Make Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

By Lindsey, Sustainable Fashion Volunteer, posted 14/12/21

Prevent textile waste this Christmas with Shrub


Santa Beaver Christmas tree decorations made with fabric from Shrub Coop.


With Christmas drawing nearer, the pressure to shop is steadily growing. This year, instead of adding to the mountains of unwanted gifts that will end up in charity shops or landfill before the end of January, why not get creative and upcycle some textile gifts?

Some of the following ideas require a bit of sewing know-how but others can be completed without a needle and thread!

  • With the rise in popularity of gardening during lockdown, an easy planter made from old footwear might make a very popular gift. For a low maintenance indoor plant, you can add succulents while old wellies are a great option for the garden and can be planted with anything you like! https://wonderfuldiy.com/old-shoe-planters/
  • With only an old t-shirt, a pair of scissors and sometimes (but not always) a needle and thread, you can make an amazing tote bag. Patterned t-shirts are good for this project and band t-shirts are even better! No sew instructions: https://www.kenarry.com/upcycle-t-shirt-tote-bag/ Sew instructions: https://muslinandmerlot.blogspot.com/2015/06/upcycled-t-shirt-tote.html
  • While face masks are nobody’s favourite item, it looks like we might be wearing them for a while. There are literally hundreds of tutorials online showing you how to make facemasks and some of them don’t even need any sewing. (Look for patterns that have at least two layers of fabric which is the current government guidance for effective face coverings).
  • You can use almost any type of fabric to make a rag rug and they can be wonderfully colourful or stylishly muted depending on the resources you have available. They do take a little bit of time though, so if you’re aiming for Christmas 2021 you’d better get started! The same process can be followed to make coasters and placemats/trivets if you’re short on either time or scraps. https://upcyclemystuff.com/9-ways-to-make-a-rag-rug-youll-want-to-try/
  • For a creative gift with bohemian vibes, you can make fabric feathers and tie them into a garland. You’ll need woven fabric scraps for this one, with tartan and tweed working especially well. https://www.pillarboxblue.com/diy-feathers-from-upcycled-fabric/
  • Using only a pair of jeans and some stuffing (you can either use old rags or stuffing from an old pillow), you can make a useful and attractive draught excluder. This tutorial also shows how to stencil it with a message, but you can keep it plain too. If you don’t have a pair of jeans ready to upcycle, please come to the SHRUB Swapshop – we have plenty! https://www.hometalk.com/diy/repair/air-conditioning/upcycled-denim-draught-excluders-door-and-window–22097378

Our Swapshop has an abundance of scrap fabrics that you can choose from to make your projects - drop by our Zero Waste Hub to rescue save some textile waste!


A customer looks through our haberdashery section in the Zero Waste Hub.


We’d love to hear how you get on if you make any of these projects, and let us know if you have any other upcycling projects you’re working on.

SHRUB Coop is supported through a combination of grant funding and generous donations from our community. We’re grateful for all their support. Find out more about our grant funders by clicking on the logos above.