Create Recycled Holiday Decorations

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Using a soup carton, create fun holiday tags or Christmas ornaments with recycled materials while experimenting with patterns.

the inspiration

the inspiration


While we've all been taught the three 'R's' in school, and there is no doubt all three are important - one is simply essential: reusing.

In many ways, reusing is better than recycling because it saves on energy required to dismantle and re-manufacture products. It also reduces waste and pollution as repurposing items doesn't require new raw materials, saving both forests and water supplies.

Unwrapping present, especially during the holidays for those who celebrate, can be so much fun, but it isn't great the for environment. So much of Christmas wrapping paper ends up in landfills since the glitter and gloss make them unable to be recycled.

So what can you do to help reduce and reuse during the holiday season? Try making your own wrapping paper out of plain kraft paper, which can be recycled. Or use old t-shirts, scarfs or scrap fabrics to wrap your gifts. You can also repurpose old paintings, drawings, or unfinished works to make unique wrapping paper and give an old project a new purpose.

Join us as we make our own Christmas tags or ornaments, out of a repurposed soap carton to create environmentally friendly and beautiful gift tags and decorations.

How do you plan to reduce, reuse or recycle for the holidays?


  • Recycled soup carton
  • Toothpick or BBQ stick
  • Black permanent marker
  • Pencil
  • Scrap paper (to sketch pattern)
  • Scissors
  • Hole puncher (or ask your grown up for help using a knife or awl)
  • Optional: twine, old ribbon, spare fabric strips to tie or hang your tag or ornament

WHAT to do

We recommend washing your soup carton with water and vinegar to remove any remaining food debris.

1. Cut open your washed soup carton so you have a flat surface to work on. Make sure your carton is dried completely.

2. Grab your scrap piece of paper and sketch out your idea for your decoration using a pencil.


The key to making a great pattern is to use repetition. Pick simple shapes and lines, and repeat the design to give your decoration a sense of flow and unity.

Try spinning your paper and repeating the same cluster of lines and shapes from a different angle to create a cool spiral effect.

3. Flip your soup carton over so you are drawing on the carton label (the shiny side should be down on the table). Draw your basic shape with a black permanent marker onto the back of the carton. You can even test out of your design to be sure it fits.

4. Cut out your decoration shape with scissors.

5. Flip your decoration over. Carefully replicate your pattern onto the shiny side of the carton using a black permanent marker.

6. Using a toothpick or BBQ stick (something with a fine, sharp end), go over your design by pressing into your marker lines. We like the effect of the black outlining the indent from our toothpick as a shadow. To do this, try your best to press your toothpick down in the middle of your marker lines.

7. Once you have finished tracing your design with your toothpick, use a hole punch to create a hole to be able to string your decoration.

8. Create a new pattern or design and repeat the process. Experiment with shape and line. You can use your creations as holiday tags for wrapping gifts or as decorations to string up on your tree.

9. Use twine, old ribbon or a piece of fabric to tie your decoration onto your gift or hang up as decor.

Tie your decorations with twine or fabric to use for gifts or to hang up - Free Lessons, Resources and Videos

We'd love to see your recycled holiday decorations! Leave us a comment below or share them with us on social media.