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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Upcycle Easter with 5 Eco-Friendly Crafts

By Christina Katz

Upcycling refers to finding fresh uses for old things in ways that increase the value of the items. The victory is when you create instead of consume. Once you upcycle your Easter, your kids will not only learn an important lesson that will last a lifetime, but they will likely start begging for more opportunities to re-imagine everyday items that would otherwise be discarded.

So what are you waiting for? Here are five ideas to get you started.

“Welcome Spring” Banner With a scissors or pinking shears cut 18 banner-shaped triangles from leftover newspaper. Lay leftover garden twine, string, or thin ribbon across the length of a table. Then, starting at one end, fold the widest end of each triangle over the string and glue it with a glue stick. Write letters on each banner to spell “Welcome Spring,” leaving a banner blank in between words, and let the kids color in the letters. You’ll end up with a couple extra triangles on hand in case of errors. Hang your banner where it can be viewed prominently until summer arrives, then fold flat and put it away for next year.

Colorful Candleholders Collect recyclable wide-mouth jars of all shapes and sizes. Run your glass jars through the dishwasher, removing any labels and tags first. Then gather up whatever colorful leftover tissue paper you have and tear it into half-inch squares. Using Mod Podge or white glue that has been diluted to half strength with water, coat the jar with a thin layer of glue, then add a colorful layer of overlapping tissue pieces as you go. When the jar is covered, go over the tissue layer once more with a thin coat of glue. When completely dry, add a tea light to each lantern and arrange them on the mantle or in the center of your dining table.

Bookish Eggs It’s time for some of those plastic Easter eggs that have been piling up over the years to get a literary makeover. When grubby hands or a spill damages one of your children’s favorite books, dry it by hanging it open, then cut out the clean pages. Cut each page into a strip that is just a bit wider than the length of the egg and long enough to go all the way around the middle. Paint just the middle of the egg with Mod Podge and roll the paper into a tube around the egg. Seal the tube with more Mod Podge tucked under the overlap and let dry while you move on to the next egg. Then come back around and make straight cuts a half-inch apart into the ends of the paper, cutting from each end of the egg. This way the pieces will smooth flat onto the tapered ends with more Mod Podge. Let dry and, voila, your children will remember their favorite books each year!

Tiny Toy Wreath This playful wreath is a perfect way to create a new home for tiny plastic toys. Start with a wire wreath shape and wrap it in a long strip of old fabric using a hot glue gun to secure fabric to frame. Have kids help with the selection and sorting of tiny toys, and designate one person in charge of gluing the toys to the wreath. Let dry, then hang. Create one shared family wreath or create a tiny-toy wreath for each child’s room.

Terrarium Garden Starters Why should the turtles have all the fun? Use an old fish tank or an old glass baking dish (from home or the local thrift store) lined with one inch of gravel and two inches of lightweight potting soil. Push sections of leftover cardboard egg cartons into the soil and fill with a little more soil. Plant seed starters for the flower or veggie garden in the egg “pots.” They can be pulled out after they sprout and replanted outdoors. Decorate your terrarium with cut patches of moss or grass from outdoors. Send children out to gather bark and sticks. Then let your child finish the look with rocks, shells, and old toys. Place your terrarium in bright but indirect light and keep well misted with water from a spray bottle until seeds sprout.

Author, journalist, and writing coach Christina Katz never gets tired of making a fresh start every spring in fun and creative ways.