5 Ideas for Place Cards
Holidays Handmade: Decor Ideas

Floral Recycled Holiday Home Decor

This guest post is by Natalie Elphinstone.  She is sharing two fantastic projects that transform your garbage into wonderful home decor for any season!

For the past few years my Mum and my Aunt have been taking in turns hosting our big family Christmas dinner. In all honesty, it's turning into a bit of friendly competition as they keep trying to outdo each other in the cooking/hosting/decorating stakes. It's currently at the point where my Mum had asked me and my sister to start thinking about ideas for a theme in March!!

Now it just so happened that I won a copy of GreenCraft Magazine around about the same time and it was just so inspiring that I automatically came up with the idea of having a "Recycled Christmas" as our theme this year. And I've dutifully set about making some very simple decorative items for our party.

First up was a wreath for the door. I cheated a little bit when I decided the easiest way was to buy a foam base for my wreath.

1 wreath
So I painted my foam wreath with a gold acrylic spray-paint, not being aware that some chemical in the paint would eat away at the foam and leave a result like the swiss-cheese appearance you see above. Oh well! It's going to get covered up anyway, but perhaps you might want to do it the old fashioned way if you want to avoid this :-)

2 punched-shapes
I love my punches! I don't think a scrappy project goes by without me cracking out some Martha Stewart :-) So I punched about a million (or at least that's what it felt like!) shapes from vintage book pages and a brown paper bag that I got as packaging.

3 group-shot
Then I went about layering up lots of different shapes and securing them with a pin in the centre. Each of these flowers has at least 10 layers, but I didn't bother counting each one, I simply just grabbed a couple from each stack of my punched shapes at random.

4 flowers
Next you want to scrunch up the layers of paper to give it a bit more texture. I also sprayed a few with Irridescent Gold Glimmermist, and sprinkled some glitter on others. It's quite a similar method as Julie uses in her tutorial on newspaper flowers which you can read here.

5 finished-side
Since I used pins in the centre of flowers (instead of brads or buttons) I could then very easily stick them into my foam wreath to make a lovely arrangement. And if I wasn't happy with the placement, then it was all too easy to pull them out and try again. Lastly, tie a great big bow around the top to give it a bit of pizazz!

6 finished
As you can see the materials and colours I have chosen are fairly monotone, but that's because along with our theme of a Recycled Christmas we've chosen cream, kraft and gold as our colour-scheme. But there's nothing stopping you from using more traditional supplies like scrapbook paper in red and green, or try other materials like fabric or felt for example. Go wherever your imagination takes you!

Earlier in the year I saw a photo on Elizabeth Kartchner’s blog of some decorations they had at Spark. I wanted to try and work out how they had done some plastic flowers I saw which they had hanging in the entryways. I made my version into table decorations instead.

Firstly hunt through your recycling pile and pull out a bunch of plastic bottles of different sizes and shapes. Make sure they're nice and clean of course!

Wash them, pull the labels off, and cut them in half (or at least, cut about 3 or 4 inches off the top) keeping the top end. Don't worry about the coloured plastic rings - it's not worth the hassle trying to cut them off..... believe me! And we're only going to paint over the top of them anyway.

Next cut slits in them and round the bottom edges to create different kinds of petal shapes.

You really don't need to get pedantic and start measuring things or using a template or anything like that. I think the beauty is in the randomness.

This is the really fun part!!

Pull out your trusty heat gun and turn that thing in the direction of your plastic bottles. Watch how quickly each of the petals melts and warps and curls.

WARNING: you do need to be very careful with this step because melted plastic can get VERY hot and can drip and burn things including your hands. So please do this with extra caution - go very slow because it doesn't take much to melt the plastic, and you might want to think about wearing gloves. 

Play around with different size bottles, different petal designs and different ways of melting the plastic (for example the petals will melt in different directions if you point the heat gun from above or below). And when they've cooled use some acrylic spray paint to give them a quick and even coat of colour.

And here's the finished product. I used my hot glue gun to glue a stick from the garden onto the bottom as a stem, and a scrap of tinsel in the middle to hide the fact that I hot-glued a stick from the garden onto the bottom as a stem!! To continue our recycled theme I've even used an empty bottle as a vase, covered in newspaper sprayed with gold paint. Not quite sure this is the ultimate plan of presentation on the Christmas table, but it's good enough for now! Promise to show you photos of the day, hey?!

Thanks so much to Julie for letting me share some of my projects for our Recycled Christmas. Of course, this is only the beginning!! Some of my other projects include aluminium-can angels, magazine Christmas trees and cute little felt name badges. And there are plenty more in the pipe-lines too. If you would like to see more, please feel free to stop by my blog. I'd love to hear some of your ideas too!

112-photo-of-me-lower-res My name is Natalie Elphinstone and I live in Melbourne, Australia – a city which regularly experiences all four seasons in a day. I am truly blessed to be married to a man who fully supports my paper addiction, and to have two beautiful daughters who comprise the great majority of my scrapping subjects.

When I'm not busy as a doctor training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology you'll find me making mess of a much better kind - with glue and paint and ink! I find it hard to define my style because I like to try out everything and my design process changes all the time.  However – two things remain constant; journaling and hand-made embellishments. I believe in incorporating a certain amount of writing on almost every page because I think it’s important to preserve the memories as well as the pretty products. And I love to hand make embellishments, usually out of scraps readily available on my very messy desk!

I currently design for Handmade by Suzanne, and From Screen 2 Scrap and have particularly enjoyed being a Guest Designer when the occasion arises. I have had several publications in the Australian magazines, as well as online magazines. My most recent scrappy highlight was being a featured artist on the Sassafras blog.

I enjoy sharing my art and my life on my blog ‘Scrap Doctor’.