December’s holiday celebrations mean families gathering together, sharing gifts and joyful spirits. Unfortunately, a fair amount of waste – food that goes uneaten, once-used and discarded wrapping paper – is produced by the average household amidst the joy of celebration. Counter these actions with sustainable behavior by adorning your Christmas tree with beautiful and festive recycled ornaments.
Gather clear plastic water bottles to turn into ornaments. Make sure they are clean and dry before proceeding.
Timeless, simple stars look excellent on any tree and spread even more cheer when made from recycled plastic. Use scissors or a sharp craft knife to remove the top and bottom of the bottle. With a scrapbook hole punch shaped like a star, punch many plastic star shapes out of the sides of the bottle. Larger, more varied stars can be achieved by cutting freehand as well. Punch a tiny hole in each star with a 1/16″ hole punch. String each star onto clear fishing wire, knotting the wire around each star’s hole to keep the stars in place. Wrap the clear star garland around your tree.
For whimsical, Bohemian style, create feathered ornaments from your bottles. Cut off the top and bottom, then divide the remaining cylinder into quarters by cutting lengthwise (so that you end up with four strips, not four circles). Cut tear drop shapes from each strip of plastic. Isolate one plastic cutout and feather the edges with a pair of scissors: cut from the edge toward the middle on a slant, making sure the slits on either side do not meet at the center. Repeat up and down both edges to achieve the look of a feather. Leave a small portion at the top of the feather without slits and punch a small hole in that section. Layer several differently-sized feathers and hang them from an ornament hook to display on your tree.
Plastic bottle icicles are far more environmentally friendly and often more realistic than the opaque offerings sold in stores. Remove the top and bottom from your plastic bottle, then cut the remaining cylinder vertically into thin strips. Taper each strip to be no wider than two centimeters at its thicker end and about half a centimeter at its thinner end. Punch a tiny hole in the thicker end. Hold the icicle by both ends over a lit candle. Position it so that the portion of the strip just beneath the hole is over the flame, and hold it there until the plastic softens. Rotate one side of the plastic 180 degrees to create a twist. Move the strip so that the portion just below the twist is now above the flame, then twist again in the same direction. Continue working down the strip, creating twists at generally regular intervals until you reach the end and your strip resembles an icicle. String the icicles by their upper holes onto fishing wire or ornament hooks.
“DIY Event this Friday in Portland,” Free People
“Icicle Ornaments from Plastic Bottles,” Cut out and Keep