This post comes from a guest contributor, Nancy Parker.
Whether it be for a friend’s birthday, a Valentine’s Day present or just a nice ‘thank you’, what’s better for the environment than making your own gifts out of recycled or reused materials? No wasted money or materials here, just good, old-fashioned gifts that anyone can make or enjoy. Anyone from age 3 to 103 can give these gifts to the people on their holiday lists.
1. Cookies in a jar – There are many variations to this simple standard- soup in a jar, chili in a jar- you get the idea. Whatever food the receiver likes best; you can make a gratifying, attractive ‘kit’. All you need is a large mason jar (preferably recycled) with a lid and a few ingredients. By tidily layering the ingredients, the jar becomes an objet d’art as well as an easy-to-make meal. Enhance the jar with a piece of pretty scrap material over the lid or painted patterns along the glass. Make sure that you include a recipe so everyone knows how to recreate the treat later!
2. Pen holder/candle holder – Any tall, thin container can be made into a pen holder. Old coffee cans, jars, and even drinking glasses can be used. Wrap the outside in a scrap of attention-grabbing fabric or paper or paint it. It is as simple as that. Personalized pen holders are particularly great for offices and add a stimulating touch of color. An old wine bottle or glass bottle of any type can be treated similarly and used as a candle holder.
3. Paperweight – Essentially anything weighty can be used as a paperweight. For anenjoyable(and kid-friendly) project, find several hefty rocks and clean them off. If they are smooth, you can draw on them with markers or paint or even decorate the rocks with sticky eyes (pet rocks). If the rocks are too uneven then they can be enclosed in scrap material, painted with acrylics, or decoupaged. Monster or alien paperweights are a fun gift for little boys to give.
4. Bird bath/bird feeder – Do you have a clay pot and saucer lying around? Yes? Then you can make a bird bath. Tough and easy to work with, clay pots provide a great medium for many art projects. Turn the pot over and attach the saucer on the ‘bottom’ of the pot. Presto, you have a birdbath. You can even leave it unattached or unglued if the saucer is heavy enough to stay on by itself. That way it is easier to empty out the old water and refill it. You can paint or use markers to adorn the pot. Don’t forget to decorate the edges of the saucer too! Fill the saucer with water for a bird bath or seed for a bird feeder.
5. Wind chimes – There are countless ways to make gorgeous wind chimes. One of the easiest and most environmentally friendly is with a small clay pot, a rope, and a sea shell. Turn the pot upside down and thread the rope through the drainage hole. Tie a knot large enough that the rope will not fall back through. Then, using a portion of fishing line (or other thin, sturdy material),tie a sea shell to the knot, making sure it is suspended halfway out of the bottom of the pot. Hang the pot up outside and listen to the pleasant chiming. For more color, paint or draw on the pot. You can even decorate the sea shell.
There are many other easy, fun gift ideas that can be made with recycled materials. Take a look around and see what you can come up with!
Nancy Parker was a professional nanny and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny background check tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com.