Plastic-Free Holiday Crafts

Many of my favourite holiday memories throughout the year revolve around getting crafty and creative. From going to holiday craft fairs to creating sugary art pieces with icing and gingerbread to getting glue and glitter* everywhere. ‘Tis the season everyone’s inner-artist comes out to play!

Making your own decorations, creating a special homemade gift or baking your own sweet treats is not only fun, it is also a fantastic option to reduce waste and for the most part, save money. And the cherry on top… getting crafty-with-it is also a great way to spend quality time with your loved ones, no matter what age.

At our recent holiday party, guests had the opportunity to try out a few holiday crafts. Each craft found a creative way to upcycle items that normally would’ve found their way to the bin. By using what we had instead of running straight to the overpriced craft store, these crafts were not only inexpensive for materials but reduced a lot of waste.

Below are the crafts we featured at our party,  plus a list of other simple favourites to try!
Bonus Tip: get onto Pinterest and check out the plethora of cool DIY upcycled crafts you can get into!


You will need: Scissors, ribbon or string, bottle caps, glue gun & glue, black and orange marker
Optional: some tiny buttons (you know the ones that came with that dress shirt you nobcsnowman longer have!)

  1. Take 3 bottle caps (or buttons) and a piece of ribbon or string about 6-8″ long.
  2. Paint the caps white.
  3. Once the paint dries, draw on a small orange triangle for the nose and the coal face and buttons using markers.
  4. Now flip the little guys over and start putting them together.  Glueing the back of the cap (which is really the top of the bottle cap) to the lace. Making a loop with your lace at the top as you glue it all together.
  5. Once the glue dries, you can take another small piece of lace to make your snowman a scarf, secure it with a tiny button.

And there you have it! A new ornament for the tree or a little gift for a friend. You can also use any type of bottle cap, whatever is available to you.

Popcorn Garland

You will need: air-popped popcorn (do not add butter!), cotton thread, a needle, scissors
Optional: cranberries, oven dried orange slices

Charlene Threading popcorn

  1. Take a length of thread that’s a little longer than the length you want the garland. Push the needle and thread through the first piece of popcorn and then wrap it around and tie a loose, but secure, double knot.
  2. You can continue to thread through your pieces of popcorn. Be adventurous and try adding cranberries or dried orange slices!
  3. Once you’ve reached the last piece of popcorn, thread it through and then double knot as you did with the first.

Such an inexpensive way to decorate the tree and oh-so trendy. Unfortunately, the popcorn may be a bit too fragile to store and use again next year so when it comes to disposing of the garland, the popcorn is totally compostable. Ideally, you would use 100% cotton, hemp or silk thread so you can throw the whole thing in the green bin.

Newspaper Origami Star

You will need: newspaper or any piece of scrap paper, string or thread, scissors

  1. Make sure you paper is perfect square by folding the top right corner of the paper  origamistartowards the lower left side forming a right-angled
  2. triangle. Make sure all the corners touch each other exactly. There will be a small rectangular section left at the bottom. Cut this section off using paper scissors.
  3. Download these step-by-step instructions to follow.
  4. Follow the instructions to create your pentagon from a square.
  5. Once you have the pentagon, follow the steps to create  your star.

Newspaper Gift Bag

You will need: newspaper ot any scrap paper, scissors, glue or paper (masking) tape

  1. Cut your paper into a rectangular shape (see instructions above for origami star)
  2. Decorate and colour your paper as you would like.
  3. Follow these folding instructions. (Download PDF here)
  4. Use glue stick or masking tape to stick it all together


Here are a few more crafts to decorate your home in a low-waste, upcycling kind of way!  (Simply search on Pinterest for instructions)

  • Sock Snowman – use a lone white sock to turn it into a cute little snowman
  • Dried fruit Ornaments – dehydrate citrus fruits in the oven to hang on your tree
  • Clove Scented Oranges – fill the room with chemical-free holiday scents with cloves and oranges (you can still eat the orange!)
  • Gingerbread Cookie Tree Ornaments – when making a batch of gingerbread cookies, put holes in the top before baking, decorate as desired, hang on the tree!

SO what are you waiting for! Time to get your Craft ON!

~ Briana

* note on glitter: while super pretty and loads of fun, this is plastic. tiny, itty-bitty pieces of plastic. I now know better and avoid the glitter. If you must have it, search for biodegradable glitter made with plant-based cellulose now on the market! I haven’t tried it, but it would be safer for our environment and your health if you glitter your face!

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I'm a passionate environmentalist at heart. Striving to create a difference in my community and in my home to make the world just a little bit better.