Here are three easy, green, kid-friendly Christmas crafts that I've made with my daughter over the years. All three utilize repurposed / recycled / upcycled materials.
#1: Christmas Trees Made from Painted Paper Party Hats
Do you enjoy wearing paper party hats? Of course you don't! Nobody does! Their elastic strings are always too tight, and they bear an unfortunate resemblance to dunce caps. Since they aren't any fun to wear, why not transform them into some darling decorated Christmas trees?
I made these sweet Christmas trees with my daughter when she was a toddler. We started with paper party hats left over from a birthday party. First, we punched holes along the bottom edges so we'd have the option of putting a battery powered tea light candle inside. Next, we painted them with green acrylic craft paint. This step is easier if you are able to open the hats and lay them flat on a protected surface. After the paint was dry, we used white glue, glitter, beads, and pom poms to decorate them. These trees were so simple to make, but when we pull them out every year, they bring back the fun memory.
2. Recycled Tissue Paper Tree Ornament
Several years ago, I had a group of kids coming over to our house for a playdate and no time to run to the store for craft materials. After unsuccessfully combing Pinterest for a simple DIY ornament project using materials that I had on hand, I came up with this idea.
Start by cutting the trees (essentially, triangles with a square trunk attached) out of cereal boxes or similar chipboard boxes. Punch a hole near the top of each tree. Have each child tear and wad up small pieces of festive colored tissue paper for his or her tree (this is the best part). Apply white glue to the printed side of a chipboard tree a little at a time and arrange tissue wads on the glue. You can glue the tissue wads in rows or "free-form"--there are no rules here! Gluing the tissue to the printed side of the chipboard leaves the back side plain so that you can write the child's name and the date on it. (Optional: once dry, add sparkles with glitter or glitter glue.) Finally, glue a small brown square of chipboard over the trunk and add a ribbon or string at the top for hanging.
Here's a great way to upcycle burned out light bulbs from your night lights, candelabras, and Christmas lights. Use a paintbrush to "paint" glue on the glass portion of the bulb and then sprinkle or roll glitter over the glue.
Once dry, these glamorous, upcycled bulbs are fun to display with greenery in a small dish, tuck into a shadow box, combine with ornaments and glass balls as vase filler, or arrange with vintage ornaments for a centerpiece.
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