Have a recycled Christmas, crafts are a great way to make wonderful festive decorations while still being kind to the environment.
Decorating the home at Christmas is part of the tradition and helps to make the festive season just a little bit extra special. The cost of decorations, however, can mount up both in financial terms and also in the impact on the environment. One way of combating this is to make Christmas decorations from discarded material.
Recycled Christmas Crafts
With a little imagination it is possible to recycle a whole range of items into festive decorations. This has the twin benefits of keeping rubbish out of landfills and reducing the need to buy new items. Many items can be recycled and turned into interesting Christmas decorations.
Here are some ideas for making Christmas decorations from recycled items:
Christmas Chain Garlands
Adults and children alike can have great fun making Christmas garlands. These are very easy to do and require little in the way of equipment. Garlands can be made from paper and cards - why not collect interesting colored pages from magazines and brochures for making into garlands?
- Leftover paper and cards of different colors
- Glue, stapler or sticky tape
To make garlands, simply cut strips of paper. These can be any size, however it is worth remembering that the smaller the strip, the smaller the chain. A strip of around 1 inch by 6 inches is a good size.
Start joining the strips into rings. This can be done by stapling the ends together, taping with sticky tape or gluing.
Join two rings together with a third ring and continue making a chain in this manner until it reaches the desired length or you run out of paper!
CD Christmas Tree Ornaments
Christmas tree ornaments can be made from a variety of materials. Old egg boxes can be cut down and painted to make bell shaped ornaments, pieces of cardboard can be cut into shapes and decorated with pieces of fabric or lace and even unwanted CDs can be turned into interesting decorations. Decorations from CDs catch the light effectively and make unusual decorations.
- Unwanted CDs
- Glue or tape
- Pieces of ribbon, strips of fabric, beads, sequins or other decorations
- Thread or yarn
Glue or tape pieces of fabric or lace ribbon over the CDs as desired. Decorate with glitter and sequins.
Cut thread and knot this through the central hole of the CD and hang it from the tree.
With some imagination it is possible to make Christmas angels from soft drink bottles. Many carbonated drink bottles (and also yogurt drink bottles) have a curvy shape and these can become the basis for Christmas angels.
- Empty and clean bottles of a suitable shape
- Waste cardstock or paper for wings
- Old ping pong ball or similar shaped item for head
- Wire for halo
- Paint and glue or tape
Paint the bottle or wrap it in paper to form the body.
Cut a pair of wings from paper and fasten to the back of the body. These can be as big or small as you require. Paint the head if desired. Create a halo from wire and fasten.
Variation - make hair using yarns or threads.
Christmas Wrapping Paper and Gift Bags
Plain paper and plain paper bags can easily be turned into festive gift packaging. Plain paper grocery bags can be transformed using little in the way of additional materials.
- Old, clean grocery bags, wrapping paper, postal paper
- Festive rubber stamp
- Ink or paint
To decorate discarded bags and paper, simply decorate with the image from a festive stamp. Rubber stamps are readily available and can be used for many years to come, therefore a carefully chosen rubber stamp will be a good investment.
If you don´t have access to a rubber stamp, how about making a stamp from a potato? This is great fun for children to do and makes a good activity to keep youngsters amused during the exciting build up to Christmas.
Crackers are easy to make out of cardboard toilet rolls and can make lovely decorations for trees. Additionally, when stuffed with tiny Christmas gifts, these can make great festive table novelties.
- Toilet roll inners
- Ribbons or threads
- Gifts to put inside - sweets, novelties, paper hat, etc.
To make Christmas crackers, simply pop the presents into the empty toilet roll and then wrap the paper around the roll leaving about 6 inches at either end. Gather the ends together to replicate the look of a cracker and tie ribbons or threads around the ends.
While these crackers won´t give the traditional crack when pulled, they are a lovely way to make unique and hand crafted decorations.
Tips for Recycled Christmas Crafts
- Start collecting suitable items for Christmas crafts early in the year! Keep a box for unusual and interesting colored and textured items.
- Keep odds and ends of paint which can be used up adding additional color to decorations.
- Foil wrapping papers are great for adding sparkle to decorations.
- Save wrapping paper and gift bags from birthdays -- these can often be recycled for Christmas use with the addition of some festive adornments.
- Tissue paper used to wrap clothes or delicate items is very useful for a variety of things. This can easily be ironed with a warm iron to remove any crinkles.
If crafts aren't your thing, then perhaps eco-friendly stores might offer a good alternative. These will sell a range of environmentally friendly decorations.