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In the week after Christmas, New Zealanders send an extra 50,000 tonnes of waste to landfill. It is a time of excessive consumerism which adds salt to the wound of our exacerbating climate crisis. In an effort to fight waste this Christmas, here are a couple of crafty upcycling ideas that mean the season of giving doesn’t have to be the season of buying.
Bad news: normal printed wrapping paper with a shiny inside surface has foil or metallic pieces in it. This means it cannot be recycled. Throwing away or failing to re-use it can create a lot of waste. To be a little more sustainable this year try making your own wrapping paper using brown craft paper as a base. A fun activity for adults and children alike is printing your own designs with paints, pens, and glitter. Cut out shapes from halved raw potatoes and dip into paint for a eco-friendly stamp. Get groovy and gorgeous by marbling your paper with ink and water.
There are plenty of repurposing tricks. Ideas include using old sewing templates, maps, and discarded book pages. My grandfather used to wrap all of our Christmas presents in newspaper and it is now a family trick. If you have a little more time on your hands spare fabric can be embroidered with festive designs to be used as a softer gift wrap. If you are gentle with the unwrapping process (I know it can be terribly tricky to control one’s excitement) paper can be collected, folded, and stored to be used again next year.
No matter what the inside scene, there’s something enchanting about watching glitter float down on a miniature dream-world. Containing anything from imaginary friends to festive vignettes, snow globes make charming handmade gifts.
Here’s what you will need:
Figurines / handmade clay characters / anything goes Glitter Glycerine Water Jar with lid Waterproof superglue
1. Choose your figurines. You can make your own from oven-bake clay and paint. 2. Use waterproof superglue or epoxy to secure the scene to the underside of the jar lid. Make sure things are relatively centred or positioned to fit inside the jar. Allow to dry. 3. Fill the jar almost to the brim with water. Add a few drops of glycerine and as much glitter as you like. The glycerine helps keep the glitter suspended so it doesn’t fall too quickly. 4. Squeeze a thin line of waterproof glue onto the lid’s inner edge and tightly screw onto the jar. Allow to dry before turning over.
Ta da! Shake up your winter wonderland and watch the “snow” fall!