Recycled Winter Craft Projects: Make a DIY Winter Wonderland

By Sher Warkentin in Thinking Sustainably

Decorating your home is always the best part of the holiday season. This year, get creative by making a DIY winter wonderland with some recycled crafts. You’ll have some unique holiday decor, save money on store-bought items, and the whole family can get involved with making winter craft projects. Best of all, repurposing items you already have at home makes for an easy-to-grasp lesson in sustainability and the importance of recycling for your kids.

Paper Snowflake Garlands

Cutting out paper snowflakes is a fun traditional winter craft project, but instead of wasting new sheets of paper, look around your house for paper you can reuse. Anything from printer scraps to old newspapers and magazines (even all the coupons and junk mail that stream in at the holidays) can be used to make snowflakes.

Fold and cut the snowflakes out as you would with regular paper, like these examples. You can leave them as is for more colorful snowflakes, or you can paint them white or add some glitter to make them shine. After you’ve made several snowflakes of different sizes, tie them together by threading string or twine through the snowflake holes to form a long garland. You can also thread Christmas light strands through individual snowflakes to light them up.

Shaving Cream Snowmen

Shaving cream is an exciting tactile element to explore, especially for little ones, which makes this easy winter craft project great even for your youngest kids. Start with a piece of cardboard from a box or a paper grocery bag. Draw the outline of a snowman on the paper, and cut it out. Make snowman accessories, such as buttons, nose, and scarves out of old magazines, and set them aside.
Snowmen made of recycled paper bags and shaving cream.

To make the shaving cream snow, mix together equal parts regular shaving cream with white school glue. Your kids will love doing this part with their hands, so let them get a little messy. Once the ingredients are mixed together, they can finger paint the shaving cream snow right onto the paper cutouts. Then decorate the snowman with the cutout accessories. Once it’s dry, hang your snowman up by punching a hole in the top and threading some yarn or ribbon through it.

Cardboard Wonderland

Cardboard boxes are one of my favorite materials to work with because they offer endless possibilities. Make a cardboard gingerbread house by painting doors, windows, and other accents on an upturned box. Cut the flaps off, and use them to create a roof on top. You can paint the roof white or glue white felt on top to make it look snowy. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can create a whole village of box houses or cut animals or trees out. Let your kids take the reins on this one to help them learn to think outside the box (pun intended). Start by asking what kind of recycledthey can come up with by just reusing a box.

Garden Recycling

Man-made products like cardboard and jars aren’t the only things that can be repurposed into winter craft projects. The falling pinecones and broken twigs littering your backyard can also be given a new life on your holiday table. Add some white paint to dried twigs and branches to make them appear snow-covered, and arrange them in a vase. Then decorate them with hanging ornaments or paper snowflakes. Pinecones can also be dabbed with white paint or silver glitter to create a dusting of snow. Your family can place them in a bowl as a centerpiece or use them as mini trees to create a winter wonderland scene with other small ornaments and holiday knickknacks.

Giant Paper Roll Snowflakes

Reuse the center roll of paper towels and toilet paper to create a giant snowflake you can hang on a wall or in a window. Flatten the tube, and then cut it into 1-inch wide rings. Glue the rings together, starting with five pieces in the center and working your way out from there until you’ve created what resembles a five-armed snowflake. Once all the glue is dry, paint it white and thread some yarn through the top ring to make a hanger.
Use toilet paper rolls to make a giant snowflake.

Hands-on projects and activities are some of the best ways to illustrate big concepts like sustainability and recycling to your kids. Have a blast coming up with your own craft projects, and make it a seasonal tradition to create a recycled winter wonderland.

What are some winter craft projects you’ve made out of recycled materials? Share pics of your own winter wonderlands with us on Twitter!

Image sources: Flickr | Sher Warkentin

This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.

Why It’s Good

Winter craft projects using recycled materials are not only a great family activity, but it's also a way to teach kids about sustainability. This fun, hands-on approach makes big concepts like recycling easy for kids to grasp and lets them take charge of being more sustainable.