10 Christmas Decorations You Can Make From Recycled Materials

Ian Buckley Updated 14-12-2018

Christmas is approaching fast, and as well as choosing gifts for your loved ones, it is time to think about decorating for the festive season. While it can be tempting to buy new decorations each year, these purchases can all add up.


Making your own decorations not only saves money and cuts out pointless waste, but is a great way to do something creative. Here are 10 ideas for DIY decorations to brighten up your home this Christmas.

1. Recycled Christmas Card Bunting

Recycled Christmas Card Bunting

Every year after Christmas, many houses are left with a huge wealth of Christmas cards. While they were perfect to display around the home during the season, most of these cards end up in the bin shortly after festivities end.

This project from Emily Peckenham on requires nothing more than some string and a stack of old cards, the more colorful the better! They are so quick and easy to make that it could be easy to go crazy and cover your whole house, your pets, and your children with recycled card bunting.

2. Mason Jar Snow Globes

The much underappreciated snow globe is a great decoration for your home. The inside of your snow globe can comprise of anything, old Christmas decorations, tree branches, holly from the garden—the possibilities are endless.


As well as looking great, these snow globes provide an interactive child distraction system which can be a much needed commodity during this season.

3. Origami Ornaments

Origami Light up Stars by Sebnibo

This fascinating design consists of only two pieces of paper, and ends up with an incredibly professional looking decoration you can hang from your tree. This design by Instructables user sebnibo is made out of paper, and there is nothing to stop you using any kind of paper you would otherwise throw out.

Just make sure it isn’t too flimsy or you may end up with some rather limp stars!


If you are feeling like adding a tech aspect to the build, why not follow sebnibo’s other Instructable to add lights to your origami stars?

4. Cork Wreath

DIY Cork Christmas Wreath

Depending on your poison, you may end up with a surplus of wine corks around Christmas or any other day of the year. Instead of chucking them out, collect them for a while and make something out of them!

This is a great thrifty project requiring only a pre-made ring and some glue. For an extra splash of color you can paint the corks first, or bribe younger family members to do it for you with cookies. The choice is yours.


Why not make it flashy by adding our Motion Activated LED Matrix Upgrade Your Christmas Wreath With a Motion Activated LED Matrix This DIY Christmas wreath uses an Arduino and LED matrix to produce an amazing light-up display that'll impress your friends and family. Read More project to the center of it?

5. Five in One Decorations

Since this is Christmas time, it seems fitting to give a gift. Number 5 on this list is five simple projects you can create yourself using basic materials. All of these builds are simple and suitable to do with children under supervision.

All of these projects use things you’ll likely have around the house except from the Styrofoam balls. That does of course depend on your house, owners of a dedicated Styrofoam ball room will be at an advantage here.

6. DIY BB-8 [No Longer Available]

So far we have covered some traditional Christmas decorations, but we all know that the festive season is truly about Star Wars! What better way to adorn your Endorian Soul Tree than with a DIY BB-8 droid?


The above video is taken from an Instructable by inspiretomake, and shows the surprisingly straightforward process required to put it all together. Comprising of just a few baubles and printed templates, the droid can be built in minutes.

7. Star Wars Snowflakes

Star Wars Snow Flakes

Snow Wars! Star Flakes? Lets just call them War Flarks. Either way, for the past few years designer Anthony Herrera has been offering templates for Star Wars themed snow flakes on his website. The templates are free to download as PDF files, and are utterly stunning.

There really is a wealth of designs to choose from, encompassing every major character and vehicle in the series, along with a few less obvious choices which will cause any true Star Wars fan to make involuntary noises.

8. 8-Bit Baubles

8-Bit tree Baubles

With our eighth idea we are going 8-bit! These baubles bring Christmas down to a level of pixelation we understand, and look fantastic too. They are the creation of Kat and Cam of the ourNERDhome blog, and the design they have come up with is as eye catching as it is colorful.

These retro gaming inspired decorations are made out of foam board and painted with simple hobby craft paint—though a similar effect can be achieved painting on scrap cardboard to make this truly a recycled DIY project.

The real kicker in this project is the optional use of a finishing coat on the baubles to make them shine.

9. Mario Star Christmas Tree Topper

Mario Christmas Tree Topper

Christmas is a great time to enjoy the important people in your life, like Mario. This DIY Mario Star is easy to make, and will give the top of your Christmas tree that feeling of invincibility it deserves!

This crafty project is the brain child of Instructables user scoochmaroo, and gives a great effect using simple materials. You could easily switch out the vinyl for scrap material, and you should find you have most of the bits you need to make this around the house.

It’s worth adding a 100-300 ohm resistor to the LED circuit if you want your LED to last more than a day or so!

10. Mario Coin Goodie Boxes

Sticking with the Mario theme, our final project is the ubiquitous Coin Box from the Mario series.

Templates for the box design can be found in the video description, and the finished boxes are really impressive. This project uses foam core, but if you do not have any to hand you can use card from packing boxes to the same effect.

The finished product in this video has a slot in the top for placing items in the boxes.

A great alternative would be to stash tasty edible goodies inside the boxes and hang them from the tree for your family and guests to break open and eat. Tiny Mario box pinatas? Yes please!

Getting Into the Spirit

These few ideas are a great start to giving you a DIY Christmas—with an emphasis on recycling where possible. This list is just a tiny glimpse of the hundreds of fantastic projects out there.

As well as planning the perfect Christmas 6 Websites to Make Christmas Planning Easy for Stress-Free Holidays Christmas can be a stressful time too. These websites will help plan a smooth Christmas, ensuring stress-free and happy holidays. Read More and buying great gifts for your tech-savvy family members 10 Gift Ideas for Android Users Looking for that perfect gift for the Android user in your life? Here are the best gifts for any Android user. Read More , give your home the creative treatment this Christmas. Plus, why not watch some Christmas movies on Netflix to keep up the festive spirit.

Related topics: Christmas, DIY Project Ideas, Recycling.

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  1. Glenn
    December 30, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    I am geting the error. "Buildtools requires at least 512m of memory to run, but has only detected 237m..

    How dow I continue. This is happening at the sudo java -jar buildtools.jar

  2. roze
    November 30, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    how if i want to make an auto and manual 2 way traffic light in arduino ( same circuit ) and one code , the code applied shoud contain auto and manual

  3. Anonymous
    December 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    These types of decorations and ornaments was limited only by one’s imagination, creativity and skill. Fantastc, brilliant and awesome, these are the type of things I'm going to make for Christmas ????????as a surprise for my family ???? Now I'm just wondering where I can get the materials...

  4. Kaylee
    December 1, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Excellent Ideas!

  5. Kaila
    December 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    All of these handmade christmas decoration ideas are wonderful. Very creative and at the same time easy and very fun to do. I'm glad that you share it here. Thanks :)

  6. dragonmouth
    December 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Way back in the last millenium in the Old Country, before "recycling" and "environment" were just words in the dictionary, part of my Christmas was making our own decorations and ornaments. We used straw, thread and tissue paper to make garlands; egg shells, tissue paper and colored paper to make Santas and other ornaments. The type of decorations and ornaments was limited only by one's imagination, creativity and skill.