We’re suspecting that if you’re reading this article, you’ve got a pretty good eye for creativity – or at least a desire to explore the space. Nothing says “green holiday” like opting for homemade decorations and gifts, and the added personal touch makes your crafts all the more unique and memorable.
Keeping in mind both time and money, we scoured the crafting world for the most clever, eco-friendly projects that are sure to make this holiday season a little more inspired. Happy crafting!
1. Ornamental Flair
Ornaments are typically harder to recycle due to their varied makeup of plastics, glitter, metal and the like. And whether you tore open your poorly taped box to find broken ornaments or your Christmas tree simply needs a makeover this year, don’t make an extra trip to the store for new ornaments.
For an “earthy” Christmas twist, utilize the acorn litter in your backyard to make felted acorn ornaments. We love these because they’re not so holiday-centric and can be used any time of the year as pendants or nifty wall decor.
Recycling bottle caps is always a hot topic around here, as caps are usually made from a different plastic resin than their bottles. But in case you were saving those caps for a rainy day (or a trip to Aveda to recycle them), Mother Nature Network has the perfect bottle cap bow ornament craft project to remedy that growing heap of caps. We love that you can personalize the ornament with you favorite photos or designs.
We’re also going to throw in a shameless plug here: Download Earth911′s treecycling ornament for a friendly reminder to recycle your Christmas tree once the holidays are over.
2. Set the Mood
We’re not sure how the chemistry works here, but the smell of a fresh pine or peppermint candle mixes so well with sugar cookies and eggnog. Instead of spending 20 bucks on store-bought holders, make your own tin can luminaries from those leftover cans of cranberry sauce and such from your most recent get-together.
How many of those fancy china teacups do you really use? Add a classy touch to your holiday with teacup lights. Use them as centerpieces on your coffee table or give them as gifts to your co-workers. This project is especially great because it looks expensive but only requires a few materials, and is as easy as melting a couple of old candles. We would expect nothing less from Martha Stewart.
3. Festive (and Funny) Outdoor Decor
A holiday wreath from fresh winter greenery isn’t an unheard-of craft, but most of us probably don’t have step-by-step directions for constructing one that can hold up in even the windiest of weather. We’re suckers for reuse, so we love Plenty magazine’s holiday wreath, which incorporates waste from food packaging as part of the project’s foundation.
And we promised a laugh, so we had to throw in penguin yard figurines made from leftover 2-liter soda bottles. The winter equivalent of the traditional yard flamingo, these penguins make for a fun project that is sure to draw a smile from even your Scroogiest of guests.
4. Custom Cozy Clothing
Our T-shirt reuse article was wildly popular, so we know you love clothing projects. But we thought we’d think outside the bottom dresser drawer and find craft projects for the other items in your closet. If you’re spending more time in the kitchen during the holidays, don your chef hat and recycle an old skirt into an apron. And don’t be afraid to use that 80s-inspired houndstooth pattern or cheeky hot pink floral frock.
We all have at least one faux pas sweater stashed in the back of the closet. If you’re not attending a tacky Christmas sweater party this year, consider turning it into warm leggings or a sweater skirt for your child.
5. Greeting Cards Galore
So, the mantle is full and you’re running out of refrigerator space to display those stacks of holiday greeting cards. You can always recycle paperboard and paper envelopes, but if you just can’t bear to toss them in the bin, try bending, cutting and gluing them to make small, ornamental boxes that can be used for decoration or gift-giving.
Cards are always great for scrapbooking and collages, but we never considered to use them as gift tags. Check out the instructional video below from Twisted Limb Paperworks. Remember to encourage your recipient to recycle or reuse the tag once your gift has been opened.