Looking for some ‘fuzzy’ festive makes that are also eco-friendly? Here are some of our favourites, worthy of a Blue Peter badge.
Craft activities are a great way to pass the time on a dreary December afternoon, especially if you have little ones under your feet. Homemade Christmas decorations using discarded odds and ends are also a sustainable alternative to the mountain of disposable festive paraphernalia that ends up in landfills come January. Here are some we made earlier...
Matchbox advent calendar
Kids always love an empty matchbox - it can be a temporary home for a beetle, a place to keep baby teeth or old coins. Collecting them and making them into an advent calendar is the perfect way to create a personalised gift for someone special, which can be kept and treasured.
You will need:
24 empty matchboxes, superglue, gold/silver pen, scissors, ruler, thin ribbon, discarded wrapping paper/tinsel to decorate.
Cut the ribbon into 24 pieces of roughly 4cm each. Taking each matchbox, push out the inner ‘drawer’. Make a loop with the ribbon and glue it underneath the edge of the drawer to create a handle. Leave to dry and slot back in, making sure the ribbon loop is facing outwards. Once you’ve done them all, write a number on the end of each box in gold and silver pen from 1 to 24.
Stack and glue the matchboxes together (with ribbon loop handles facing out) in three columns of eight. Feel free to mix up the numbers. Glue or tape some Christmas paper or tinsel around the sides and along the top to decorate. Fill each matchbox with miniature presents, depending on who will receive it. Fun gift ideas can be as simple as a small photo, a handmade friendship bracelet, a folded letter, or a miniature perfume
Stamped Recycled Gift Wrap
As well as wrapping gifts in pretty fabrics and silk scarves (which can double up as gifts themselves), this recycled gift wrap is just as eco-friendly and a lot more stylish than traditional gaudy gift wrap.
You will need:
A festive/decorative rubber stamp (plenty of companies sell these online); discarded plain paper from brown paper bags and parcels (or you can reuse paper shopping bags by turning the paper over, so the plain white side is facing up); tape or string. Optional ribbons or pompoms to decorate.
Cutting the paper to size so it fits your gift, adorn with stamp prints and leave to dry. Wrap it around your gift and secure with tape, or reusable string if you want to score extra eco points. Decorate with ribbons and pompoms to add extra festive flair.
Light bulb baubles
Instead of throwing out blown light bulbs, collecting them all year round and giving them a glittery makeover can be the perfect way to jazz up your Christmas tree. If you don’t have enough from your own home, see if friends, neighbours or local businesses have any they can donate. (Don’t worry about them being all the same shape and size - variety makes things more interesting!)
You will need:
An assortment of blown light bulbs; white craft glue; different colour glitter; superglue (optional); ribbon; a tea tray lined with newspaper (for your work surface, so that those bulbs don’t roll away and smash onto the floor!).
Cover the light bulb in craft glue and sprinkle glitter over one side, waiting for it to dry. Turn over and repeat on the other side, holding it to let it dry for a few minutes before carefully placing on the newspaper. Once it’s completely dry, tie a piece of ribbon around the screw end, securing with superglue if needs be. Hang from your tree and admire your handy work!
An adorable alternative to tinsel garlands, this pompom version is a great way to use up any old scraps of wool and spread some fuzzy feeling throughout your home.
You will need:
Leftover wool, sharp scissors, pompom maker or two identical circles of cardboard with a hole in the centre.
Placing the two cardboard circles on top of each other, begin to loop the wool around them by threading through the centre.
Make sure the cardboard is completely covered with plenty of layers, (the more wool you loop around, the fluffier your pompom will end up!) Once it’s finished, carefully cut around the circle’s perimeter, separating the wool, so you have two halves.
Slightly push the two cardboard discs apart and tie a new string of yarn at the centre, securing tightly to ensure your pompom doesn’t collapse. Gently lift or cut each disc away to release your pompom and fluff it out to create a round shape. (You might have to give it a ‘haircut’ with the scissors to ensure the bits of yarn are the same length.) Once you have created a few, take a long piece of yarn and tie each pompom at equal intervals to create your garland. Use it to decorate your tree, bannisters or any obliging piece of furniture.
Homemade Christmas Wreath
If you’re thinking of throwing out those bits of broken branch from your Christmas tree, think again. Arrange them into a wreath gives them a whole new lease of life and an extra decoration for your home.
You will need:
Circular wire base and florists’ wire (available from all good garden centres), Christmas tree offcuts, superglue, extra bits and pieces (pine cones, preserved orange slices, holly sprigs) to decorate.
Using the florist’s wire, create a loop to hang your wreath with, and attach to the wire base.
Arrange the tree offcuts around the wire base, following the curve of the circle so it looks neat. Pad everything out at a maximum of 3 inches so it’s not too heavy and tie everything on tightly with florist’s wire (if bits of branch stick out, just poke them back in and wire them down). Once you’ve created the basic foundation of your wreath, add the extra bits and pieces to decorate, sticking them on with superglue.