Recycled Christmas Crafts

Updated on September 21, 2017
lisavollrath profile image

Lisa Vollrath is a prolific mixed-media artist whose work includes altered books, art journals, collage, gluebooks, and paper crafts.

Clearly Altered CDs from Go Make Something.
Clearly Altered CDs from Go Make Something. | Source

Christmas is a time of year when dollars are particularly tight. To save on some of your holiday decorating, and even a few of your gifts, consider recycling materials, and making a items yourself.

Whether you're looking for ways to stretch your holiday dollars, or just want to bring a more handmade feeling to a very commercial season. These crafty ideas will give you a head start. They all use recycled materials, so you'll be doing something good for the planet as well as your wallet as you work through your holiday to-do list.

A photo magnet made from an old CD.
A photo magnet made from an old CD. | Source

CD Ideas

Old CDs provide an excellent blank surface to decorate. I made the photo magnet shown here by simply gluing a print out of a photo, and some strips of paper, to an old CD. One or two magnet strips, applied to the back, will make it stick to any metal surface. Stamp on some text, or glue on some buttons or ribbons, and you'll have a sweet little decoration for your file cabinet or fridge!

You can turn your old CDs into all sorts of pretty things with these crafty lessons:

Light Bulb Crafts

Wondering what to do with all those light bulbs you've replaced? Turn them into holiday ornaments! Light bulbs can easily be painted, or coated with glue and rolled in glitter.

This quick video from the Live Well Network shows how to recycle your burnt out Christmas lights into glittery decorations. The same technique can be used on just about any item you want to glitter:

Here are more ideas for recycling light bulbs into holiday ornaments and decorations:


Pine Cone Crafts

Every neighborhood has a pine tree that's dropping its cones all over the street. Pick up the ones on the sidewalk and street, or knock on your neighbor's door, and ask if you can collect a few. Dry them near a heat vent for a day or two, and they'll be ready to use.

A few easy ways to use pine cones you've collected:

  • Spray them with spray paint.
  • Tip them with a little snow paint or gesso, and sprinkle them with glitter.
  • Attach a ribbon to the stem end with hot glue, and turn them into ornaments.
  • Fill a clear glass container with them, to use as a centerpiece.
  • Wire or hot glue them into inexpensive pine wreaths and garlands.

Here are a few more lessons on how to use pine cones:

Christmas Cards

All those pretty cards you get each year? How can you bear to throw them away! Save the Christmas cards from this year, and turn them into next year's holiday goodies.

These Christmas ornament cards were made by punching circles from old printed cards. Add a little silver paper cap, a wire loop, and a pretty ribbon bow. Complete instructions are posted at Go Make Something.

Glass Bottles and Jars

I can't stand to throw empty glass bottles into the recycle bin before I've considered them for use in craft projects. These how-to lessons will help you turn empty glass containers into pretty items for holiday decorating.

Frosted Winter Bottles
Frosted Winter Bottles | Source

Tins and Tin Cans

Metal tins, like Altoids tins, are great items to recycle for holiday items. These easy ideas will help you turn metal tins into holiday ornaments and decorations.

Beaded Altoids tin ornaments.
Beaded Altoids tin ornaments. | Source

Paper Rolls

You know those chipboard tubes you're left with after you use up the paper towels or bathroom tissue? You can make stuff from them!

Here's a quick video on how to make an easy ornament from a toilet paper roll:

More great ideas for recycling paper rolls:

© 2010 Lisa Vollrath

What do you think? Will you be recycling items into holiday goodies this year?

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      My wife and I really like your ideas. My wife particularly likes the ornaments made from toilet paper rolls. You are very creative. Thanks for sharing these wonderful ideas.

    • AshlyChristen profile image

      Ashly Christen 

      4 years ago from Illinois

      I may have to put some of these ideas into play this year! thanks for sharing! feel free to stop by for a recipe or just some light reading


    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i like the cd ideas, very unique and beautiful, voted up

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      5 years ago from New Zealand

      Beautiful. Looking forward to christmas and this article made me feel as though it is here already.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for the ideas. I love recycled crafts!

    • profile image

      rattie lm 

      6 years ago

      I think it's terrific. Anything that is recycled has to be good. Another wonderful lens for teachers. Thanks!

    • garyrh1 profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice. You can also put old CDs in the microwave for a couple seconds and they turn a really nice color. You can then make some nice ornaments with them.

    • stephenteacher profile image

      Stephen Carr 

      9 years ago from Corona, CA

      Great ideas! Next best thing since re-gifting!

    • Joy Neasley profile image

      Joy Neasley 

      9 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I like your pinecone craft...I live in an area that it is easy to get pine cones by just walking outside and down the road. I love getting a spray can of snow and giving them a dusting with it. Then just hang on the christmas tree.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Thanks for your cool ideas! We should all be doing our bit, whether it be recycling our debris, walking or using public transportation more regularly or trying to be more resourceful with the energy we consume.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Really nice ideas for recycled Bhristmas ornaments and gifts.

    • javr profile image


      9 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      It is the thought that counts, after all. I've seen a lot of wonderful art that was made totally from recycled items. Blessed!


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