I am not one to spend big bucks on seasonal decor, but I wanted to have a cute Easter wreath for our front door this Spring. For this craft project, I challenged myself to use only materials that I already had, to create this completely recycled and upcycled DIY Easter wreath.
In order to also be reusable for more than a few weeks, I planned to make the ears semi-easy to remove. I plan to turn the wreath on it’s side and have a cute crescent floral for the rest of the Spring season.
Lately I have been thinking about ways to use more of the single use plastics and packaging that filters through our home, so I focused on trying to use those. You may have different materials, and that’s great!
I gathered all kinds of things, from used dryer sheets to packing paper, not knowing exactly what I would use, but knowing that one element HAD to be a single use plastic.
What I ended up using:
- Paper towel/toilet paper plastic packaging
- Modelling foam
- Old wreath hoop
- Bath mat
- Canvas tote
- Acrylic craft paint & brushes
- Hot glue and crazy glue
Recycled Plastic Leaves
I chose to try and create something out of the plastic from paper towel or toilet paper packaging. These items represent a lot of our “recycling” that actually ends up being shipped overseas or incinerated. Of course it’s no better off in the landfill, so why not try to make something out of it?
I never noticed before this, that the top and bottom of the package are different than the rest of it. The bags seem to have heat sealed layers of plastic in these spots, so they are thicker and textured. It makes for a better structure for crafts.
I wasn’t sure what to expect but I started by cutting out a couple of test leaves. They looked alright so I folded the plastic accordion style so that more could be cut at once. I didn’t use a template, just went for a basic shape. Some variation is probably for the best.
To say I was impressed with how well the texture worked for leaves, would be an understatement! I cut the whole top and bottom of the bag into leaves, and then painted them with green acrylic paint.
The plastic took on the acrylic really well and It took no time at all to dry. After that I flipped them and painted the other side.
Recycled Plastic Roses
While the leaves were drying, I tried my hand at making some roses out of the thinner plastic. I copied a tutorial for paper roses.
After cutting a square out of the plastic, I trimmed it into a circle. Then I cut the circle into a long spiral. I ended up rolling the plastic around my finger and using some double stick tape as I went. The plastic is flimsier than paper, and a bit slippery. It still turned out surprisingly cute!
The roses were more difficult to paint. Using a small brush, I was able to dab the paint down into all visible areas. Make sure you allow to fully dry before recoating, or the paint will want to peel off. I definitely wouldn’t advise you to use the parts of the plastic that have high contrast text! It was more difficult to cover. I just didn’t think about it!
I had a gold hoop already that I purchased from Michael’s in the fall for about $4. The wreath needed something to pad under the leaves, but I didn’t have any floral foam. I dug through my donation bin and pulled out the old bath mat.
I cut approximately 2” strip off of one end of the bathmat – about enough to wrap ⅓ of the hoop. After spot gluing it along the front of the hoop, I wrapped each end around to make a crescent shape.
Starting the Easter Wreath
In my craft supplies I had two lone white sparkly roses. I started by placing those, and my home-made roses, in the right spots first. (Somewhat centred under the ears.) My goal was to have one side a little heavier than the other. The asymmetry will give me the option to remove the ears later and have a Spring wreath. Multi-tasking! After the roses, I started adding the leaves with hot glue.
I started by gluing the leaves in fairly tidy layers. The occasional one I set slightly off, to create a more natural look. Around the roses I just glued where I thought looked good. I found it easiest, and best looking, to place two or three leaves at a time. When this was done it was time to make some accents!
Making Recycled Plastic Accent Florals
Modelling foam is one of my favourite things. I love the texture and it dries so light and fluffy! To make some berries and small florals, I stripped the back structure off of some fake eucalyptus leaves. I would use these to hold my colourful accents. The leaves and foam may not be something that you have. Something like playdough and twigs (or wire) would definitely work!
The modelling foam was shaped in a few ways and I actually liked all of them. The small groups of little seed clusters were my last invention, so I only ended up using it once. The elongated teardrop shapes and little berries I used quite a few of. The shapes dried quickly and took to paint easily. I rolled them around on the paper towel with my paint brush to coat.
Attaching the Shapes to Stems
Before the berry shapes were fully hard, I poked the stem into them to make a spot for the glue. (I used crazy glue to affix both the berries and the other shapes.)
The teardrops I glued and tapped onto the front of the stems instead of poking them.
On the end of a stem without the “branches,” I glued all the seedy clusters together. It had been a long day of crafting, so I didn’t want to make more. Had I thought about it earlier, the seeds were a good idea!
Make sure the paint is thoroughly dry before you try gluing! I was impatient and the barely dry pieces didn’t want to stick.
Adding the Accents to the Wreath
I decorated around the clusters of roses with my accents, placing them wherever it created a good balance. I tried to keep it slightly asymmetrical with more decorations on one side. These were affixed with hot glue like the rest of the decorations on the wreath. I only used crazy glue to add the accents to the stems because they were so small. If you are good with a glue gun you could probably use it instead.
That’s the whole wreath part sorted!
Creating Easter Bunny Ears
Full disclosure, I was originally going to order a headband with large ears and add those instead. Upon digging through my craft supplies, I decided to upcycle a canvas tote I found, and keep this project free!
I cut the tote approximately in half lengthwise and cut the handles off. Then I cut the strip in half widthwise. I am not a perfectionist, so I freehand cut the shape out of each square, trying to keep them even.
Each triangle was painted pink and then I hot glued to tote handles around the outside of each ear. The canvas was decently sturdy on its own, but for additional structure, I hot glued cardboard to the back. I tried to attach the ears to the back of the wreath as little as possible. My goal was to make them easy to remove after Easter. Unfortunately, they kept wanting to fall backwards. I had to use more glue than I wanted, but they are sturdy now. It will just be slightly more difficult to convert for Spring!
The Completed DIY Easter (and Spring!) Wreath
This project, while it definitely took me some time, was surprisingly easy! I am really happy with the results. It is super cute and colourful for Easter! If I do end up taking the ears off and rotating it, it’s also a pretty wreath for Spring!
I haven’t sprayed my project yet with a protectant, but I will before it ends up outside! I want to make sure that the paint doesn’t start flaking off the plastic. That’s really my only fear with this one.
I hope you enjoyed this project and it got your creative juices flowing! How can you make something out of your recycled and upcycled materials? I forgot to mention that even the paint colours were almost all mixes to prevent buying any colours. Don’t let your supplies limit you!
If you liked this, please give it a share on Pinterest! As a newer blogger, that really helps me out!
For some craft ideas to do with your kids, see my post: 9 Fun (Cheap or Free) Easy Indoor Kid’s Activities