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5 Christmas upcycling ideas

When we're juggling making a whole host of Christmas cards, preparing decorations and making delicious food, it's often easy to forget about our impact on the environment. But there are so many benefits to upcycling – you can get rid of unwanted clutter, save money on decorations and create something truly wonderful. For a festive season that's greener than your Christmas tree, try whipping up these five fab goodies.

5 Christmas upcycling ideas

1. DIY jam jar snowglobe

This easy-to-make project is a great way to get kids involved in crafting – why not give them as gifts to their teachers? Start with a clean jam jar, a small tree or snowman ornament, clear glue and some glitter. Adhere the ornament to the inside of the lid using a glue gun, leave to dry, then add 60ml clear glue and roughly two cups of warm water to the jar. Stir in 2tbsp glitter, mix thoroughly, then screw on the lid tightly. Make sure the jar is well sealed – then shake away!

2. Handmade snuggly gloves

Do you have any old woollen jumpers lying around that never get worn? Rather than throwing them out, try making them into a fab upcycled pair of mittens! Firstly, you'll need to 'felt' the knitted fabric by putting the jumper inside a pillowcase in the washing machine at a high temperature – note: this will only work if the jumper is made from natural fibres. Next, download a mitten pattern and cut the pieces from the felted fabric, creating a lining out of an old t-shirt too if you wish. Cut and sew the pattern pieces together as instructed to create a fabulous, snuggly pair of gloves.

3. Cookie cutter christmas tree decorations

If your Christmas cookie cutters haven't been used in years, turn them into a fab homemade decoration instead! To create this super-easy project, you'll need several cookie cutters, patterned Christmas paper, jingle bells and ribbon. Trace around the cutter on the back of your patterned paper, then cut out. Glue along the thicker edge of the cutter and carefully stick this to the cut-out paper, so that the pattern shows through on the inside. Use a glue gun to stick a bell on top, then thread string through this and hang with pride from your Christmas tree.

4. Tin can lanterns

This is a great way to use tin cans creatively, and they'll make a stunning upcycled centerpiece for your Christmas dinner table. Start by filling your cans with water and freezing overnight – this will stabilise the can and prevent it from bending when you punch holes in it. Next, create a dotted design on paper to use as a guide. Position a nail onto the outside and tap it into the can with a hammer, until it has made a hole – it's a good idea to cradle the can in a towel while you do this, in order to catch ice chips. Continue until you have finished your pattern, then run the can under hot water to get the ice out, and leave to dry. All that's left to do is place a tealight inside and enjoy the pretty patterns you've created!

5. Pine cone tree

Create a pretty, rustic tree from pine cones and just a few simple crafts supplies. Start by gathering: a polystyrene cone, glue gun and lots of pine cones. Use a glue gun to stick the pine cones to the polystyrene base, starting at the bottom and working your way up until all of the polystyrene is hidden from view. Finish by adding a star decoration at the top!