Entertaining: Recycled Party Decorations

Earth Day may have been last Monday, but in our eyes, it’s always Earth Day. Making responsible and sustainable decisions shouldn’t last just one day, it should be a guiding principle throughout our entire lives. Earlier this week, I shared some helpful tips for recycling just about anything. Recycling, though, is only party of the picture. Another surefire way to make sure fewer things end up in landfills is to start by buying fewer things. Cutting down on consumption, living simply, and reusing and repurposing things we already own can help lift some of the burden we’re placing on the earth. While brainstorming some eco-friendly content for this week, it occurred to me that one of the many areas that I could cut back on is party supplies. Goodness knows how much I love to entertain, but entertaining supplies, especially the plastic disposable kind sold at mass-market retailers, seem wildly frivolous when thinking about reducing waste. So— I decided to conduct a little experiment. Armed only with things that I found around my apartment —newspapers, office supplies, and used magazines mostly— I ventured to create party supplies that could be made without buying anything. I found that, with a little ingenuity and some paper-folding skills picked up from my Sixth Grade lunch hour, eco-friendly party supplies are not just easy-as-pie, but actually far more attractive than the mass-produced drugstore variety. Check out the directions for six of my favorites after the jump! —Max

1. Newspaper Tassel Garland — All that’s needed to create the tassels for this festive garland is some old newspaper and twine. Start by taking a long strip of newspaper that’s about 4 inches tall and folding it in half height-wise. Using a pair of scissors, cut thin strips towards the fold, but not cutting all the way through the fold. Leave about a centimeter uncut at the top. Then, once the entire strip has a nice fringe going on, tightly roll the length of it into a tassel. Secure it in place by tying it at the top with a piece of twine.

2. Party Crackers — To create these party crackers roll candy and confetti-filled toilet paper rolls (or 1/3 pieces of paper towel rolls) in newspaper, affixing the newspaper with masking tape. Tie the sides with a small bit of twine. We added a little extra decoration using some pink washi tape we had on hand.

3. Confetti — Making this confetti couldn’t be easier— simply use a large-sized circle punch (or a regular hole punch for smaller dots) to punch out bits of magazine pages. Put the confetti inside of your party crackers or scatter them around your serving tables for a festive touch!

4. NINJA STARS! — Remember these things? I know that they’re not actually called Ninja Stars, but that’s what we all called them in sixth grade when we made them incessantly during recess and lunch hour. Using directions I found here, I created contrasting points by alternating text pages with photo pages from magazines.

5. Triangle Garland — This easy garland was created by cutting triangle shapes from along the fold of a newspaper page and affixing them to a piece of twine with pink paper clips. Insanely easy, but wildly cute nonetheless!

6. Striped Tape Ribbon Garland — Another easy-peasy garland project! Simply fold long strips of masking tape over a piece of twine, cut triangles off of their bottoms to create a “ribbon” effect, and add stripes with marker or pen! BAM!

Michelle G.

Now my brain is going into overdrive thinking of ways to really personalize my son’s going away to the Navy party in June. When my oldest son went off to the Marines 2 years ago, I lamed it up with patriotic junk from the local party supply store at premium prices. I think I could do better with our Navy party by making homemade garland and table decorations.

Catherine Holt

What great ideas these are. It just goes to show that you can make some gorgeous party decorations from every day items. Friendly on the environment and on our budget! Sharing these ideas :-)

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