At the College of Idaho we’re big in trying to incorporate sustainability into our everyday lives. For some of you, the phrase “reduce, reuse, and recycle” may be a familiar mantra. For others, “recycle” may be the only part familiar.
A recent competition hosted on campus focused on the reuse aspect of sustainability. The challenge was to create Christmas ornaments to decorate a tree for the Festival of Trees. The ornaments had to be purple or gold (our school colors) or ‘yote themed (coyote is our mascot), and had to be made out of reused/recycled materials. First place would receive a pair of Toms shoes, and second place would receive tickets to the Festival of Trees.
I decided to take up the creative challenge and make a few ornaments.
The first ornament I made out of a Dreyers ice cream tub. It was mint fudge brownie, in case you were curious, and it was delicious. I turned the empty and cleaned tub upside down and cut a window into it to make a shadow-box effect. I painted the outside gold and the inside purple to keep with the them (but you could paint it in red, green, or whatever color scheme you’d like to follow). Pulling off the lid I made a CI cutout from a paperboard Pop-Tarts box, and propped it up with a bit more paperboard. (This could easily be substituted for a family photo or a Christmas-related cutout for a more traditional ornament.) I put purple and gold glitter on the letters for a bit of sparkle. Once the pop-up cutout was sufficiently dried to the inside of the lid, I put it back on the tub for a shadow-box effect. I painted a coyote paw print on the top of the ornament, and the school seal on the bottom of the lid. I finished with a string loop to hang it by.
The next ornament I made out of an empty Almay foundation bottle. It was a battle to get it cleaned, but with some soap, water, nail polish remover, q-tips and a paintbrush I finally removed the oily remnants of the foundation. Using scissors, I drilled a hole through the plastic cap to put a string loop through. During the process I realized there was an inner and outer plastic liner on the cap, so I took the opportunity to paint the inner one purple and pop it back into the clear outer cap. Then it was a simple matter of filling the glass jar with purple and gold beads, sequins, glitter, and water. When shaken it has a nice sparkly effect.
The final three ornaments were made out of plastic bottles, like soda or water bottles. Using scissors I cut each bottle into thirds, discarding the middle for recycling or use in another project. The top and bottom thirds should pop together fairly easily. I hotglued the top and bottom together to make a stubby globe-like container. I then filled one bottle with lavender feathers and glued on a matching ribbon. Another was filled with purple tinsel and decorated with a gold ribbon and bow. The third was decoupaged with gold foil and accented with a worn out bracelet. I painted all of the bottle caps with matching nail polish and drilled holes in them for string loops, similarly to the other ornaments. I liked these ones the most, because they were the easiest to make, and could be made in mass quantities in a variety of colors and schemes.
I turned in my entries Friday, so now the waiting begins to see how I did!
*Update Dec. 1*: I found out I won the competition! I’ll receive the first place prize of a pair of TOMS shoes, assuming they follow through. I’m so excited!