Although for many this time of year is one of the most exciting, it’s also one of the most wasteful. It’s lovely to see the beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree, and the sparkling decorations hung everywhere, but so much of it eventually ends up in the bin. Unfortunately not all wrapping paper can be recycled (you can read more about this on recyclenow.com, which also has a handy search tool to find your nearest local recycling centre!) and plastic can take hundreds of years to biodegrade. Recycle what you can, but if you fancy getting a bit creative, today I’m going to give you some ideas on how to give your wrapping paper and broken decorations a second life.
Beaded Christmas jumpers, beaded tree decorations…we’ve all had that moment where somehow they catch on something and suddenly beads are scattering in all directions! Instead of chucking them in the bin, save them and make yourself a brand new decoration! These make wonderful gifts, especially as each is guaranteed to be unique! It’s worth saving little metal charms etc that sometimes come on posh packaging as these can be used too!
Upcycled hanging decorations
You will need:
♥ Jewellery-making pliers/wire cutters (an investment if you’re thinking of making jewellery/decorations in the future. You can get these from most craft shops and online)
♥ Collection of beads/charms
♥ Moderate thickness wire (you can double up beading wire but I like to use florists wire)
♥ Thin ribbon
Start by cutting a length of wire. Mine is around 19cm (you’ll be cutting the excess off later, it’s better to have too much than too little as this can be amended)
It’s good to work out a ‘pattern’ for your beads, for example ‘big bead, small bead, medium bead, big bead, small bead, medium bead… etc. Bend your wire a little so the beads don’t fall off the end.
Keep going until you reach the desired size and can make a small circle.
Slide the right-hand bit of wire through a few of the beads on the left and pull lightly so you have a complete circle.
Now you need to secure things. Tightly twist the bit of wire on the left around the straight wire that the beads are threaded on a few times, then snip off the excess wire. Slide the beads over to disguise it.
Do the same with the other side until you have a complete circle.
Now’s the time to add your charm. If you can see a bit of wire, this is your chance to disguise it. Fold your ribbon in half and slip it through the loop on your charm.
Put your ribbon through the circle, with the folded half facing you and slip the untied side through the loop of ribbon, like below.
You need to secure your charm into place, so gently pull the ends of ribbon through the loop until it’s quite tight and the charm is hanging down.
Now you can tie the ends of your ribbon so you can hang your decoration.
This ‘pattern’ is really versatile and can be adapted to use up what you have. You can use broken earrings, broken necklaces, and you don’t even have to limit it to just Christmas! You can use any colour beads you have to create summery, girly, gothic, any style of decoration to suit your taste and hang them in your car and around your home.
Wrapping Paper Inspiration
There are so many ways you can reuse wrapping paper too! Here are just a handful of ideas:
♦ Wrap boring notebooks with it to transform into interesting stationery
♦ Shred it and reuse as colourful gift shred
♦ If your new year’s resolution is to learn a new craft why now try origami? The colourful papers make beautiful decorations!
And finally, as someone who loves making unique clothes out of upcycled/recycled materials, next month I’ll be showing you how to make your very own paper beads! They’re fun to make and you can get really creative incorporating other materials.
Merry Christmas everyone and as we say in Wales: Nadolig Llawen!