5 Low-Waste Winter Centerpieces

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Winter entertaining just wouldn’t be complete without an eye-catching centerpiece for the dinner table. For many of us, the days of plucking flowers from the garden are long gone. And, unless you’re willing to shell out the cash for organic, store-bought flowers can be trouble for your compost pile.

Flowers and other organic materials treated with pesticides can kill beneficial composting organisms – which will throw off the eco-system of your pile, according to the EPA. And with so many reusable centerpiece ideas on the Web, there’s no reason not to give non-floral a try this winter. Check out these five low-waste, floral-free winter centerpieces, and start impressing your friends with the three Rs.

Waste-Saving Idea #3: Collect a few pinecones from your yard and display in a glass bowl with whole coffee beans for a surprising and trash-free focal point. Photo: Flickr/sbest2048

1. Fabric scrap arrangement

Have some of your clothes fallen victim to dryer shrinkage and wear-and-tear? Reclaim your pretty-patterned fabrics and use them to create an eclectic centerpiece that all your guests will love.

As explained in this simple how-to from Better Homes and Gardens, simply cut strips from coordinating fabrics and use glue to adhere them to a ball base. Once you have a collection of fabric balls, display them in a pretty bowl for an unconventional focal point that can be reused for many dinner parties to come.

The magazine suggests using foam balls as a base for your fabric scraps. But if you’re looking to go zero-waste with your centerpiece, start with old sports equipment like baseball, tennis and golf balls instead.

2. Seasonal vegetable carving

For the ultimate reusable centerpiece, why not try a design you can eat? No, we’re not talking about a played-out fruit bowl arrangement. We’re talking about a chic and creative carving made from seasonal veggies.

Foodie, history buff and She Simmers blogger Leela used time-honored Thai carving techniques to transform seasonal veggies like collard greens, onions and carrots into funky lotus centerpieces that are (almost) too pretty to eat.

The Thai food blogger, who admittedly “can’t carve,” provides a step-by-step tutorial that will help even the most craft-wary beginner become a seasoned flower-maker in no time. After your party is over, incorporate the ingredients into some of your favorite recipes.

3. Coffee and pinecone centerpiece

Outdoor finds like pinecones and evergreen branches are perfect for creating a rich and inviting winter tablescape. For a bolder look and a touch of surprise, expand on wintry brown color palettes by adding pantry ingredients like coffee beans.

As explained in this quick how-to from Craft Foxes, just pour out a bag of coffee beans in a shallow glass dish and add pinecones for a simple centerpiece. To pump up the volume, arrange some small candles in the beans for an elegant-meets-rustic look.

After dinner, simply put your coffee beans into a reusable container for later use and set pinecones aside for composting.

4. Twig and paper flower bouquet

Stuck for a reuse idea for all that leftover holiday tissue paper? Since you can’t recycle it, use it to craft a whimsical bouquet for your next winter get-together.

Start by gathering some bare twigs from your yard and arranging them in an old milk jar or wide-mouthed glass bottle. Then use this photo tutorial from Tenacious Textiles to craft colorful flowers from your tissue paper and adhere them to twigs with string.

For added reuse fun, get the kids involved and create a few bright-colored butterflies from scrap paper or junk mail. Check out this easy paper butterfly tutorial from Dana Made It blogger Dana Willard to find out how.

5. Photo candleholder

Nothing adds a personal touch to intimate gatherings quite like a photo display. But rather than simply attaching photos to a piece of poster board, think outside the box and use your favorite snapshots as pretty candleholder centerpieces.

This photo centerpiece craft from DIY maven Martha Stewart is also a great reuse idea for those old and unsightly picture frames in your closet. Simply print your photos onto vellum paper using an ink-jet printer, and place them in the frames.

Then, use cloth tape to hinge frames together to form a triangle shape around a glass votive holder. The vellum paper creates a translucent look, and candlelight will flicker through the images – creating an eye-catching look that will bring a smile to all your loved ones’ faces.

Keep Reading: 5 Ways to Winterize Your Home

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