Thursday, October 20, 2011

fun eco-friendly craft ideas

Fun and Eco-friendly Crafty Gift Ideas

The joy of the holidays is making its way into our homes and offices, but there are a lot of people out there on constrained budgets, while others want to instill conscious living patterns in their children. Families are aching to spend time together, but sometimes, they just don't know what to do that would be fun for everyone.

Here are some tips that could help you accomplish all of these things:

Save all of your old birthday or other holiday cards - these are great craft items! Consider all the cards you've received or those that you've made wrong entries in and don't want to send it out with a big scribble in the inside ... they are all useful.

Gather the family, youth group or craft-loving friends, around a sturdy table to create puzzles, ornaments, gift tags, bookmarks or fridge magnets for their own homes or as gifts to their friends, class mates or loved ones. These can also make wonderful projects to create gifts for senior's centers, women's centers, children's centers or classes and support centers for the poor.

These are extremely easy to construct and depending on the size, shape and type of scissors you are using - they can be made into very creative craft projects. Any of these ideas would be a lovely gift - even more meaningful because they were handmade by someone they love. Consider a set of bookmarks in sets of 2, 4 or 6 per recipient, ornaments in sets of 4, 6 or 8, magnets in sets of 2 and gift tags in sets of 8, 12 or 24.

Start by sorting the cards into themes and then sort them from large to small in size. Those little bits of ribbons that you've been saving will come in handy now too. If you don't have any, visit your local wedding and flower shops to see if they have any bits and ends for your projects. You will also need glue, scissors and a craft knife on hand.  *Some of the ideas below call for a few extra items so keep an eye out for those.

Gluing 2 cards within a similar theme together so that there is a picture on either side easily creates puzzles. Place the cards under a weight like a large book to make seal the seam completely. Once the glue has cured, cut the cards into puzzle pieces of a variety of shapes and sizes using a sharp craft knife.

To create unique ornaments use the same process for the puzzles, only choose smaller images and before you glue the two images together, trim so they are the exact shape and insert a loop of ribbon in-between them. Make sure that the loop of ribbon is long enough to fit over the tree’s stem. Then allow enough time for the glue to cure prior to decorating with trim, glitter or ribbon.

To make fridge magnets simply choose interesting images, cut them out and glue a small piece of magnet to the back. Strips of very thin magnets can likely be found at your local craft or "dollar" store. Alternatively reuse those unsolicited fridge magnets you have received from pizza places, realtors or junk mail. These are very thin and easy to cut with a pair of scissors and because the magnets are very light, only a small section of the magnet will be necessary.

Used cards can easily be crafted into unique gift tags; look for interesting images ranging in size from 2-3 inches in diameter and make sure there is no writing on the reverse side. Cut those out into the desired shape and - voila ! - you have a gift tag. Use a punch hole on the top or side of the gift tags and attach a tassel or ribbon, if you like. Decorate with glitter or leave plain.

Bookmarks require longer, larger images than gift tags but the process is the same. You’ll want to find an image that does not have writing on the reverse side. If it does you may want to consider finding a similar image and gluing the together, much like the process outlined for the ornaments and puzzles. I wouldn’t recommend decorating the bookmarks beyond a simple trim, due to the wear they will go through – the recipient will not want bits of glue and glitter in their books!

~ Written by Dave and Lillian Brummet based on the concept of their book, Trash Talk. A guide for anyone concerned about his or her impact on the environment, Trash Talk offers useful solutions for the individual to reduce waste and better manage resources. (

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