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9 Sustainable DIY Christmas Decoration Ideas: natural & zero waste

Updated: Dec 1, 2020

The Christmas spirit on the Sustainable Collective is now officially on. You guys know me by now and know how much I love a good DIY… especially one that could be easily made at home and ideally from the ingredients you already have. So I decided to put together these 9 DIY Christmas decoration ideas for that dream sustainable home look. All the ideas listed below are not only so aesthetically pleasing, but also completely natural (made out of non toxic ingredients).

All the ideas listed are incredibly straightforward but could also be easily made zero waste (no unnecessary waste, yay). Just in time before the weekend. Following the very popular question I was being asked over the Instagram, I have included a additional section on "how to dry sliced oranges" so they could be used for the decorations.

What you will need:

  • jute string

  • fresh citrus (oranges are my favourite)

  • pine cones

  • star anise

  • cinnamon sticks

  • cloves

  • essential oil of your choice

Time for Some Inspiration

All you need is the right materials, right? Well, for those of us who are slightly less creative, some inspiration would most certainly not hurt…

Whilst I cannot wait to share with you all the beautiful inspiration out there, I’ve decided to start with some basics. Once equipped with the right materials, I can guarantee that this weekend’s outcome will be very rewarding.

1. Better than Salt Dough Ornaments

Salt dough ornaments could be way to spend a Saturday afternoon over. However for those who don’t want to spend too much time or resources- this cornstarch and baking soda ornaments will be the perfect alternative.

This better than salt dough recipe doesn’t require any baking and the ornaments turn snow white without any coating or other inference. Perfect for those looking for that simple rustic look. All you need is three main ingredients:

  • 2 cups baking soda

  • 1 cup cornstarch

  • 1 1/4 cup cool water

  • optional: a few drops of orange essential oil

How to:

Place all three ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Mix completely. The mixture will start to bubble. Carry on stiring. After approximately 10 minutes the mixture will thicken. Aim for the consistency of mash potatoes. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a fabric cloth. Leave to cool.

Once cooled down, knead the dough by hand until smooth. This is where you might wish to add the essential oil. Once knead, roll on the table for the desired thickness. If you wish to add the texture to the ornaments, you might want to emboss some items (you might even have a stamp already).

Personally, I really love the look of a knitted jumper texture. If you don’t have a stamp, or want a more natural look, you could use things like a green twig. It would look like something like this:

Once you are happy with the looks, it’s time to cut your creation into shapes using any cookie cutters. This is where you can be as creative as you wish. Once done, make sure to cut out a hole for hanging. Depending what you want to use theses for, tooth pick might be too thin, chopsticks would be perfect.

Depending on the thickness, the ornaments will need 24-48 hours to completely air dry. Hang using a jute string for the perfect natural sustainable look.

Photo by:

2. Dried oranges

So simple yet beautiful. It could be used by itself or used in combination with other ingredients such as cinnamon sticks or dried cranberries. Regardless of the combination, you are almost guaranteed the wow effect… and the scent of Christmas.


Slice the oranges and place on a baking paper (sustainable bonus if using the reusable ones). Heat up your oven to 180F and place the slices inside. The fan mode works the best but if you don’t have it, it is recommended to slightly open the oven doors for extra ventilation.

The average for oranges to dry is 3-4 hours but this really depends on the oven you have. Rather than sticking to the exact timing, I’d strongly advise you to check on the slices every 30-60 minutes to make sure they don’t burn.

Alternatively I’d strongly recommend to use a food dehydrator if you already have one (or know someone you could borrow it from). The drying time will be similar but there is no risk of ruining the oranges so the perfect look is guaranteed.

3. Pomander Balls

What are the pomander balls? With the fancy name, they are essentially oranges covered by cloves… but I need to reassure you that this little DIY is a must have of every home. It takes literally a couple of minutes and smells just amazing.

These could be displayed by themselves or even combined with the next suggestion, which is…

4. Potpourri

Another fancy one, but don’t let it mislead you on how simple it actually is. All you need is some sliced oranges, cinnamon sticks, star anise, pine cones and a bit of fresh greenery from the local forrest. It would also present perfectly along the pomander ball placed on a trace.

5. Garland

With so many styling options, this just cannot go wrong. Let your imagination go wild!

6. Christmas Tree in a Vase

DIY sustainable Christmas decoration at its finest. Almost too simple to look this good. *In order to prolong branch's lifespan- spray it with water twice a week.

7. Rustic Twig Ornaments

These are just such sweet idea. Would present perfectly on a small tree, or even the Christmas Tree in a vase! All you need is some twig branches, jute string, glue and of course a little time.

8. Simplistic Christmas Jar

Small detail but adds to the Christmas spirit, don't you agree? *In order to prolong branch's lifespan- spray it with water twice a week.

9. Christmas in a Jar

There is can never be enough candles in a Christmas spirited house, right? Well, definitely not when they are wrapped in some fresh greens. *In order to prolong branch's lifespan- spray it with water twice a week.

To wrap the whole article up now... Since you have come this far, I hope you enjoyed all the sustainable DIY Christmas decoration ideas and found them useful? I'd love to hear from you down the comments.

Much love,


At the beginning of your sustainability journey? Why not check out my previous blog post: Want to Live More Sustainably? Here's How to Start (No Recycling)

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