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Recycled Material Makes the Best Christmas Decorations

Published by Clair Wisell

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Recycling can add fun and sparkle to the Christmas holidays. Remember gum wrapper chains? This is an upscale, looser version that the kids will love to make. It only takes a few moments when opening a bottle of wine to remove the foil. Slit the foil vertically, flatten it, and store in a small basket until ready to make Christmas garland. If you don’t drink wine, ask a wine drinking friend to save their foil. Click the pictures below to see a larger version.

Materials and Tools for Making Christmas Garland

  • Foil from wine bottles
  • Small cutting board
  • Craft knife or single edge razor blade
  • 6″ plastic ruler

Turn on some Christmas music and invite friends and family to join in the fun. Foil garland will grow quickly with snacks and friends to help. There are three steps to making the garland. Assign each person one of the steps and watch the chain get bigger. The garland pictured here was made to show the silver side of the foil. There’s no reason you can’t use the side with color.


How to Make the Garland

  1. Cut the foil into about 1/4″ x 2 7/8″ strips. Start by cutting the flattest side of the foil straight. Cut 1/4″ strips, throwing away the crumpled edge that was around the cork. Usually, about 6 strips can be cut from each piece of foil. Cut each strip to 2 7/8″. While this may sound precise, precision isn’t really necessary.
  2. Fold the strips into links. Fold a strip in half by bringing the 2 ends together. Open the strip back up, and fold the 2 ends into the middle. Refold the strip in the middle, so that the 2 ends are inside the link, forming 2 loops at the open end of the link.
  3. Join the links. Hold 1 link at the center fold. Put each end of the 2nd link through 1 loop of the first link, and pull through. Turn the links over to put link 3 through the ends of link 2. Link 1 and 3 should be parallel to each other. Links 2 and 4 should be parallel to each other, and perpendicular to links 1 and 3. If a link is hard to push through, use the cutting blade to open the loops a little more.

Recycling and decorating at the same time is cost effective fun. Your garland doesn’t have to be as long as Gary Duschl’s gum wrapper chain. Adding to it every year will stir memories of wine and good times. Getting family and friends involved can create priceless memories. Your family may also like recycled Christmas cards and Christmas cornucopias.

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