Zero Waste Holiday Craft Ideas

Ahh the holiday season, full of joy, family, food and STUFF! 

As we became more environmentally conscious, we started to realize a lot of our traditions are wrapped in things that are not so good for the environment. 

Items like glitter, tinsel, plastic garland and coated wrapping paper are all cute for the season, but then they head to a landfill to live another 400 years, give or take. Also, a lot of our live decorations come wrapped in wires, which means they require dismantling before they head to the compost pile or more often than not end up in the garbage. 

This year, in an effort to benefit the planet & reduce the amount of “stuff” we’re adding to our space, we opted for some homemade, zero waste decorations. 

These options are SO EASY, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done this before. They are also fantastic activities to do with any small humans living in your home who may not have as many activities to do this year. 

Without further ado, here are the holiday creations from the team at Mother Compost!!

English Ivy Wreath

English Ivy is an invasive evergreen vine that likes to climb and kill trees by blocking them from getting sunlight. So it’s ideal to manage it, and even remove it from your property, and especially your trees, so they can thrive in the sun! 

Cut down some long vines off your trees and wrap it around into a circle, then weave it into itself (as seen on the video below) and BAM there is the basis of your wreath! 

Now you can get creative. You can use twine to tie in some pine cones, add some dried flowers, trimmings from the bottom of your tree, even some Holly berries and leaves for a pop of color. Twist those stems into your wreath, and voila! You’ve got a homemade compostable wreath that you made yourself. And you were able to do some invasive plant removal to boot! The whole process shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes. 

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Popcorn and Cranberry Garland

TOO easy. Pop your popcorn, grab your cranberries and get ready for a decoration that smells as good as it looks.  Cranberries can be fresh or dried, so use whatever you have available. We went with fresh to get that great pop of red.  

Using a needle & thread, start creating your own popcorn & cranberry design. You could do three popcorns and one cranberry OR three cranberries and two popcorns in between. GO WILD! Pro tip: leave a loop on each side of the string for ease of hanging. 

When you’re done, hang it on your mantle, tree or wherever makes you happy. Fair warning, keep an eye on your pets, because we know a few cats that like popcorn. 


popcorn garland

cat garland

Cat got your garland?



You can make compostable centerpieces for your dinner table by plants you find in your yard. We used some dried hydrangea, a couple nicely placed evergreen branches, and some holly leaves and berries for a pop of color. 

We used some paint to give the dried flowers a little color and help complete the makeover.

Before                                                               After

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Dried Citrus Garland

For this, you can use oranges, lemons or limes to get a variety of colors. We used an orange. 

  • Heat your oven to 200 degrees, and slice your oranges as thin as possible while still keeping the skin on. 
  • Lay them flat on a baking sheet and let them dry out in the oven for 2- 2 ½ hours. 
    • You can also use a dehydrator.
  • Once dried out, remove from the oven & let them cool
  • Use either a needle & thread, or some hemp or jute twine to string them up, tying cinnamon sticks in between. 
    • Again, be sure to leave a loop on each side of the string for ease of hanging. 

I particularly like this decoration because when they are placed in the window, they also act as light catchers. Please note: the oranges are very delicate so take care when working on this project.   


Citrus and cinnamon decoration

Apples and Star Anise Ornaments or Window treatments 

  1. Take your apple and slice it as thin as possible with a knife, or a mandolin slicer. 
  2. Take note of the star shape in the center of the apple, try to preserve that shape! 
  3. Lay the slices down on a baking sheet and place in the oven on 200 degrees for about an hour or until they are dried out. 
    1. You can also use a dehydrator for this. 

Once dried, grab your handy needle and thread and start at the bottom of one slice, up to the top, and then wrap the thread around the star anise to tie it in, then add another apple, and continue to make it as long or as short as you’d like. We used as a window treatment here, but it can also be added to the tree, your mantle, doorway, etc. 




Done decorating? Try wrapping your presents in newspaper or brown bags or using other items around the house to package your treats. Holiday cards are already rolling in, and we have a fun way to use them too.

Gift Tags

You can make fun upcycled gift tags by saving holiday cards from years past and cutting out the pictures.


Gift tag

We hope you got some great inspo for some fun holiday crafting projects. Don’t be afraid to mix these materials together and come up with a design of your very own (and if you do, send us the photo so we can get some new ideas for next year!)

Happy Holidays from our family to yours.

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