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Ultimate recycled table decorations

Kids of all ages can create a fun, conversation-starting winter wonderland scene with these festive reindeer made from toilet paper rolls and twigs. Inspired by several crafting websites. Search for “toilet paper roll reindeer” for more ideas.

Recycled ornament ideas

Simply wrap repurposed red and green string or ribbons around shower rings and add a string to hang.

Transform an old beat-up sweater into ornaments! A Subtle Revelry external link inspired our design. All you need is a sweater and some string/ribbon. Kids will love to have their own handmade ornament on the tree.

Old CDs can be repurposed into disco ball-esque ornaments. Crème de la Craft external link has a step-by-step tutorial and video on how to make your own.

Perhaps you've swapped out your lighting for energy efficient bulbs – so what to do with those incandescent bulbs? Make them into these cute penguin ornaments of course! We used craft paints, old gloves and ribbon.

photo courtesy of Resweater Blog

Have a bunch of paint swatches in a drawer? Try making these snowman ornaments that also double as gift tags. Or try this idea from the resweater blog external link for mini wreath ornaments made from worn out sweaters.

Holiday wreaths

close up image of hands making a wreath out of fall leaves

For Thanksgiving, make a colorful autumn wreath, using natural materials that you gather.

Inspired by Painted Hive external link , we created this Starburst Twig Wreath with twigs, cardboard, twine and ribbon. Simply cut the cardboard into a small disk and wrap it in twine, then hot-glue twigs around the disk until it is to your liking. Secure the ribbon around the disk to hang. If you’re feeling extra creative, add a few pine cones as a centerpiece!

Inspired by blog posts online, we created a holiday wreath from cinnamon sticks, cardboard and ribbon. Cut a piece of cardboard into a circle, the desired size of your wreath, and cut out the center. Using a glue gun, glue cinnamon sticks to the wreath until you’ve covered the entire circle. Add some holiday ribbon to finish it off and hang it up to enjoy during the holiday season.

Inspired by Good Housekeeping magazine online, we created this holiday wreath from old wine corks, floral wire and jingle bells. Take about 22 corks and 22 red bells, and drill a small hole 1/4 of an inch from the top of each cork and another 1/4 of an inch from the bottom. Using long, green floral wire, push the wire though all the bottom holes of the corks. Leave enough wire at both ends when finished for tying closed later. Cut another long piece of floral wire to string the tops of the corks together, alternating with the bells. Tie ends of wire at the top and bottom, twisting to close and make a wreath shape. Add a reusable bow or holly to finish it off.

Hanukkah decorations

Hanukkah decorations can be made from recycled materials too. We made these from popsicle sticks, markers, glitter and glue. Great idea for a project kids can do on their own.

For Hanukkah, menorahs can be made from practically anything. Buy distinctive recycled menorahs online or make your own. The Sammamish-based Celebrate Green campaign described menorahs created from old flower pots, used water bottles and even potatoes.

Looking for a flameless option for Hanukkah this year? We bet you didn’t think of toilet paper rolls as the perfect resource to create a beautiful DIY menorah! Cut out candle shapes from construction paper scraps to add a pop of color. Follow the simple directions at Creative Jewish Mom external link for this fun holiday craft.

Tree time

Christmas trees are enjoying a boom, with more folks staying at home this Covid holiday season.

The sustainability of your Christmas tree depends on how you acquire it and use it, and its entire life cycle.

"Artificial" Christmas trees, usually made of plastic or metal or a combination, can be relatively sustainable if they are reused for a number of years, and don't contain potentially-toxic plastics.

"Real" (non-artificial) trees are usually considered to be the "greenest" kinds of Christmas trees, especially if they are grown sustainably.

You can find pre-cut or "U-cut" Christmas trees at several area farms external link . Try to contact them first to check Covid restrictions. Many Christmas tree farms now use minimal pesticides and employ other green growing practices. Or you can buy a permit online external link and cut your own tree on national forest land external link Download PDF .

If you buy your tree at a lot, try to find one that offers trees grown in the Northwest. Some tree lots benefit local organizations. Trees may sell out early this year!

Also consider a "living tree." Potted Christmas trees, available at many nurseries, are usually smaller than cut trees. They should only be kept in the house for about a week, so they don't start to sprout new growth. You can keep the tree outside, haul it in to enjoy it at Christmastime for several years, and then eventually plant it in the yard or give it to someone to plant.

Recycled t-shirt garland

photos courtesy of {Never}homemaker Blog
photos courtesy of {Never}homemaker Blog

What to do with all those old t-shirts that are too threadbare to donate? Turn them into a garland for your Christmas tree. See the Never Homemaker external link blog for instructions. Cranberries, popcorn, fruits and nuts also make fun decorations. After the holidays you can eat them, compost them or give them to the birds.

Light up with LEDs

Energy-efficient LED (light-emitting diode) or solar-powered lights add a sleek look to your holiday decorations, and may save you $30 or more on your winter electric bill. Most area retailers now carry LED holiday lights, and some may offer discounts on Energy Star-rated LEDs. When you buy new LED lights, ask retailers if they will recycle your old holiday lights, or look for other holiday-light-recycling collection programs.

Related Information

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King County Solid Waste Division mission: Waste Prevention, Resource Recovery, Waste Disposal