Make a Recycled Fez From an Empty Ice Cream Carton

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What to do with an empty pint ice cream carton? Make a fez for your pet! Being subjected to getting dressed up is a small price for your pet to pay to live rent-free and have someone pick up their poop.

Most of these items can be found readily at an art supply store if you don’t already have them at home. Small pieces of felt should be less than $1! You can substitute an old graduation tassel or black or yellow yarn for the bookmark.

What You’ll Need:

  • Paper ice cream container – pint size
  • Red felt
  • Old bookmark with tassel
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Elastic string (optional)
  • Pet whose will power has been broken down

Why Some Things Are Easier to Recycle Than Others

Many curbside recycling programs accept paper in bins provided to residents. Types of paper include newspaper, cardboard and magazines. If you look closely at your town’s list of accepted materials, you might find that they do not accept “freezer boxes.” This means any cardboard box that was packaging for frozen food, like TV dinners or the box for your frozen pizza. These boxes look like they are recyclable, and may even have a recycling symbol on them, but many paper recyclers have a hard time actually processing them. This is because freezer boxes have a coating on them that help make them more water resistant, and stand up to the ice in your freezer without falling apart.

The technical name for these treated freezer boxes is “wet strength.” This chemical coating interferes with making recycled paper products at the paper recycling plant, and is why normally you should throw away old ice cream cartons. Until now, when you learn how to use them to make hats!

Make a Fez

Step 1: Get rid of any ice cream residue in your container. This is accomplished easily by eating all the ice cream, washing it out and allowing to air dry. You may need to soak the container in water for a few minutes and then rinse out, but don’t allow it to sit in water for too long. Even though it has wet-strength, it can still get flimsy and waterlogged, so clean and dry it and gather your materials.

Step 2: Hold your clean, dry container onto a section or corner of the felt and trace around the bottom. Cut this circle out and set aside. Flip over your carton and test out the size of your top piece. It should be a tiny bit big and slope up the sides. Do not trim it. This is good for final coverage as you’ll see later.

Step 3: *See optional Step 6 before beginning Step 3* Now wrap the remaining felt around the carton and trim as necessary. You want a little overlap on the seam where the two edges will meet. You also want at least an inch overlap on the top and bottom so that you have some material to wrap around the carton lip and top. Start up your glue gun and glue down the seam. Then add hot glue to the inside rim of the carton and gently wrap up the felt. Do this in about 4 to 5 sections.  Be careful, as the glue is hot and you might still be able to feel it through the felt.

Step 4: Place the top piece on the carton bottom and poke a hole through both. I used a BBQ skewer, (and you can tell I did this in a different order). Use the skewer to poke the tassel through the hole you made in the felt, then through the carton. Pull it until you reach the tassel and tie a knot. Then you can pull the tassel end and have it stay.

Step 5: Glue down the top piece of felt. The circle should gently slope up the sides and cover up the wrapped and glued felt. Now you’ve got a spiffy little hat from what you might have thought was trash!

Step 6: (Optional) Elastic string helps keep the fez, or any hat (homemade or otherwise) on your pet. They may not like it, but if they live under your roof they’ll put up with it. Poke two small holes on either side of the bottom of the hat and tie in the elastic thread, or glue the elastic thread to the inside, being careful to let it dry before trying it on your pet. If you skip this step, you can make a game of it to time how long the fez will stay on your pet! If you opt for the elastic thread, you can attach it to the carton before putting on the felt, as the felt will cover the hole and enhance its look.

Step 7: Take lots of pictures and post them to every social network available. Want another hat? Eat more ice cream! It’s a win-win, unless your pet finds hats intolerable.

Feel free to improve on your fez making skills. For example, sewing the felt (if you’re good at sewing) with red thread might better hide the seam.

Other ways to reuse a paper ice cream container include cleaning it using Step 1, decorating the outside to your heart’s desire, and using it for simple storage of small office supplies like push pins, paper clips, or as a pen holder.

Hope you found this tutorial enjoyable! Feel free to email us pictures of your pet in your homemade fez.

Links to products featured on RecycleScene are affiliate links. We try and only feature products that close the recycling loop. Make a purchase of recommended products on our site, and we get a small percentage of affiliate commission to maintain our site. Read more in the Terms of Use & Disclosure link in footer. Thanks!

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