We all are getting into the holiday spirit…why not keep things eco-friendly while celebrating the holidays?

Don’t spend a fortune on home decorations and creations to make your home festive. We’ve compiled over 20 ideas for decorations that you can make from common household items and things you might normally get rid of or throw in the trash. We’ve included a picture of each and the respective sites where you can get more details on how to make each one. Happy Crafting and Happy Holidays!

Wine Corks

Instead of just throwing out those wine corks, use them for home decor. You can also have local wine shops or restaurants collect them for you. If you are still short or don’t have access to any of these methods, you can always buy wine corks for any of the projects below.

Wine Cork Candle Holder


This idea comes from Chelsea at Two Twenty One, who also calls her wine cork candle holder “I-drink-a-lot-of-wine candle decor.” 🙂 Using two different sizes of glass cylinders, you can create a unique candle holder. She notes that using a smaller cylinder (reducing the number of corks between the two containers) allows more light to get through. (Chelsea also has some great other items on her blog, like a peppermint monogram wreath and a felt Christmas tree…but back to corks, below.)

Cork Wreath


If you want to show off your wine cork creation outdoors, Living Savvy has the right decoration for you. Tiffany outlines how to create a great looking cork wreath. You can even add some festive decor for the holidays.  She added artificial leaves and pumpkins for November. For December, you could add holly, pinecones or pine boughs.

Wine Cork Christmas Trees


Like the glow, but not the candle by the corks? Use wine corks to make a Christmas tree. Team EcoEtsy outlines all the materials needed and how to make this yourself.

Small Wine Cork Christmas Trees


These wine cork Christmas trees are a little bit smaller than above and lack the lights.  However, they make a nice decoration for your real Christmas tree! Between the Lines has details on how to make these wine cork ornaments.

Wine Cork Reindeer


Here’s another great Christmas tree decoration, a reindeer! The Homeless Finch features this reindeer and many other wine cork decorations that are easy to make. You should definitely check them all out!

Wine Bottles

There’s lots to do with wine corks, but what about the bottles?  Well, we don’t want to throw those out either. You can always have them recycled at a local facility, or you can upcycle them yourself. This next section outlines some great ideas to transform your wine bottles. Once again, if you don’t have any of your own, you can always buy empty wine bottles, if you feel so inclined.

Wine Bottle Christmas Tree


This tree is one of the many DIY Christmas tree alternatives found at Shelterness. Check out all the other ideas if your looking for something other than the traditional Christmas tree. Think “ladder,” “tripod,” “plywood” – these trees are anything but traditional!

Wine Bottle Christmas Lights


We really liked this idea! Put lights in a wine bottle to put under the tree, on the counter or any other place you want to display them. You can see how Kris from Blog Your Wine made his wine bottle Christmas lights, or you can check out another method from 17 Apart Those methods show how to create a hole in the bottom or the side.  If you just want to remove the bottom of the bottle, here are instructions for upcycling wine bottles.

Epsom Salt & Styrofoam

Epsom salt is great for soaks, facials and other uses, but you can also use it for upcycling. These next few crafts use Epsom salt and/or Styrofoam as a way to “winter-fy” your decorations and whiten things up a bit.

Wine Bottle Christmas Centerpiece


This fits in the section above as well, because you use wine bottles. Using some old wine bottles, Epsom salt, craft bond glue and some silver pics and ornaments, you can have a beautiful centerpiece or Christmas display. The Cleverly Inspired blog outlines all the details as Tracie tells the story of three wine bottles…that just wanted to be pretty. Pretty, indeed.

Epsom Salt Snowman


Make this snowman with Epsom salt, styrofoam balls, glitter and some other things that are most likely laying around your house. Vivienne gives an in-depth tutorial on how to make this snowman and has some great tips over on Stephanie Lynn’s under the table and dreaming blog.

Snow Globes


Why buy snow globes when you can make your own? Laura from the Corner House blog shows exactly how to make your own snow globe out of jars and the snow is made from rubbing Styrofoam together…not a bad way to reduce that waste. Go ahead and use that next pickle, salsa, baby food or other jar to make some cool snow globes.

