Monday, November 29th, 2010

As Winter Approaches, Get Crafty with Reusing Plastics

Photo by Jennifer Aitkens via Wikimedia Commons

I can’t bring myself to decorate for winter until after Thanksgiving (it’s still autumn, beautiful autumn!), but with the turkey off the table, I’m almost ready to go.  Here are a few favorite craft projects that involve – why, of course – plastic!  We talk a lot about the benefits of plastics, but the benefits don’t have to end when the intended use of a product is over. Those plastic beverage rings, tubs and bottles that you would otherwise recycle where possible can be repurposed into something beautiful and festive.

Six-pack ring snowflakes: Not sure what to do with that tall stack of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) six-pack rings from the summer, or wondering what the vendor loading the soda machine at work will do with all of them?  Make snowflakes!  Nothing says winter than a bit of snow, and whether you have any of the fluffy stuff on the ground or not, you can add your own wintry touch to the indoors any time by making six-pack ring snowflakes. There are a multitude of styles online, including instructional video or step-by-step instructions using up to 20 ring sets per flake.  And these snowflakes are ideal for indoor use where they are not exposed to direct UV light – plastic ring carriers are required to be degradable.

Ice luminaries:  A couple of polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) pails or tubs, water, rocks, freezing temperatures (or simply a freezer) are all you need to create these simple, inexpensive decorations.  Indoors (use a deep tray!) or outdoors, they are just magical.  Get creative by adding evergreens, leafy twigs or berries to the water for decoration, or using food coloring for tint.

Ornaments and garland:  A pair of scissors begins the transformation for a plastic bottle bottom to become a star-shape either hung as an individual ornament or strung as garland.

Other ideas include a high-density polyethylene (HDPE) bottle candle holder (be safe – watch those flames!) and wreath (another approach is described here).  C’mon, readers… what are your favorite reuses for plastic materials when it comes to winter and holiday decorations?

Leave a Comment