Since our human kids immigrated to distant lands, we’ve toned down our festive décor. Well, maybe toned down isn’t the right word. More like keep it small and simple. Plus, we have furry kids with claws that have long-standing vendetta against baubles and tinsel. In keeping with our KISS approach, this year we opted to make these gorgeous light-filled Christmas trees using plastic waste.
It’s not the first time we’ve repurposed throw-away stuff to make something for our home. Like this takeaway dish Celtic cross or tin can gypsy wagon . But it’s the first time we’ve recycled something that normally gets tossed to make Christmas trees.
Can you guess what we used? I’ll give you a clue; it makes up 3% of packing waste and most of us only use it once before we chuck it in the bin.
Maybe if I switch the Christmas lights off?
Did you guess? It’s cling wrap otherwise known as Saran wrap or cling film. That stuff comes in so handy, but it messes our planet up. So in this tutorial, I’ll show you how to reuse plastic waste to make light-filled Christmas trees. But, before we get there, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. And don’t forget to subscribe so you’ll never miss a post!
What you need
- Clear plastic sheet
- Cling wrap packaging waste
- Fairy Lights
- Clear sticky tape
- Crystal silicone glue or clear hot glue sticks
Making light-filled Christmas trees
Prepping the base of the Christmas trees
To start we need to make a cone-shaped base for the Christmas trees. The base is made from a piece of clear plastic. I used a tablecloth cover that had an ugly burn mark on it. If you still have some of those overhead projector sheets (jeez I’m showing my age here) they’ll work too. Use a large round plate or pot lid and trace around the edges to make a circle.
Cut the circle out with scissors.
Fold the circle in half and cut on the fold to make two plastic semi circles.
Overlap the semi-circle straight edges to form a cone.
For a tall slim tree make the overlap bigger. If you want a tree with a wide base, overlap the edges slightly. Tape the edge down so the cone doesn’t uncurl.
You should end up with something like this.
Salvaging packaging waste
Fresh produce and takeaway dishes here in South Africa often come wrapped in cling film. Most people will chuck the film in the waste bin once they get home. We try to save ours for crafts like this. Clean the cling film and remove any labels. I had to cut my label off which is totally okay since we’ll be cutting the cling film anyway.
Discard the labels in the recycle bin unless you know of something you can do with them. Please share if you do have ideas, I would love to know.
Tear the cling film into strips. Starting at the top of the cone wrap the cling film down the cone as shown below.
Tuck ends inside the cone to secure.
Cover the entire cone with cling wrap.
At this stage, you can call it done and pop the plastic waste Christmas trees on a pretty platter…. or you can take them to a whole new level, and decorate them with glue.
Decorating the trees with glue
To add interest, I used clear silicone glue to decorate my trees. The glue sets quickly, and I use it often to mimic water in our fairy crafts.
Crystal clear glue gun sticks will work too. Just be careful not to melt the cling wrap. To keep it simple I put random dollops all over my trees.
Leave the glue to dry before adding the trees to your décor. I placed mine on a silver platter and sprinkled a little baking powder around the base of the trees.
Fake snow (and the real things) is super difficult to find here in South Africa. Except for this last Winter. I finally got to touch the stuff after more than a century on this planet. Our weather is doing weird things. Climate change is real, folks. So, if we can reuse or repurpose our plastic waste and contribute in some small way, I’m all for it.
Oh gosh, you’re probably wondering how I filled the cling-film trees with lights. Before putting the trees down, I took a string of fairy lights, scrunched them up at intervals and just popped the trees on top.
The baking soda does a great job of hiding the wires too😉
Don’t you just love how the light bounces off the silverware?
So what do you think? Have you upcycled packaging waste to make something for the festive season?
If you plan on reusing plastic waste to make light-filled Christmas trees don’t forget to pin it for later.
Sharing caring 😉
More little Christmas tree crafts
If you don’t have a lot of space and want to add a little festive cheer to your decor, these charming DIY Christmas trees are perfect. Each tree comes with a full tutorial that will guide you through the process:
- Handmade paper trees with built in lights
- Whoville-Inspired Feathered Christmas Tree
- Geometric Trees to suit any decor style
- Boho Macrame Trees with a twisted star
- Tulle and Lace Pom-Pom Trees
Oh, and if you’re looking for some of the things we used, we’ve got you covered. Disclosure: Clicking on the links below, means we may receive a commission from Amazon. But don’t worry, it won’t come out of your pocket, and it helps us make more amazing crafts to share with you 😉
And if you prefer to buy rather than DIY, then maybe these beauties will appeal.
And as always, wishing you a wonderful, crafty week filled with lots of love. Thank you for popping in for a visit.