How can I make Christmas decorations reusing and recycling stuff?

christmas_decorations.jpgSo Christmas is just over a week away and houses up and down the land are being covered in fairy lights, tinsel and breaking-and-entering Santas trying to climb in bedroom windows (is that just a trend on my estate? Is it really just a creative burglar who gets around a lot?).

But what if you prefer decorations that aren’t shop bought? I’m sure all you clever, crafty people have a billion ideas to make pretty Christmas things – and I’m sure a lot of them will reuse or recycle random bits and bobs which would otherwise go in the bin.

I remember making paperchains out of glossy colour magazines as a kid but if we decorate our house these days, I suspect I’d prefer something a little less … paperchain-y.

I like the idea of little festive candle lanterns made from old tin cans, Precarious Tomato’s prescription pill bottle wreath and Alison Bailey Smith’s gorgeous scrap wire baubles. I seem to recall someone making baubles out of old-style lightbulbs too but can’t remember the details… And our friend Deb has made a Christmas tree out of cardboard (the last time we had a tree, a good few years ago now, we had a cardboard one too – but Deb’s looks far more sturdy than ours.)

Have you seen any good upcycling ideas? What have you reused to make recycled Christmas decorations?

For Christmas 2011

Check out our links to a range of fantastic homemade, recycled Christmas decorations – upcycling waste paper, scrap fabric and other so-called rubbish into fab festive items.

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12 Responses to “How can I make Christmas decorations reusing and recycling stuff?”


  1. Karmae says:

    Did good ones a few years ago out of old furnace filters. They were the ones that are a silver grid frame holding the fiber. Discarded the fiber, cut the grid into diamond and other shapes and put pictures and small dried flowers into the circles. Covered the whole thing with mac-tac plastic.

    2. Walnuts are great. Half shells becom bird nests, baby carriages etc. As kids we used to open them carefully, put a secret message inside and glue them up eith a string to hang. We often painted these ones as well. The messages were very revealing years later.

    3. My grandfather used to decorate his tree only with food stuff for the outside creatures. Popcorn, fruit, big pine cones covered in bird seed and suet, dried corn, and so on. The tree was set up Christmas eve day and then put out Christmas day or boxing day at the latest.

  2. I made some holly leaves out of the inside of toothpaste tubes when I was quite young. Just used scissors on the plastic. Silvery inside and if you don’t clean it full you get a nice minty smell as well!!!

  3. Emma says:

    Ooh, how do you make the festive lanterns out of tin cans?!

    • louisa says:

      Clean them (and pull off any paper labels) then using a hammer and nail, punch holes in the side in a pattern or randomly. Put some dry sand in the bottom to weigh it down a little, then a tea light in the sand, et voila! You can also quite easily attached a handle using some sturdy wire through – just poke it through some of your holes and bend the edge so it doesn’t slip back through.

      There is a more detailed description here – http://www.craftygal.com/archives/september/table0900.htm – including a handy tip to make hole punching easier — weigh the can down with ice.

  4. nelly says:

    You can of course make paper decorations with glitter and felt pens but if you want something more artistic or sophisticated you could use pegs to make angels and put them on top of the Christmas tree or attach them using the peg part. THen dress the angel up in tinfoil or something like that. OR being very artistic you could use florist wire and petals from flowers and wooden beads to make fairies and then decorate it to look like an angel to put on top of the Christmas Tree. For an easy one (or OK) cut the florist wire and use a nail clipper to cut a wire into two peices one 6-1/2″ and one 2-1/2″ and Bend a small loop on each end of the short wire to form hands, (use tweezers, pliers or your fingers.)And fold the long wire in half and lay the short wire (arms ) on top of the folded wire about 1/2 down from the top.
    Fold the top bend of the long wire down over the arms then wrap back up through the legs. Then put a bead on through the top bit and draw a face on and use wool for hair and petals for a dress. (if you had all those materials already)
    You could cut white card in the shape of an angel or another festive thing then decorate it and put a hole through the top and hang it on your Christmas tree. Or just use ribbon to drape around your bookcases or just anywhere using blue tack if it wont stay on its own.

  5. caroline says:

    I found this great blog recently – this entry shows how to make stars from sticks. I am planning on making a whole bunch of them hung at different heights in my front window. I guess this isn’t really waste unless you have been pruning:

    http://www.funinthemaking.net/2008/12/25/make-your-own-stick-star-ornaments/

    I don’t see why you couldn’t make them from other rubbish that was stick shaped (lolly pop sticks, rigid packing tape, cardboard etc)

  6. peggy says:

    Does anyone remember a candle holder centerpiece from the 1960′s using the metal grid from a furnace filter (my mother made one and
    I’d love to try this)? She made a circle of the grid about 10 inches in diameter, and maybe a foot tall, spray painted it and the styrofoam circle it rested on, gold, hung small red bulbs from each grid window and put a large red candle in the middle. I remember it being so pretty as the candle light fell on the bulbs.

  7. Esther says:

    I’ve used souvenirs from our trips and treasured trinkets for years. You know, those that are too fussy to clean every day, but you want to proudly display because they have sentimental value:
    The fallen birds nest my son found on a hiking trip, a little Eiffel Tower a friend brought me from her trip to Paris, a coconut carving from Key West, a copy of an antique light bulb from Edison’s summer home, the pretty seashells my daughters brought from the beach and a long, long etcetera. Most hang as is, others get a little ribbon bow with glitter to Xmas it up a little.
    I also filled my kid’s baby socks with cotton balls (2 each) and stitched them closed to hang them as miniature Xmas stockings on the tree.
    My Christmas tree gets new things every year, and tells our wonderful family history. Makes for a great conversation starter.
    Now that my kids are grown, it brings memories to all of us on Xmas eve.

  8. Eileen Bradley says:

    Does anyone know how to make Christmas Tree Fairies from Chicken or Turkey wishbones. I have seen them made but don’t know how to make them. Thank you

  9. Anonymous says:

    recycled christmas decors

  10. Sophie says:

    well I made a Christmas cracker to put on your Christmas tree, I got a loo roll then painted it blue then stuffed lots of see trough polyethylene in both ends and wrapped polyethylene around the tube.



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