5 DIY New Year’s Decorations

Can you believe it’s almost New Year’s Eve? It feels like 2011 went by in a flash!

If you’re planning a New Year’s shindig, you’re probably sorting out your decorations and planning a trip to the party store. The trouble with those store-bought decorations is that they’re often made from unsustainable materials, like plastic or paper from old growth forests, and shipped from far-off factories to the big box store.

Instead of shopping for New Year’s decorations, you can whip up your very own! Not only are these DIY New Year’s decorations better for the planet, but handmade decorations have heart, and you can customize them to match your party theme exactly. A win all around!

Next>> Deck the walls with recycled bunting!

Image Credit: Champagne Toast photo via Thinkstock

pine cone bunting

1. Recycled Bunting

Bunting, or garland, is a great way to add some festive cheer to your New Year’s party. You don’t need sewing skills to whip up your own handmade garland, either, you can string up cranberries and pine cones for a rustic touch or use cut triangles out of junk mail and hot glue them to a length of reclaimed ribbon.

If you are sewing-inclined, there are lots of fun ways that you can make your own bunting. My favorite is to use pinking shears to cut out the triangles, then sew them to ribbon, leaving 1-2″ of space between each triangle. Easy peasy, and it looks so festive!

You can dress up your DIY bunting by gluing or sewing letters onto each triangle to spell out a custom message, like “Happy 2012!”

Next>> Sparkly ornament trees

Image Credit: Pine Cone bunting photo via Thinkstock

ornament trees

2. Ornament Trees

Cut flowers often come with a hefty environmental footprint. Those beautiful blooms use tons of pesticides and many gallons of water to grow, and they’re shipped from all over the world. With a little crafty know-how, you can fill your vases with a much smaller footprint.

Don’t put away your Christmas ornaments yet! Head out to the backyard or the nearest park and collect some fallen branches in different sizes. You can arrange them in pretty vases and hang some sparkly ornaments from the ends to create eye-catching centerpieces without a cut flower in sight!

Next>> Lucky candle holders

Image Credit: Ornament Trees by Becky Striepe

black eyed peas

3. Lucky Candle Holders

Black eyed peas are considered good luck on new year’s, so why not incorporate those little legumes into your upcycled decor?

Hit the thrift store or maybe even your own cabinets for mismatched teacups or small, pretty rocks glasses. Fill each glass 1/3 to 1/2 of the way with black eyed peas, then set a small soy votive or other small candle into each one. You can scatter your candles throughout the party where you want to add some sparkly.

The candlelight catches really nicely in the ornament trees from the previous page.

Next: Keep the good luck rolling!

Image Credit: Black Eyed Peas photo via Thinkstock

collard greens

4. A Lucky Collard Bouquet

If the ornament trees weren’t your thing, there are still options that you can use to avoid buying those cut flowers!

You’ll still need some fallen branches for this project. Instead of hanging ornaments on them, though, you’ll raid your fabric and vintage button stash for some little scraps to create fabric flowers. Arrange them in vases with one or two leaves of collard greens, another lucky New Year’s food.

The best part about this arrangement? You can stash the flowers for next time you need some DIY decor, and cook up the collards on New Year’s day!

Next>> What party is complete without party hats?

Image Credit: Collard Greens photo via Thinkstock

pile of paper

Homemade Party Hats

You don’t have to hit a big box store for party hats. With this simple template, you can turn whatever reclaimed paper and cardboard you have handy into sweet party hats for your guests.  To make these hats even more special, try painting or collaging on them to add a little oomph. Your guests will love your custom hats – they have so much more character than ones you can buy at the store!

Bonus Project: Simple Noisemakers

If you have some of those black eyed peas left over from filling your votive holders, you can turn them into sweet little noisemakers for your guests! Just cut a paper towel roll into 3 equal pieces and paint or collage on the tubes to decorate. When the tubes are dry, fill them up with black eyed peas, use rubber bands to secure fabric tightly over the ends, and get ready to shake in the new year!

Are you guys whipping up any DIY New Year’s decorations? I’d love to hear more ideas in the comments!

Image Credit: Pile of Paper photo via Thinkstock

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Elisa F.
Elisa F.1 years ago

Kind of kooky...thanks for sharing.

Dan and Tina Partlow
Daniel Partlow2 years ago

Thanks for the ideas.

Harshiita Sharma
Harshiita Sharma2 years ago


Kelly Rogers
Kelly Rogers3 years ago


Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener3 years ago


Cody L.
Cody Lupardus3 years ago

No New Years party here. Did chill with a friend though, but not because of the holiday.

Sarah M.
Sarah M.3 years ago


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago

liked some of this

Shan D.
Shan D.3 years ago

The ornament trees look nifty. It's not a good idea to decorate with anything edible if you have pets.

Anjali Dahiya
Anjali Dahiya3 years ago

thanks for the advice....