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Bury St Edmunds waste and recycling champion Karen Cannard searches for some Christmas decoration inspiration

By Karen Cannard

In a rare creative moment and with the festivities in mind, I found myself googling ‘Upcycled Christmas decorations’. Immediately I was filled with craft envy.

The closest I’ve been to making my own decorations has been a series of silver wire hearts decorated with glass beads. They glisten beautifully against the backdrop of the fairy lights. But these are now 10 years old and aside from the annual tradition of oven baked orange slices to decorate the tree, my creative offerings have become pretty sparse.

Having booted up the Internet, things could be about to change. Well that’s if I can drag myself away from the temptation of non-stop browsing. Craft-surfing can be quite addictive.

Anti waste campaigner Karen Cannard. (5706389)
Anti waste campaigner Karen Cannard. (5706389)

It started with the little Christmas trees – fashioned out of buttons and held together with wire. These are very pretty. I just need to find my old collection of buttons – the problem is that I haven’t seen my button box for years so a rare expedition to the loft would be needed. No wonder a whole decade can pass between my bouts of creativity.

The light bulb projects might be simpler. Upcycled with silver or gold paint, even the modern energy saving bulbs can be made into attractive decorations.

And as for paper, it’s such a versatile material for testing out ideas with old wrapping paper or surplus craft resources that you might have around the home. I am actually in awe of Clarissa Grandi’s incredible origami stars, illustrating how maths blends perfectly with festive art. Twitter users, search for @c0mplexnumber and share the admiration. She also has a website with lots more ideas at www.artfulmaths.com

If you’ve been inspired by the current trends for 3D snowflakes or folded book pages, there are lots of videos and tips dotted across the Internet. Even the old-fashioned flat paper snowflake has received a makeover. Have a peek at these great examples: www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-6-Pointed-Paper-Snowflakes/

And how about paper quilling? I’ve not particularly been a fan but these cute little snowflakes on the Martha Stewart website could just change my mind: https://www.marthastewart.com/851883/quill-snowflakes

DappR tree decoration made from aircraft blades
DappR tree decoration made from aircraft blades

If you love glass and tea lights, beware! Don’t google ‘Upcycled Christmas jars’ unless you have lots of time to spare or space for all your projects. The inspiration is plentiful and the Internet is packed with ideas for paint effects and etching techniques that can turn an ordinary jar into a beautiful festive lantern.

With the internet at your fingertips, it is easy to become immersed in the vast array of ideas out there. And if you’re looking for something unusual but find it’s too late to make your own, there are some great quirky upcycled decorations that can be delivered to your letterbox.

-- Have a peek at Suffolk’s DappR Aviation to discover their unusual baubles and other decorations made from purple rivets and blades. You can find them on Twitter, Facebook and Amazon.

-- Cycling fans, check out the Etsy website for ‘Bike Chain Ornaments’, where you’ll find a whole range of sellers tempting you with designs such as snowflakes, reindeer, stars, candy canes, angels and even the alphabet.

-- Looking for something bigger? If you’re a fan of inspirational quotes or fancy a wooden snowman for your garden or even a Christmas tree made from reclaimed wood, just search Etsy for ‘Christmas Pallets’. You won’t be disappointed.

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