Ever thought you could save the planet every time you gave a gift? Eco-friendly gifts keep on giving—by sharing memories and helping the environment. Friends and family will love them, and you'll love making them. It's a win for you and for the earth. So dig into your storage unit or garage and see what you can find. All these sustainable gift ideas are made from upcycled goods—and prove why your stuff is Made to Keep (or at least made to save, upcycle, and give as an awesome gift).
Clear ornaments can be filled with just about anything, so get upcycling! For a wedding gift, place important pieces of the invitation inside. You can do the same with baby shower, wedding shower, or even birthday invitations. Small items like seashells from your friend's favorite beach or cut-outs of a map of your favorite places also create memorable ornaments.
Wine Cork Décor
If you've been saving wine corks, you can use them to create all kinds of green gifts. Make a Valentine's Day gift, Christmas tree, or wedding gift. Your wine cork collection lends itself to making bulletin boards, of course, but also placemats, stamps, and coasters.
Wine Bottle Gifts
What is it about wine bottles that makes them so perfect for gifts made out of recycled materials? They're easy to save and their shape and material makes them ideal to turn into many different items. We've written an entire blog about things you can make, from vases to bird feeders.
Decoupaged Mason Jars
"Decoupage" is a fancy word, and your friends will definitely be impressed when you make them these crafty mason jars. You can use a tattered copy of your BFF's favorite book, a map of their favorite places, or even napkins or party supplies from their baby shower or wedding shower. Reuse jam or sauce jars for the ultimate recycled gifts.
Need a sentimental wedding gift that won't break your budget? Plan ahead and save matchbooks from places like the bachelor/bachelorette party, wedding shower venue, or the hotel that wedding guests will be staying at. Then turn them into these adorable matchbook notepads!
Street Sign Art
Everyone has places that mean something to them, and a sign like this one captures that sentimental feeling—while also being an artsy centerpiece. Dig out old license plates and found road signs and embellish them with markers or spray paint and stencils. It's the perfect meaningful décor for a patio, porch, or man cave.
Comic Book Table
If you've saved old comic books, this end table is a great upcycled gift idea for the nerd in your life. (And if you've got an old table in your storage unit, even better!) Just saturate your cut-outs in water and varnish them to the table. Voila!
Ticket Stub Wall Art
Looking for gift ideas for eco-conscious music lovers? Lots of people save old ticket stubs, and you can easily turn them into wall art that the concert fan in your life will love. Just buy a poster frame and get to work! Not enough ticket stubs for a collage? You can turn them into magnets instead. Simply cover the tickets in paper glaze and super glue them onto magnets.
Upcycled Gifts Made from Records
Dig into your old vinyl collection, because there are tons of upcycled gifts you can make from records. Two of our favorites are coasters and clocks. Record coasters are easier to make, while record clocks are for advanced DIYers, as you'll need a drill, among other tools.
Photos are the perfect meaningful gift for just about anyone on your list. Turn them into coasters and your lucky friend can have a drink and enjoy a walk down memory lane. The coasters in this photo are made from a frame kit, but you can also make your own on ceramic tiles.
Upcycled Pot Holders
Upcycle baby blankets or your outgrown Star Trek T-shirt into an eco-friendly gift with a memorable twist. Pot holders are easy to make, as long as you have a sewing machine and an iron. Your friend will think of you every time they bake—maybe they'll bring you some cookies, too!
There are many different ways to make sweater bags—just search the internet and you'll find it's one of the most popular sustainable gifts out there. Make it meaningful by using an old college sweatshirt, sports jersey, or baby blankets. It's a gift that's sentimental and useful.
No time to DIY? Try these super-creative eco-friendly gifts:
You don't have to be an expert quilter to give this fun and memorable gift. Project Repat will make one for you. Just choose your quilt, ship your T-shirts, and give your friends and family a gift they'll always remember.
Looking for eco-friendly gifts for him or her? Recycled Firefighter makes wallets, belts, and accessories that have been upcycled from fire hoses, military boots, and other materials. There are also heavy-duty duffel bags, tool pouches, and backpacks—although they're not entirely upcycled, they are made in the USA.
Products for the Pet Lover
Pet lovers are sure to appreciate gifts that help the environment, and there are tons of organic, eco-friendly toys and treats out there. Just Pet Products takes it a step further by using upcycled products. They make leashes and collars from climbing rope, so you know they're beautiful and sturdy.
No matter the gift-giving occasion or the person on your list, there's an eco-friendly gift that suits their style. Check out more DIY projects in our blog and let us know what you're making in the comments!
Header image via DmitryCh/Shutterstock.com