Sustainable Crafting

sustainable crafting

This is my last article before Christmas, so Happy Christmas to one and all! I have to get my Masters finished by Jan 19 so no Christmas break for me. I didn’t have one last year either so I’m feeling very hard done by. Thankfully there’s light at the end of this tunnel.

Doing a masters during a pandemic had it’s challenges – motivation being the main one, but it also had some bonuses too. People were much more likely to reply to email enquiries and my online survey had far more responses than I expected. I also got to attend international conferences in my pjs!

Studying during the first lockdown with the kids at home was a nightmare, but the latest one without them was bliss. I also saved lots of time by not having to commute into the college a couple of times a week. There really wasn’t a hope in hell of me completing the masters if I had to keep that up.

Although I’m close to the end. I’ve a lot of work. I’m taking off next Wednesday and Christmas day and that’s it between now and Jan 19th. The thing that’s keeping me going are daydreams of long leisurely days filled with reading and crafting. Hence this article about some of the lovely things I want to do when I’m free again. Maybe it’ll inspire you to get crafting over the Christmas period.

Nothing mentioned in this article has been sponsored. It’s all just my own personal opinion. If you like your sources to remain independent then please;
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Photo by Tara Evans on Unsplash

Make your own coffee ink with this recipe from the author of a book making art with organic materials.

Recently I saw Kirstie Alssopp using chicken wire instead of single-use flower foam. You could also use a colander like Lovely Greens or buy yourself a flower frog.

Who doesn’t love paper crafts! Especially paper roses made using a free template!

Here’s a wee Instagram tutorial on how to dye chalk naturally.

If you have virginia creeper growing in your garden why not try to make your own Christmas wreaths from the vines

If origami floats your boat here’s a printable pattern to make your own origami paper! And a second lot of printable sheets! Now you’ve no excuse not to make these cute star shaped paper bowl.

Homemade soft toys are an adorable way to use up fabric from worn-out clothes. Here’s a list of 30 free patterns to make your own soft toys, although you may need to register with some sites to be able to download the templates.

I like this tip about projecting your sewing patterns instead of printing them out.

For very cute Irish designed soft toy patterns head over to Miss Daisy Pattern’s Facebook Shop. They’re not free but they’re only a couple of euros so well worth the price.

Hard to think of summer when it’s creeping down to zero here, but I am assured that it will return so be prepared with your own reusable crocheted water ‘balloons’

Make your own modelling clay using just flour, water and salt.

The American artist Rachel Michael has very helpfully posted recipes for homemade plastic-free artists paints online. She also sell eco-friendly artist supplies from her website.

I’m a total geek so I love this hack on how to make your own repeatable pattern. Ideal for making your own wrapping paper, book covers or wallpaper !!!!!

Homemade dishcloths are a great way to use up leftover natural yarn. If you’re interested in making one here’s a pattern for a super cute dish cloth with a bee motif on it.

I frequently upcycle cards into new cards. It’s simple, cheap and very effective. Here’s a free printable for a very sweet thank you card with pretty dotty envelope. If you use refillable cartridges and recycled paper you’ll get a green star!

For the very crafty here’s a way to use up all the little bits of fabric you might have around the house. Turn it into fabric twine , and if you get good at it you can even sell it on Etsy!

Did you know you can refill Posca markers with acrylic paint!

If none of the above crafts set your creative juices flowing here’s a list of 48 five minute crafts from the crafting website Mollie makes. Just remember to use existing material and tools if you want to keep these sustainable.

I try to avoid buying anything new materials for crafting and have been very successful at finding quite a bit of stuff in charity shops. Afterall buying new materials to make crafts is as unsustainable as buying something new made by someone else. That said if you need something specific and buying it will keep other materials in use and out of landfill then I think it’s fair enough to buy new.  Here are a couple of places to source more sustainable craft supplies.

  • Ecoland (Kleep Paper) are the original sustainable craft suppliers.
  • Crafty Studio is an Irish craft website. Not particularly sustainable but buying local allows us to influence what they order.
  • Although Jiminy is a kids toy store they’ve lots of craft stuff too
  • Evans is the meca of crafts in Dublin city centre. Most art students buy their stuff there.
  • Bomar in Wicklow is a fab place to buy ingredients for homemade cosmetics. They’ll even refill your own containers for you. Well they did pre-covid.
  • You can buy 100% natural paper raffia string from the Little Green Shop
  • I love this illustrated paper tape by UK based Crayon Cake Draws

Have a wonderful Christmas and I’ll chat to you on the other side.


If you like this article then check out my other crafting articles

I also have a load of articles on crafts for kids from 20162017, and 2018.

Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

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