5 DIY Eco-Friendly Upcycled Gift Hacks

Holiday season is quickly approaching: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years. There are so many reasons to give gifts during these times! And, when you include family, friends, coworkers, hostesses…the list just gets longer. The, longer the list, the more expensive it gets to provide everyone with memorable gifts. And, we all know that some gifts, although received gratefully, are re-gifted, or even worse, thrown away.

There are 5 simple ways to be able to do this by also being eco-friendly and making sustainable and upcycled DIY gifts.

Use Extra Fabric

Everyone has leftover fabric in their house. Why not use it to make something adorable for your family? A great idea is to make holiday inspired wreaths or ornaments with leftover fabric or ribbons. Orange and black, skulls and spiders for Halloween; brown and yellow, food and Pilgrims for Thanksgiving; green and red, snow and presents for Christmas. Ornaments and wreaths can be expensive, but really help pull the house together, so these DIY ideas are perfect.

You can also take your leftover fabric to make bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Use worn out or old ties to make adorable skirts or reading glasses carriers. Make purses, handbags, camera carrying cases with old blankets. Take old or torn zippers to make fancy looking zipper bracelets and cuffs.

Repurpose Sewing Buttons and Pin-back Buttons

Do you have a lot of button pins or sewing buttons lying around the house? Don’t throw them away. Repurpose them into a DIY gift. Use buttons to create jewelry: necklaces, earrings, bracelets.

Hairpins are a perfect gift for little daughters, nieces, or grandkids. You can also use them in creative ornaments or magnets or picture frames. However, remember, if you use buttons with pin backs, make sure to take out the pin back to be able to use the button flat and so it doesn’t poke.

Make Green Bathroom Supplies

Rather than going to a department store and getting an overpriced bath care packet full of poor quality body sprays and lotions, create your own. Use essential oils to make aromatherapy infused lotions. Use sugar from your kitchen to make sugar scrubs. Almond butter is great as a base for lip balm. Not only is this green living, but you can also personalize it to your receiver’s personal aromatic favorites.

Bring Outdoors Inside

For the best sustainable DIY gift that is heart-felt, make a terrarium. Personalize the terrarium by using their favorite plants or herbs or succulents. Make miniature terrarium necklaces for an adorable, high fashion look.

If you are making the gift for Christmas, make a terrarium snow globe or ornament. It will add a fresh and green look to their decorations inside their house. Continue to bring the outdoors inside by making a pinecone holiday wreath to hang on the door (include some of your leftover holiday ribbon for added flair).

Upcycle with Paint or Washi Tape

Upcycling is a huge way to win with DIY gifts. Repurpose boring Mason jars, vases, jewelry trays, and other decorative pieces by painting them. Visit your local crafting store and get some adorable paints: colors that are favorites, that match the house theme, holiday inspired, bright and metallic, expensive looking. Use metallic gold paint to give an expensive look to jewelry trays, candle holders, and picture frames.

Washi tape isn’t just for scrapbookers. Use washi tape to decorate plain composition notebooks or sketching pads to create memorable creative journals. Use it to make adorable magnets, hair clips, drink coasters, even wall art for your loved ones.


Don’t succumb to the mainstream commercialism of gift giving. Instead of going out to buy gifts that have little meaning, have some important thought behind your gift. Make it meaningful and memorable. Do it yourself to create affordable gifts that are uniquely catered to each individual.


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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