Upcycling is the art of creating new works of art out of old things that we no longer use. Regardless of whether it’s old furniture or worn-out clothes – with the right upcycling inspiration you can create a new favourite in no time. Christmas time is a great time to be creative! We will introduce you to some upcycling ideas for Christmas decorations that you can easily craft with fabric or make from old or worn-out knitted sweaters or woollen scarves.
When the temperatures outside slide into single-digits, it is time to get your beloved knitted clothes out from summer storage. This is then you might notice some of your winter clothes being a little worse for wear. You don’t necessarily have to give your sweater to the old-clothes collection centre as you can upcycle it into a fancy Christmas decoration made of fabric. You can create space in your closet with a clear conscience.
We want our upcycling ideas with knitwear to work out perfectly for you, so we are giving you a few tips that you should keep in mind when crafting with fabric and knitwear:
If you cut up a knitted sweater or a woollen scarf, make sure that it rests loosely on your work surface. There should be no tension on the fabric (e.g. hanging over the edge of the table).
It is best to use fabric scissors if you want to cut through knitted fabric. Cut as close as possible to the tabletop so that the fabric doesn’t warp too much.
Try to move cut knitted fabrics as little as possible. This prevents the fabric from fraying at the edges.
It is best to use clips or clamps to attach your pieces of fabric. Pins can easily slip if you work with thick-knitted material.
If you want to sew up an edge neatly so that it does not fray, you should use a sewing machine. Simply fold the cut fabric about a centimetre inwards and sew the edge with a zigzag stitch. The needle should hop back and forth between the single-layer and the double-layer. If you don’t have a sewing machine at hand, you can glue the folded edge with textile glue.
The Christmas wreath is a classic that should not be missing this Christmas. Whether it’s a decoration on the front door or a centrepiece on the set Christmas table – a beautiful Christmas wreath is always eye-catching. With the help of this upcycling idea for Christmas, you can breathe new life into an old sweater or scarf and easily make a fancy Christmas wreath yourself.
a wreath made of straw, Styrofoam, floral foam, wicker etc.
an old sweater or scarf
fabric scissors & decorative material
For method 1: wool in a similar colour as your sweater
For method 2: needle and thread or textile glue
This method creates a pleated look for your wreath. You don’t have to sew anything for this, just follow these steps:
1. The best way to prepare a sweater is to unravel it at the thick side seam and cut the sleeves cleanly. Then spread it out in front of you and divide the sweater into four equal strips. The strips should be wide enough to cover the front part of the ring. If you are using an old scarf that is wide enough, you can cut it once in the middle.
2. Next, wrap the wool around your blank wreath two or three times. Then take the first strip and place it horizontally over the wool so that the fabric covers the wreath. Now wrap the thread around the fabric twice to hold it in place.
3. Now pleat the fabric and make sure that the first fold covers your threads. Now wrap the wool twice behind your pleats. Make the next fold hide the thread that you just wrapped and then continue to work your way along the wreath. When you reach the end of the strip of fabric, wrap it twice with the next strip to make a smooth transition.
Did you know that..
You can use this method to spruce up your winter outfit. Simply wrap scraps of old fabric around old bracelets to make them into eye-catching Christmas accessories.
If you prefer a wreath with a smooth surface, you can cover it with a long and wide piece of knitted fabric. Here’s how to do it:
Take a piece of knitted fabric that is large and wide enough to completely cover the wreath.
Wrap the Christmas wreath in your fabric and pull it tight so that there are no creases on the front.
Sew both ends on the back of the wreath with a needle and thread. Simply pierce one side and then zigzag back and forth between the two sides. The elasticity of the wool makes it easy to sew it tight.
Once you have completely wrapped or sewn your wreath, it’s time to decorate it. You can attach wooden ornaments or small baubles or work with natural materials such as fir branches. Of course, you can also turn the Christmas wreath into an Advent wreath and attach four holders for the Advent candles. There are no limits to your creativity.
Even the most beautiful baubles start to look old after a few years. Flaking paint or even a small hole are not uncommon. However, you can give your old baubles a new life with a few fabric leftovers! Just use our crafting ideas for upcycling Christmas baubles.
Here are the materials that you will need for upcycling Christmas baubles:
old baubles or balls made of wood, Styrofoam, etc.
fabric leftovers, best from thick knitwear
needles and thread
Bear in mind that...
If you are working with a broken bauble, be careful not to injure yourself on the sharp edges.
To ensure a perfect finish to your baubles, the first step is to cut the knitwear in such a way that it completely covers the ball. It is better if you cut more fabric than you need and trim the ends afterwards. Place the balls in the middle of your fabric and gather the ends together over the ball. Wrap a nice ribbon as close to the ball as possible around the ends and tie a decorative bow. Next, shorten any protruding ends or decorate the baubles with glitter or fir sprigs.
Whether as a modern decoration on the Christmas tree, or as an individual tag for creatively wrapped Christmas presents, or as textile Christmas decorations on the front door – this Christmas upcycling idea is always an absolute highlight. Knitted clothes work great with these creative ideas as well as other clothes such as old T-shirts or shirts.
Here are the materials that you will need for making these textile Christmas decorations:
old knitted clothes or old T-shirt, shirt, etc.
scissors & hot glue
possibly decorative ribbon, fir sprigs, little bells, etc.
Upcycling instructions for the textile Christmas ornaments:
1. Spread the fabric flat in front of you. Place the embroidery hoop on top and trim the fabric generously. Leave about half a hands width of material around the embroidery frame.
2. Take your trimmed piece of fabric and place it evenly over the inner hoop. Then place the outer hoop over the inner hoop. Now pull the fabric straight and fasten everything by turning the clamp screw.
Tip: If the knitwear is thicker than T-shirt fabric, it is worth sewing the fabric part tightly on the back of the inner hoop so that nothing can slip. If the fabric is still too thick and you cannot turn the clamp screw of the outer hoop, then tie the ends of the outer hoop together with a cable tie or a thick wool thread.
3. Trim the protruding ends of the fabric evenly.
4. Choose your favourite designs from the cut-out sheet and draw them on craft cardboard, felt or transfer paper. After you have cut them out, glue them to your Christmas ornament with hot glue.
5. Lastly, attach a decorative ribbon with a pretty bow to the clamp screw and tie a few fir branches to it for decoration.
Did you know that..
Large embroidery hoops are ideal for ideas such as nameplates on the front door. You can write your name in the middle with a textile pen and spread the Christmas spirit in the hallway. You can use smaller embroidery hoops as sustainable gift tags that can be used year after year.
These Christmas upcycling ideas are ideal for making crafts with kids. If you have younger children, you may need to help with stringing the embroidery hoops. The kids will love the decorating part of these DIY projects!
Modern, cute, colourful decorative Christmas trees can be made quickly and easily from small pieces of cardboard and an old sweater. You will be able to create new and sustainable decorations this Christmas in no time and give these cute gifts to friends and family.
Step-by-step instructions can be found in our craft PDF.
You can use your imagination to decorate the finished Christmas trees. For example, you can hang small baubles in the fabric or glue on decorative bows. Every Christmas tree is sure to be a unique one!
We hope you will enjoy making these crafts!