The holidays are almost upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about making some unique gift toppers or tree ornaments. It’s always nice to decorate with mementos you’ve collected over the years, but it’s also fun to create some new ones that you can add to your collection. In an effort to be frugal and crafty, these ideas use everyday items you probably already have lying around your house. Why go buy a cart-load of materials when you can recycle things that you’d otherwise just throw away? Check out these recycled holiday decorations that will instantly make your season merry and bright!
Bottle Cap Snowmen
- 3 recycled bottle caps per snowman
- White acrylic paint & paintbrush
- Short piece of ribbon, felt, or yarn for each snowman (scarf)
- Longer piece of ribbon for each snowman (hanger)
- 1 button or pompom for each snowman
- Permanent black AND orange marker
- Hot glue gun
- Paint the inside of each bottle cap with the white acrylic paint. You’ll probably need a few coats to get them fully covered.
- Once they’re completely dry, you can paint on the snowman’s face and buttons. The tip of the paintbrush handle works well for making tiny round circles.
- Now you’re going to glue the three bottle caps vertically in the shape of a snowman onto your longer piece of ribbon. Gluing them to the ribbon and to each other will help keep them in place. Leave enough excess ribbon at the top of the snowman so that you can fold it over and glue it to create a hanger.
- Add some flair by making a scarf out of ribbon, felt, or yarn and gluing it between the head and belly of the snowman. Loosely tie it so it overlaps in the front. Add a button or pompom to the scarf if desired.
Keyboard Greeting Ornaments
Have an old computer keyboard laying around? Rip off the letters and create seasonal greetings you can hang on your tree. Here’s how:
- Letters from an old keyboard (thrift stores have old keyboards if needed)
- Thick and sturdy green or red stock paper
- Green or red ribbon
- Hot glue gun
- Disassemble the keyboard so that you can use each letter individually.
- Create holiday words with the letters, such as JOY or NOEL.
- Using a hot glue gun, mount each word vertically onto a strip of the stock paper.
- Cut a piece of ribbon for each word and glue it above the word so you can hang it from your tree.
This is the perfect holiday craft for you wine lovers out there! Save those corks and make these delightful little reindeer that’ll look so cute scattered around your house or given as little gift toppers.
- Wine corks (two per reindeer)
- Small, thin twigs (8 per reindeer)
- Tiny red pompom
- Small bell
- Hot glue gun
- Choose four twigs that will make for good legs and poke them into one of the corks (the body) so that the cork stands horizontal to your work surface.
- Grab one of the thicker twigs and stick it down into the same cork for its neck.
- Grab the other cork (the head) and slide it down onto the neck so that most of the cork is in front of the neck.
- Poke two twigs into the head for antlers.
- Poke the final twig into the rear of the body cork for its tail.
- Use a small dab of hot glue to attach a red pompom at the very tip of the head cork for its red nose.
- Attach the bell to its neck with the string.
**To ensure that the twigs will stay in their holes, put a swipe of hot glue on the end of each twig and place back in the holes you made for them.
Yogurt Bottle Snowmen
If your kids like those drinkable yogurt smoothies that come in an hourglass-shaped bottle, then this craft is for you! Save them and make cute little snowmen ornaments from them in these easy steps:
- Empty yogurt smoothie containers with caps (washed out and outer wrapper removed)
- Small caps from water bottles (smaller than yogurt caps)
- Thin strips of felt with fringy ends cut to look like scarves
- Googly eyes
- Small cone shape made of play dough or something similar (for nose)
- Permanent black marker or black paint/brush
- Hot glue gun
- Color or paint both bottle caps black. Glue the smaller one on top of the larger one to resemble a black top hat. Screw them onto the yogurt bottle.
- Glue on the googly eyes.
- Underneath the googly eyes glue on the nose.
- Where the bottle curves in around the middle, wrap the scarf around it with the fringes in the front and glue it on securely.
Puzzle Piece Ornaments
Use an old puzzle to make cute ornaments in the shapes of wreaths, trees, reindeer, or stockings. Here are the details:
- Puzzle pieces (preferably all the same size)
- Hot glue gun
- Small ribbon pieces (for hangers)
- Decide what shape you want to make from your puzzle pieces. This will determine the color(s) of paint you’ll use.
- Once you have chosen a shape, lay your puzzle pieces so that your shape starts to “take shape.”
- Glue your shape together with hot glue.
- Once your ornament is fully glued, get your paint out and decorate it. Sprinkle glitter on it if desired.
- Make a bow out of your ribbon and glue it to the top of the ornament so it can be hung.
Denim Tree Ornaments
Create cute Christmas trees from your old jeans, or ones you purchase at a thrift store. A little sewing is involved, but nothing you can’t handle. Let’s get started:
- Old jeans
- Small/medium red and green buttons
- Ribbon (holiday color or pattern)
- Batting (for stuffing)
- Thread (red or denim colored)
- Scalloped or zigzag scissors
- Sewing machine
- Cut triangles out of your jeans. You’ll need a front and back for each tree, so make sure each pair of triangles is the same size.
- Cut pieces of batting to fit each pair of triangles.
- On the front of each tree (one triangle piece), sew three buttons down the middle for decoration.
- Cut a small piece of ribbon for the hanger and a smaller piece for the tree trunk.
- Sandwich the batting between two matching triangle pieces and sew along the perimeter of the triangle shapes. Also sew on the hanger and trunk ribbon pieces.
**If you’re not good with a sewing machine, this project could also be assembled using a hot glue gun.
Crayon Glass Ornaments
Possibly one of the easiest ornaments to make, it’s also one of the prettiest! It takes just a few materials and a couple minutes to create colorful bulbs that you’ll be proud to give as gifts or display on your own family tree. Here’s how:
- Old crayons in a rainbow of colors (paper removed)
- Clean glass bulb
- Potato peeler
- Hair dryer
- Wax paper
- Using your potato peeler, peel the crayons into small flakes onto a piece of wax paper.
- Once you have a nice pile of crayon shavings, roll up the wax paper into a tube shape and guide them into the glass ornament. Secure the top onto the ornament. Experiment with the amount of shavings you want in each bulb.
- Turn your hair dryer on to a HOT setting and wave it around the bulb so that the crayon shavings melt onto the inside wall of the bulb. Shake the bulb gently as you’re melting the crayons inside to obtain a splattered look.
Do you have a favorite ornament you like to make from recycled materials? If so, share the idea with us in the comments below. Or, even better, snap some pictures of it and share them on our Facebook or Instagram pages for instant inspiration!