Simple upcycled gifts for an ethical festive season

There are literally THOUSANDS of ideas out there for upcycled gifts you can make for your loved ones this festive season..  so I’m going to just suggest some broad categories, and then focus a bit more on advice for upcycled clothing-related gifts.

Bottle / jar ideas
* Fill jars with homemade sweets, cookies, candles or make a ‘snow globe’ scene. Add ribbons, bows, and maybe a square of cute fabric over the top for an instant upcycled gift.
* For bottles, maybe homemade cordial, or reuse nicely shaped wine bottles as a lighting feature by adding fairy lights to them… carefully drill a hole in the back for the wire to exit if they will be plugged in, or use fairy lights with a small battery pack (that will fit in the bottle).

Cutlery ideas
* Hang straightened cutlery (knives, forks, spoons) as a novel windchime, with some beads or bells, or jewellery items.
* Bend forks or spoons into interesting hooks, affix to a wooden board, and it’s ready to hang at someone you love’s place to collect coats, hats, keys, or umbrellas.. whatever needs hanging.

Crockery ideas
* Cups and saucers are perfect for neat little cacti or other plants, just remember to drill some drainage holes first, or add melted wax and a candle wick for a cute candle, or add a picture or saying for your loved one in the bottom of the cup in ceramic or glass paint.
* Plates can also be used for mosaic crafts, or painted as wall art, or perhaps cut up for jewellery squares or circles.

Book and magazine ideas
* Cut into strips, and wind strips into round circles. Glue together circles to form coasters, or jewellery, or form into a fruit bowl? Strips can also be woven together into a basket shape, or used in paper mache, or in cards.
*Book pages can be folded and cut in a range of decorative ways, or cut out, painted, stamped or framed. Consider making origami ornaments from printed books for an interesting festive season decoration!

Clothing ideas
* Sew together tea towels, pillow cases, or old tshirts to make a cosy homemade quilt or throw.
* Denim material can be cut into a range of shapes and used as earrings (starch or a gloss spray paint can be used to make the fabric stiff if required).
* Give old tshirts a lift by adding paint, dye (tie-dye?) or by bleaching. Consider an ombre bleach dip by holding tshirt from either the top or bottom and lowering just part of the garment into bleach before incrementally adding more and more of the tshirt into the bleach. Wash promptly as prolonged contact with bleach can make the garment tear easily.
* Make a template using an old sticker, stick it to the tshirt and, combining bleach and water in a spray bottle, spray lightly around the template before carefully washing the bleached area in cold water. Remove the sticker once the bleach is washed off the rest of the garment.
* Consider making a circular cotton lace tablecloth into a funky skirt by adding a waist-hole in the middle (perhaps with a zip? or just add elastic) and then tie-dying bright colours (follow the instructions on the dyes).
* Make flannel shirts into wheatpacks by making into small pillows, fill with wheat, and give instructions for how to heat safely in the microwave.

Anyway, enjoy making and sharing your DIY upcycled gifts this festive season, and feel free to contact me to show me what you made!

Season’s greetings from SoleFeather!

Main photo by EVG photos from Pexels. Birdie tee photo from SoleFeather

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