Christmas baubles go in and out of fashion. Do you have some plastic ones that you don’t use anymore? You can upcycle baubles to beautiful christmas wreaths. They look festive and fun on your door.
Start by finding or making a base. I have found mine in charity shops, but you can also make them from branches yourself.
Then get yourself a good glue gun. After going through a few cheap ones, I have discovered that quality does matter when it comes to glue guns. Go to a hardware store and get a good one and it will save you time and frustration.
Make sure before you start that you know how you’re going to hang the wreath up. A strong string or wire will do. Also make sure that you have the wreath on a flat surface and that the baubles don’t go below it so that it sits straight when hung up.
Wrapping Christmas presents doesn’t have to cost you much money or harm the environment. There are many ways of packing gifts in environmentally friendly ways. You can of course buy reusable gift wraps or boxes, but making it yourself is more fun! I think sheet music looks so festive. If your kid is at music school, ask if you can take paper from the recycling bin (or if you’re brave, just go to your nearest music college and ask). I also love using my kids homework and drawings (you don’t have to keep all of them). Anything you’re about to put into the paper recycling over the year, take a moment to think, can this be used as gift wrapping? If it can, then store it away. I recommend that every home has a gift wrapping box somewhere to store materials. Save all bows and string as well in there, they’re reusable. I like to buy simple string from the gardening shop to wrap my gifts. I glue sheets of paper together (you can make your own glue if you’d like to be extra environmentally friendly) and then I try to avoid using sticky tape, but just bind the parcel together with string. Any natural string works. It’s also great to use left-over knitting yarn! Decorating isn’t a must, but it’s fun. I like to use buttons, beads, broken jewellery, toys… whatever I have that I’ve thought pretty enough to store in my gift wrapping box. If you’re more minimalistic than me then you can buy little things and toys for next to nothing at charity shops.
The most important thing is to be creative! Think out of the box and remember, it doesn’t have to look perfect.
How to upcycle gift wrapping
Personally I still receive a lot of gifts in “single use” gift wrapping. But I keep it and reuse it. Just unwrap carefully and glue a few together if you need a big sheet.
Upcycling (or creative reuse) is not the same as recycling (downcycling). So what is upcycling? To upcycle is to transform waste material into products that are used. Recycling takes an item and brakes it down, extracting useful materials from it and creating something from scratch. By upcycling you prevent wasting useful materials by making use of existing ones, reducing consumption of new raw material. This results in reduction of energy used, air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Thereby making the world cleaner and healthier.
The process of upcycling takes a lot less energy and is much more environmentally friendly than downcycling. Upcycling in short, gives items more value, whereas recycling breaks things down and then makes new things of lesser value. A simple example is a newspaper. You can upcycle a newspaper into wrapping paper, thereby avoiding having to buy wrapping paper, reducing the demand for it which should lead to less being made. You could also recycle the paper which means shipping it to a recycling station and then making new paper or cardboard from it. Recycling takes energy, time and money whereas upcycling saves you all those things. Another example is secondhand clothing which can easily be reused, sometimes by fixing or altering slightly.
Upcycling or being thrifty
People in developing countries have effectively been upcycling for years, using old packaging and clothing in new ways, although more out of need than for the environment. But upcycling is now taking off in other countries, reflecting an increased interest in eco-friendly and locally sourced products.
The key to upcycling
The key thing is to see everything you don’t use, need or have to throw away as valuable material that can be put to use in some way. And if you don’t need it, try to find someone who does. There are plenty of local Facebook groups where you can advertise raw materials to give away. Let your imagination run wild and always stop to think before you throw anything away.