
- Cut the bottles in half and recycle the top sections. A craft blade will work the best for this, but you can do it with a sharp pair of scissors too. Young children should be supervised during this step.
- If the cut edge is jagged, cut it smoother with a pair of scissors.
- For a smaller penguin, cut the bottom off of the first bottle, and cut the second bottle in half. The shorter half will make the bottom.
- Tuck 1 bottle inside the other to make a capsule. Turn the bottles so that the cut edges are facing one another. Slide the first bottle into the second bottle by about . If the bottles won’t fit inside one another, cut a slit into 1 of the bottles first; place this edge on the inside.
- Make sure that the 4 bumps on the top and bottom of the capsule line up.
- Glue the bottles together, if desired. If the bottles are loose, glue them together with tacky glue or super glue. Pull the bottles apart, and paint the inside rim of 1 bottle with glue. Slide it over the other bottle.
- Hot glue is not recommended because it is too bulky.
- Alternatively, you can keep the bottles loose, and use the penguin as a gift box.
EditPainting the Penguin
- Paint the entire capsule black, then let it dry. Take the capsule outside or into a well-ventilated area. Set it down on a sheet of newspaper, then coat it with black spray paint. Let the paint dry for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn the capsule over. Spray paint the bottom and let it dry completely.
- Hold the can from the capsule, and spray using a side-to-side motion.
- If the paint is too thin, let it dry completely, then apply another coat of paint.
- If you don’t have spray paint, paint the capsule using black acrylic craft paint and a paintbrush.
- Paint the penguin’s face and belly white, then allow them to dry. Use a pointed paintbrush and white acrylic craft paint to outline the white face and belly of the penguin. Fill your outline in using a flat paintbrush. Let the paint dry, then add another layer if the first layer is too thin. Let the second layer dry too, if you added it.
- Look at pictures of real or cartoon penguins to get ideas for the placement of the white parts.
- Make sure that 2 of the bumps on the base of the capsule line up with the bottom of the penguin’s belly. These are its feet!
- If you are making a smaller penguin, use the shorter half to make the bottom.
- Give the penguin a widow’s peak, if desired. Use a pointed brush and black acrylic craft paint to draw a V-shape at the top of the penguin’s white face. Fill the V-shape in with black paint so that it blends in with the body. For an even nicer finish, made the sides of the V-shape curved so that it looks like Mickey Mouse’s widow’s peak. Let the paint dry before moving on.
- Paint 2 eyes and a beak using acrylic craft paint. Use a yellow upside-down triangle for the beak, and 2 black dots for the eyes. For a more realistic beak, paint a yellow or orange circle, then draw a horizontal black line going through the middle.
- Look at pictures of cartoon penguins to get ideas.
- You can also hot glue 2 buttons or 2 googly eyes for the eyes.
- If you don’t have yellow paint, cut a triangle out of yellow paper, and glue that on instead.
EditAdding Optional Details
- Give your penguin character with lashes, eyebrows, and/or blush. You don’t have to do any of these, but they can really give your penguin personality. Use a very thin brush for the lashes and/or eyebrows, or a paint pen. Use a larger pointed brush to apply pink paint for the blush.
- If you want to give your penguin visible yellow feet, paint the 2 bumps in the front (under the white bellow) with yellow acrylic craft paint.
- Paint the top half of the bottle to turn it into a hat. The 4 bumps on top of your penguin’s head can easily turn into a hat. Paint a line around the penguin’s head, just above the eyes, then fill in everything above that line. Use whatever color you want.
- If you have a molded line just below the bumps, you can use that as a guide instead.
- Let the hat dry, then add some details. You can make the hat look more hat-like by painting or drawing some stripes or spots onto it. Use a thin, pointed paintbrush and acrylic craft paint in a contrasting color to do this. Let the paint dry when you are done.
- Use a paint pen for thin stripes or small dots.
- Glue a pompom to the top of the hat, if desired. You can make the pompom yourself out of yarn, or you can buy it from the kids section of a craft store. Hot glue the pompom to the top of the hat, right between all 4 bumps.
- Choose a pompom color that matches the designs on your hat. If you did not add designs, then use a contrasting color instead.
- Tie ribbon around the neck to make a scarf. Find some ribbon that goes well with the hat. Wrap the ribbon around the penguin’s neck, then cross the left end over the right end. Bring the left end up through the gap, then tighten it. This is just like starting to tie a pair of shoes!
- Glue both ends of the ribbon to the penguin so that they stay down.
- If you are turning this into a gift box, make sure that you keep the ribbon below the seam.
- You can also cut a long, skinny strip out of felt, and use that instead of ribbon. Cut fringes into each end for additional charm.
- If you want your penguin to have a pointy hat, discard 1 of the bottom halves and keep 1 of the top halves. Use the top half as the hat.
- Use paintbrushes made from sable or taklon bristles. Do not use boar bristle, horsehair, or camelhair.
- Spray the penguin with varnish or sealer, if desired. Do this after you finish painting, but before you add pompoms and scarves.
- You can spray the capsule with paint primer first to help the paint stick better.
- If you are worried about the paint chipping, spray the capsule with paint primer before you start painting.
- Use low-temp hot glue guns to avoid blisters and burns. Do not use high-temp hot glue guns.
EditThings You’ll Need
- 2 plastic soda bottles
- Craft blade
- Black spray paint
- Acrylic craft paint (white, yellow, and black)
- Acrylic craft paint, 2 contrasting colors
- Flat and pointed paintbrushes
- Ribbon or felt
- Hot glue
- Tacky glue or super glue
- Make a Puppet with an Empty Bottle and a Broom Stick
- Reuse Empty Water Bottles
- Make a Vase out of a Plastic Bottle