5 DIY Zero-waste Christmas Wreath Ideas
As activities go, you can’t get much more festive than creating your own Christmas wreath. Going down the DIY route also means you can make yours as zero waste as possible. So, take out your twine and get ready for some eco crafting.
Thu 14 Nov 2019
The most wonderful time of the year or… the most wasteful? Like Halloween, Christmas can be full of plastic. There's the disposable plastic cracker toys, the decorations, the gift wrapping and the larder full of food.
A Christmas wreath might seem like a great green alternative to tinsel or snow in a can. Isn’t it just a pretty doughnut of leaves? Unfortunately, many shop-bought wreaths are green in colour only. If the whole thing isn’t made of plastic, their twigs and branches will often be stuck into styrofoam, mounted on plastic, or covered in glitter.
They’re easy, they’re eco and they’re a great excuse for a day of boozy, cosy Christmas crafting. The cherries on top of this Christmas cake are that these creations will either last for years or will break down in the compost.
Without further ado, let’s deck the halls.
1. DIY Deconstructed Christmas Wreath
This one is pretty self explanatory, but it is a classic nonetheless.
You will need:
- 1 metal coat hanger
- Dried orange slices
Step 1: Wrap up warm and take a walk around your local green area. Collect as much foliage as you can find. Try to gather up a variety of different branches, greenery and berries if they’re available. Malleable pieces will be the easiest to bend and weave into your wreath.
Step 2: Take your wire coat hanger and shape it into a circle as well as you can. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bit ‘quirky’. Bend the hook down into a loop and twist it into a stem at the top for hanging.
Step 3: If you have some twine to hand, then wrap it around this stem for a bit of extra grip and a softer look.
Step 4: Take your most substantial pieces of foliage first. Wrap them around your metal circle and secure them with twine if necessary.
Just continue to build up your wreath in this way! It will become easier to poke in bits of foliage as it grows.
If you want to give it a little something extra then you could make some dried orange slices. These are great for all kinds of other Christmas decorations, and go really well with the green of a wreath.
Pierce a slice, thread it onto some twine or ribbon and tie it to your wreath as a finishing touch.
Cookie Cutter Wreath
This is a very versatile wreath. The beauty of it is that it can be dismantled when your taking down the decs, returned to its original form and used for making cookies again!
We got the inspiration for this craft from BBC Good Food, and have given it a few eco-friendly flourishes to make sure the it is fully sustainable. If you want a clearer idea of what the final product will look like, there are some great images here and here.
You will only need:
- A set of cookie cutters. Ideally it’s best to have at least 20 of different shapes and sizes
- Twine, string or ribbon.
Step 1: To assemble your wreath, first lay your cookie cutters out on the table. Arrange them into a circle and try to get the corners and curves as closely together and interlocked as possible.
Step 2: Take small pieces of twine and tie your cutters together.
Step 3: Go crazy with the garnishes- add in some foliage, berries, ribbons, orange slices or anything else you have to hand!
We recommend only getting this one together after you’ve got your Christmas baking out of the way.
Cork Collection Wreath
You know all those bottle corks you’ve collected over the years without ever really knowing why? You can see where we’re going with this.
We drew on My Turn For Us as the inspiration for this wreath. Check out Evelyn's post for further details and great pictures. Here is our eco edit of the steps you need to take and the swaps you need to make.
If you aren’t a collector of inanimate objects and don’t possess your own stash of corks, ask around. Someone you know is bound to have been stockpiling. If you’re friends and relatives aren’t big drinkers, pubs often keep a collection.
This wreath requires a little bit more equipment and is slightly more fiddly than the others. Still, it is a great way to showcase the mementos of evenings spent in good company.
You will need:
- A metal coat hanger
- Thick rope
- Eco friendly glue
- A collection of corks
- Christmas foliage and berries
Where Can You Find Eco Friendly Glue? It's A Sticky Subject...
Glue isn't typically the most eco-friendly substance. Luckily, in this era of conscious consumerism, there are alternatives to your classic school PVA ,which will keep these crafts as low waste as possible! There are also several recipes for how you can make your own, if you want to really have a DIY day.
Step 1: The initial process is the same as for our first wreath. Take your coat hanger, bend it into a ‘wreath shape’. Make the hook into a loop so that it is easy to hang and wrap some twine around it.
Step 2: Next, begin to wind the rope around your coat hanger in a tight coil. Glue each loop to itself as you go so that you have a thick, secure base upon which you can stick your corks. Leave your circle until it is completely dry.
Step 3: Once it has hardened, simply start to stick your corks to the base of the wreath. Start off with the corks you like the least, because these will be less visible once they are underneath the special ones on top. Build up your wreath in layers, leaving each one to dry. Use your artistic license!
If you want, put some final Christmassy touches to the wreath by adding your festive garnishes.
Upcycled Christmas Card Wreath
Don’t have a cork collection? Don’t worry. Fish that old box of Christmas cards out from under the bed!
You will need:
- A collection of old cards- Christmas cards are ideal of course, but any will do!
- Some ethical glue
- A bucket, or another wreath-sized circular object (to use as a template)
- A pencil
- Wire, twine or ribbon
Step 1: Take your bucket, place it top down onto your cardboard and draw around its rim.
Step 2: Flip it over, place the base inside your circle and draw around this. If you don’t have a bucket or anything else you can substitute, it really doesn’t matter! You don’t need a perfect circle, so it is fine to draw one out free hand.
Step 3: Cut this out with your scissors. Fix something to the top of your circle that will act as a means of hanging your wreath- a loop of wire, twine or ribbon for example.
Step 4: Next, take a scrap of card and draw a Christmassy design on it. A simple holly leaf works really well. Cut it out, and you have your template.
Step 5: Now it’s time to get that Christmas playlist going in earnest, bring out the (vegan) Baileys and set to. Place your template on each of your old cards, draw around it, and cut out all your leaves (angels, or stars etc).
Step 6: You can make your wreath as packed or as minimal as you like, but once you have a nice selection of Christmas card cut-outs start to stick them to your cardboard circle. It’s best to do them in rows and overlap them, like this wreath.
Keep going until you are pleased with your wreath, and be sure to save up this years cards for another one next year.
Buy A Sustainable Wreath
This is really a cheat DIY wreath in that the only ‘D’ element is that you go shopping and ask a few questions!
We don’t all have the time or inclination to sit down and craft at this busy time of year. If this is the case for you, and you are still determined to have a wreath, then make sure you do your research!
Be sure to ask about the provenance of the wood in the shop you source it from, and check that all the other materials used are eco-friendly and plastic free. This is a lovely example of a sustainable wreath.
If you want to make it your own, you can always make a few simpler decorations and add them on.
Haven't satisfied your crafty cravings yet?
Still need to get your sustainable Christmas shopping done?
Father Christmas, you need to remember his eco responsibilities too:
You may also like...
What to Do Next
Stay up to date with all the latest eco news and features. We plant trees for every subscriber. Every 100th subscriber wins their own tree.
Support Us On
From £3 a month. Help us invest in new journalism on topics that matter to you.
Join Our Facebook
Ask questions and share tips, recipes and your green wins in our super friendly Facebook community, the pebble pod.