8 Festive & Frugal DIY Recycled Christmas Decor Ideas

For the ultimate creative Christmas decor, you can upcycle everything from ornaments to garlands.

Published December 4, 2023
DIY project of christmas ornaments

Turning something ordinary into an extraordinary holiday decoration is just about as fun as it gets, and it's a great way to make more meaningful festive accessories for your home, too. These DIY recycled Christmas decorations are easy to make and let you give new life to old things you already have. So set aside an afternoon to transform your holiday home.

Upcycled Blue Jean Christmas Stockings

Blue jean upcycled christmas stockings

When it comes to upcycling materials, old jeans are so full of potential. You'll need some basic sewing supplies for this, but it's not a difficult project. Grab a pair and cut two stocking shapes out of them. Then, put the right sides together and sew around the stocking (leaving the top open). Add a loop for hanging and finish the top edge if you want.

Quick Tip

When you cut out the stocking shape, try to leave a pocket on the front. It will look cute and give Santa a place to put something extra on the outside of the stocking.

Candy Cane Mason Jars

Candy Cane Mason Jars

Mason jar crafts are so much fun, and you can make some pretty adorable Christmas decorations this way. One of our favorites is using matte craft paint to create a red and while candy cane stripe on the jars. Start by painting the whole jar white. When that's dry, use painters' tape to mask off stripes and then paint the stripes red. Add bells and greenery for an even more festive look.

Flannel Shirt Wreath

Christmas Wreath made with upcycled flannel

Turn an old flannel shirt into a fun new wreath by cutting it into strips that are about 12 inches long. Tie the strips around a wire wreath form until you've covered the entire thing. It's a simple project with an awesome finished look.

Crystal Chandelier Ornaments

Crystal Chandelier Christmas Tree Ornaments

Vintage chandelier crystals are a natural choice for upcycling, especially at Christmas. Just use wire to connect the crystals to each other, adding other beads if you want to. Form the wire into a hook and hang it on your tree for tons of sparkle.

Vintage Button Angel Ornaments

Button Angel Christmas Ornament

Make an angel ornament out of old buttons for a recycled DIY Christmas decoration for your tree. You'll need several ivory-colored vintage buttons in different sizes, a wooden bead, and some twine. Stack about six or seven of the buttons together, arranging them by size. Use a piece of wire to connect them, and then add a wooden bead to the top and one more button for a halo. Tie on some twine wings.

Recycled Wool Tree Garland

Christmas Recycled Wool Garland Bunting

Another DIY recycled Christmas decor idea we love is making a garland out of old flannel shirts cut in the shape of Christmas trees. You just need a disappearing fabric marker and a Christmas tree-shaped cookie cutter. Trace the pattern on the fabric and cut the trees out. Attach them to twine or ribbon and string them in your home.

Spice Tin Christmas Dioramas

Christmas Upcycled Spice Tins, Trees

There's nothing quite as cute as a tiny Christmas diorama, and you can make adorable little scenes on top of old spice tins. You'll just need some hot glue, miniature trees and tiny accessories from the hobby store, and some paint to look like snow. Paint the tops of the tins first and then glue on the trees and other items after the paint is dry. It's nice to add some glitter, too, so the snow really sparkles.

Upcycled Map Star Garland

Vintage Upcycled Map Star Garland

An old map makes a great base for a star garland. You can use a star cookie cutter as a pattern or any other star-shaped template. Trace the stars on the map, cut them out, and attach them to a ribbon. Add extra interest with embellishments like snowflakes or beads in the center of each star.

Quick Tip

We love the map idea, but there are tons of other recycled paper options, too. Experiment with old books, magazine clippings, and vintage sheet music.

Stacked Wool Christmas Tree

Felted Wool Large Christmas Tree

When it comes to creative Christmas decor, DIY recycled wool trees are about as awesome as it gets. Basically, you just hit up the thrift store for old sweaters and cut them in lots of different sizes of circles (we like using bowls as patterns). Thread a yarn needle with yarn and sew through the middle of each circle starting with the largest at the bottom and working up to the smallest. When you get to the top, add a star.

More Meaningful DIY Christmas Decor

You can make your holiday decorations a lot more meaningful by upcycling old materials. There are so many DIY recycled Christmas ideas to try, and a lot of them can double as gift toppers or even actual gifts.

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8 Festive & Frugal DIY Recycled Christmas Decor Ideas