Recycle! DIY Christmas decor – Part I

I was chewing on thoughts for year end decor and was browsing beautiful blogs (and I seem to be doing a LOT of that these days!). I’ve also been thinking reuse, recycle, and upcycle for ta while now and this led me to blogs that talk about green shopping and of course – recycling. Recycling then led to DIY. DIY is a huge part of the recycling process, ‘coz of course, things don’t magically transform into other things, except in Harry Potter books. Lesser mortal have to rely on their hands.

It’s amazing how many things we throw out in the garbage EVERY day, that can be reused. And I don’t just mean reused in a mundane, ugly looking sort of way – but in BEAUtiful ways! And three pieces I read in the last week brought this home to me. Maya’s 2009 countdown calendar made out of toilet paper cardboard tubes, The Conscious Shopper blog (which has sadly ceased now) and the tin transformed into a beautiful vase shared by Gagan. So I ended up with two things I want to carry into 2011.

1. Don’t buy anything decorative just because. Look in your own home first to see if you can create one that fits your need.
2. Start giving a second and a third look to things you are about to throw away. Keep them even if you think they may be remotely useful.
3. Make that three things. LABEL the stuff and make a list of where you store this stuff. Stuff has ways of lying dormant in some back closet for the longest while, while you hunt up high street for something very similar.

Enough preaching already! What all of this has come down to for me is a bunch of Christmas decor I ended up making entirely from stuff at home, not a thing purchased new. And I wanted to share these with you :). And I’m linking this up to the fab Christmas party at The Keybunch and the fectival blog party at Liven Things Up!

Christmas ornaments

Christmas ornaments with recycled materials

Here’s what I’ve used to make the silk and paper Christmas ornaments.


Old silk garmets, Indian bells (gejje)


Gift wrap paper, ribbons, cellophane paper, greeting cards

  • Cardboard cartons from old purchases
  • Ribbons from kiddo’s craft supplies or old medals (keep the medals and reuse the ribbons.
  • Ribbons or string (that comes with bouquets, for example)
  • Old gift wrap or clear plastic with motifs that come wrapped around bouquets (you don’t need large sheets, smaller pieces work just fine)
  • Colorful plastic covers from food packaging or shopping bags
  • Cellophane or other decorative paper from wrappings of stuff
  • Scotch tape and glue, some string
  • Sequins or other colorful beads, if you have any

Making the silk cloth ornaments:

You can use any colorful fabric that you have. I had a few wrap around skirts that were anyway made from old silk sarees that I had bought in Kerala a few years ago. The skirts have faded in parts and I just didn’t have the heart to throw them away. So here they are in their shimmering slendour again!

Cut cardboard into shapes – circles, diamonds, diyas (diyas are a very Indian touch :). These pics show a diamond and a circle.


Cut the fabric 1/2 a centimetre larger than the size of the diamond. Lay the diamond over the fabric.

Apply glue (I used a glue stick) around the edges of the cardboard and fold the cloth over the edges to stick.

At the corners the fabric will have a fold. Apply some glue on the fold and press down firmly to stick it to the cardboard.

diamond2To embellish the ornament with a gejje (bell), I’ve stitched the bell on to one corner of the cardboard at this time.

Cut another piece of fabric – this time exactly the same size of the cardboard piece – and glue it on to the other side.

Cut a piece of ribbon and stick it to one of the corners of the diamond with a strong adhesive or scotch tape. I’ve also stuck a piece of gold paper in one corner to hide some glue :). The diamond ornament is ready!


Making the circlular ornament:

circle1I pretty much followed the same procedure for this one, except I stitched on the bell before gluing on the fabric. Use a regular needle and thread. This should work fine if your cardboard isn’t too thick.

I used a silk fabric in different shades of blue for this one. Lovely! Cut a piece of the fabric a little larger than the cardboard and glue it on by folding the edges over.

circle2Cut a piece of ribbon to whatever length you need and scotch tape it or glue it to the back. You could glue the ribbon on underneath the fabric, so it looks a lot neater.

That’s it! It’s done!

circle_completeMaking the paper Christmas ornaments:

What I love about making these is that just about any kind of paper will do. I’ve used colourful plastic food packaging covers, shopping bags, old gift wrap. You can use colourful pages from magazines, pages from your kiddos’ used drawing books or old story books – you get the idea!

paper1Cut the paper into approximately 2 1/2 inches wide and any length you need, depending on how many of the decorations you’re making. Cut up this length into strips 1 cm wide.

You basically need strips of paper 2 1/2 inches long and 1 cm wide. The more strips you have, the fuller the decorations will look.

paper2Fold each strip of paper into half along the length.

Gather up the strips one by one and place them to form a circular pattern, fanning out on all sides, holding tight with your fingers.

paper3Place your ribbon to hang it up in the middle of the strips of paper.

Staple them all together in the center. Use a mini stapler for this.

Fluff the strips in all directions to give you a lovely ball of colour!

paper ornamentHere are some more pics :). My post may be a bit awry as am posting one with so many pics for the first time, please excuse! The ornaments hang temporarily in my son’s room, on his hanger rack…until Christmas! Hope you’ll liked it. And I’ll be posting some more DIY, soon!


12 thoughts on “Recycle! DIY Christmas decor – Part I

  1. Yo Anu…way to go!!! They are looking lovely & pretty! Would love to see these fellas hangin on the christmas tree! You are putting up one, aren’t you?

  2. These are really beautiful, Anu! Such creativity…you should sell them online at etsy!:)

    Thanks for linking in, and I am so delighted to note that there will be a Part 2:)


  3. This is amazing… Lovely pics… and thanks for the step by step instructions.. I have never made recycled xmas ornaments before… 😉 😉 … !! Luv the colorful hanger too…. Thanks for linking to the blog party… Hope to see you participating again soon…

  4. Love the silk ornaments—I’m all for upcycling old stuff and i never feel like throwing out old silk garments either!! Love the pretty colorful ornaments, and the part I like the best–they’re totally personal and no one will have one like it! Way to go Anu!Post bigger pictures in the next DIY post!

    PS: I’ve also covered several tins of ovaltine with cloth to create pencil holders and improvise cookie tins at home. Thanks for the sweet mention! 😀

  5. It is so funny but Akriti and I started making ornaments a cpl of weeks ago. She wants to give them out as favors to her friends, teachers etc for Christmas. Very excited that her teacher will hang her ornament on the tree at home. We will hopefully have the tree fully lit and up tonite.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s