Books & Paper

With everything going digital, you may just find that you don’t need your hard copies of books anymore. We have some ideas on how to upcycle your books for the holidays. You’ll also find some tips on how to use other types of paper as well.

Paper Tree


Emily from 52 Mantels talks about seeing these trees for sale at Anthropologie for $45! That’s a good bit of money for something so small, right? She decided to make her own paper Christmas tree out of printed paper (your old books). That’s a book smart girl.

Paper Ball Ornaments


Let’s add to the ornament mix with some paper ball ornaments. These ornaments were made from an old encyclopedia, but you could use any other old book you have, or even newspaper. Head on over to Rhymes With Magic to learn how to make these unique paper Christmas ornaments.

More Paper Trees


This tree is a little bit different from the one shown above. Still using old book paper, you can create some unique paper trees to decorate your home for the holidays. The options to decorate these trees are endless. Samantha outlines how to make these trees and has more pictures of other trees she’s made on her blog, Crafty Texas Girls.

Juice/Milk Carton & Paper Houses


This Christmas ornament uses a juice or milk carton and some old paper from a newspaper or book, along with popsicle sticks. Instead of throwing these things in the trash, make a quick, simple craft out of them. You can get Bethany’s plans and tips on her Pitter & Glink blog. Teachers, this could be a fun class activity using leftover drink cartons from the lunchroom! Juice carton Christmas ornaments would be cute for the kids to take home or give as a gift.

Newspaper Gift Wrap

We all know the comics make some good wrapping paper, but what about the rest of the Sunday paper? Using the old black and white newspaper by itself might be a bit boring. But, add some embellishments like ribbons, flowers and twine…not so boring anymore. Plus, we just reused some newspaper. See the exact materials that Liz Marie uses and how to create your own newspaper gift wrap on her blog. Warning: there are 25 of the most beautiful gift wrap ideas in her post; not just newspaper and not just for Christmas…you will love them all!

Sheet Music Wreath


Some of us may have tons of old books, others may have tons of old sheet music. Use that old sheet music to make a custom holiday wreath. Heather doesn’t spell out exactly how she makes this wreath, but she does have some pictures of it and some other beautiful holiday crafts at The Lovely Cupboard.

Scarf Wreath

Talk about reusing an item! How about repurposing a warm scarf into a stylish wreath for your front door? Vanessa’s Tried and True blog has the instructions and the best part may be that she says it only takes ten minutes to make this scarf wreath!


Mod Podge Ornaments


This one is for the crafters and seamsters that have a bunch of fabric scraps scattered about.  No need to throw them away, you can make some shabby chic mod podge ornaments. Our crafty Texas girl Samantha is back and shows off some her creations and just how simple these unique ornaments are to make. You can even get some little hands to help you out with this one.

Ribbon Garland


When wrapping those gifts, don’t throw away your ribbon scraps, you can use them for a garland. The possibilities and uses are endless with this project, as you’ll see on the Whitney Caroline Designs blog. Learn how to make your own “scrappy” ribbon garland, now.

Ornament Wreath


For those of you changing out your decor and with some old ornaments you don’t think you’ll be using anymore…you can still use them to make an ornament wreath. Tiffany breaks the whole creation down on her blog, Living Savvy. Be patient; she admits that this project almost drove her crazy!

Scrabble Tile Ornament


If you just don’t get around to playing Scrabble anymore or if you have an extra set laying around, make a Scrabble tile ornament. With a few tiles, a drill and a few other supplies, you can have yourself a simple decoration. See everything you need and how to make it at The Atypical type a blog has complete instructions and a list of everything you need. (This makes you want to go to a garage sale and look for old board games, doesn’t it?!)

Snowman Ornament


Be careful with this snowman lightbulb ornament from Kelsey Bang. It uses a standard light bulb and of course, the downside is that lightbulbs can easily break. Just be as careful as you would with your other bulb ornaments. Kelsey gives a detailed tutorial, with photos and step-by-step directions.


Big Spring Environmental is a waste management and recycling company in Huntsville, AL.  We gathered the above ideas to help others create something from trash instead of just throwing it out.  These ideas are not our own, and the ideas and images came from the links above.