Nothing new for Christmas

Create new things from home-made items these holidays.

Did you know that Australians use more than 150,000kms of wrapping paper a year? That is enough to go around the world 4 times! (source). Christmas does not have to be expensive, wasteful or plastic-filled. You can make beautiful decorations from magazines, catalogues, newspapers or old books.

Join local artist Gretchen Keelty online at 10am on Monday 14 December, to learn how to make gorgeous upcycled, compostable, plastic-free decorations and garlands, gifts and more. The workshops are supported by Sunshine Coast Council’s Living Smart program, fabric – Slow Fashion, Artful Living program. Fabric celebrates the extraordinary talents of our region’s artists, designers and change-makers. We shine a light on ethically focussed practice, inspired design and resourceful living. Fabric celebrates the extraordinary talents of our region’s artists, designers and change-makers.

Gretchen is a local artist with a Masters of Fine Art Production. Follow her adventures @gretchenkeeltyartist.

Enjoy these four hands-on workshop videos.

Plastic-free Christmas tinsel and decorations


DIY Festive Gifts - Plastic Free Christmas Tinsel and Decorations

You will need these items:

  • any paper – magazines, newspaper, old book pages, old assignments
  • crochet or quilter's cotton
  • large sewing needle
  • sturdy paper scissors
  • cardboard (cereal packet is perfect) and pen if you want to create a template

Reusable gift wrapping and thoughtful gifting


DIY Festive Gifts - Reusable Wrapping Paper and Thoughtful Gifting

You will need these items:

To make a gift box:

  • box appropriate to the size of your gift made of cardboard or wood – shoe box, chocolate box or product packaging
  • glue – a glue bristle brush will make it easier to use
  • paper scissors
  • paper – magazines, old maps, newspaper, used wrapping paper, old calendars
  • varnish can also be used if you want to create a proper decoupage topcoat

DIY festive gifts for your dog or cat

DIY Festive Gifts - For your dog and cat

You will need these items to make pet gifts:

Crunchy dog toy:

  • old sock (cotton ones are compostable)
  • plastic bottle or cups (bio cups for compostable option)
  • scissors (if using cups)

Tug-of-war rope toy:

  • old t-shirt/t-shirts (cotton is best)
  • fabric scissors
  • a weight and clip or a person to hold the end while you braid

Cat rod toy:

  • stick/bamboo (or can be tied to back or chair)
  • fabric scraps and/or cotton pompoms and/or t-shirt cut into strips
  • large sewing needle and crochet or quilter's cotton and/or elastic

Handmade heat pack and eye pillows for healthy gifting

DIY Festive Gifts - Handmade Heat Pack and Eye Pillows 

You will need these items:

Heat pack or eye pillow with washable cover:

  • the inside is made using a woven cotton fabric such as an old pillowcase or sheet
  • the cover is made from any cotton fabric, such as an old shirt or t-shirt 
  • filling: can use plain rice, 
  • approximately 1.5kg is needed for a heat pack, one cupful for an eye pillow
  • the packs work best when half-filled
  • funnel (can be made from recycled cardboard)
  • sewing machine and fabric scissors
  • a few drops of essential oil can be added to the rice for a scented heat pack.

Eye pillow fabric sizes:

  • inside: 2 x cotton weave fabric 12 x 22cm
  • cover: 2 x cotton fabric 14 x 26cm

Shoulder or neck heat pack fabric sizes:

  • inside: 2 x cotton weave fabric 20 x 38cm
  • cover: 22 x 46cm

Tummy or lower back heat pack fabric sizes:

  • inside: 2 x cotton weave fabric 30 x 35cm
  • cover: 2 x cotton fabric 32 x 42 cm

Sunshine Coast Libraries members have loaned handmade how-to titles 15,848 times!  Enjoy free access 24/7 with your library card. To get the full repurposing experience download the free Libraries App to reserve these little reading gems.


Have hours of handmade inspiration with eBooks anywhere, anytime:

Contact the eLibrary Helpdesk for help downloading eBooks and more.


Fill up on great upcycling gift ideas without leaving the house with eMagazines:

  • Handmade Celebrations
  • Simple Solutions
  • Your Family
  • The Simple Things
  • Do It Yourself

To get started using free eMagazines download the RBDigital app, select Sunshine Coast Libraries and enter your member number and password.

On the web

Want more? Discover quick and easy re-gifting ideas:

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