Two sustainable Christmas craft activities to try around the UK

Worried about the amount of festive rubbish in your wheelie bin? Just take action and then have fun at one of the following eco-friendly gift and decoration classes.

Edible gifts

More unwanted “stuff” at Christmas? Try giving a tasty treat instead. Chocolate workshops at the National Trust’s medieval Powis Castle and Garden near Welshpool, include handmade chocolate robins and stars, and sparkly chocolate shards (19 Dec, £27.50). In York, the original home of Rowntree’s and Terry’s factories, chocolate workshops at York Cocoa House range from drop-in lollipop-making (£3.75), to masterclasses on specialties, such as ganaches and caramels (various dates, £55 adult, £28 child).

In the Gloucestershire Hills, Harts Barn Cookery School in the Forest of Dean is running Christmas cookery classes throughout Dec, including children’s edible decorations and edible gifts classes (gingerbread men, marshmallow penguins, chocolate lollies and reindeer pretzels, 15 Dec, from £25), and Christmas chocolate-making for adults (1 Dec, £50), with truffles and more to take away.

For something savory, learn the secrets of creating quick pickles at the Salt Box sustainably-minded cookery school’s Pickle like a Pro workshop (11 Dec, £45) near Redhill in Surrey, which also includes a festive drink and a two-course meal. Classes will take place in a private woodland glen and a cozy barn.

Unusual ornaments

Piece Hall in Halifax – a recently restored 18th-century cloth hall that now has independent shops and eateries around its vast courtyard – is running a series of Christmas events and workshops, which include making felt decorations with heritage cloth (17 Dec, £5.50) and felted snowman sessions for children (ages 6+, 21 Dec, £7.50).

In Surrey, the Royal Horticultural Society’s 97-hectare Wisley Garden – one of the UK’s most-visited gardens – has a workshop on “living baubles” – known in Japan as kokedama (£15, 4 Dec), alongside free children’s decoration-making sessions using woodland materials (14-15 Dec). Also for children, and inspired by a new exhibition, Flights of Fancy: the Wondrous World of Quentin Blake (running until April 2020), The National Trust’s Nymans house in West Sussex is running decoration workshops (various dates, £3).

In Glasgow, Locavore, an organic and sustainable food shop and cafe close to Queen’s Park, has a workshop (23 November, £10) on upcycling old books to become paper decorations, such as intricate snowflakes and folded trees.

How to Make Yarn Pom-Poms (part 2)

Wrap the Yarn Until the Ring Is Full

Wrap the cardboard ring with yarn until it is full.

  • If you want to create a round and full pom-pom, you need to wrap the yarn around the ring so that the ring is plump and the center smaller circle is nearly filled in.
  • If you want to create a floppy and loose pom-pom, you can stop wrapping the yarn sooner.

Cut Around the Edge of the Ring

Trim the wrapped yarn, start snipping all the wrapped yarn through along the edge of the ring. Make sure to cut through every strand of yarn. Using pom-pom with a small point helps to do this part easier.

When cutting the yarn, you must be careful in order not to let the cut pieces to come out through the opening or push to one side.

Tie the Cut Yarn Pieces Together

When you have snipped all the edges of the ring, cut a length of yarn to tie around the pom-pom’s middle, close to the cardboard ring. Tie it once then wrap it around the other side and finally tie a double knot.

Pull the yarn as tight as possible without breaking it to secure the pom- pom firmly. Leave the ends of yarn long.

After finishing, remove the cardboard template.

Shape the Pom-Pom

Your pom-pom probably still looks a little odd and misshaped. In order to fix this, trim the yarn until out the shape. It’s like giving the pom-pom a haircut!

Hold the long yarn ties and do this around the pom-pom. Keep turning it when trimming so that it doesn’t end up lopsided.

Fluff the Pom-Pom and Finish Trimming

When the pom-pom looks shaped and fixed, roll it in your hands gently. This can fluff the pom-pom and reveal any areas that need to be trimmed more.

Trim and repeat if needed.

Use the long ties of yarn to attach the pom-pom to your craft project.