Elevate Difference

Ecocrafts Gorgeous Gifts

Every kid has, at one time or another, turned garbage into art. Personally, I was obsessed with my cardboard-box dollhouse, which prominently featured a sofa made from a kitchen sponge. I was the only eight-year-old I knew who received a glue gun for Christmas.

Ecocrafts Gorgeous Gifts is for other glue-gun-happy kids. It describes thirteen crafts that can be made from recycled materials, from socks to Styrofoam to potato chip bags. A few are old news, like the coffee can drum and sock puppet, but most are fresh ideas for reducing waste and creating a unique gift: a coffee stirrer bookmark, a scrap paper bracelet, jar lid magnets.

All of the crafts are extremely simple and accompanied by illustrated step-by-step instructions. You probably have most of the materials already; each craft uses everyday household items. The book also features consciousness-raising “ecofacts.” We discovered that recycling one glass bottle saves enough energy to run a computer for 25 minutes when reading the instructions for the baby food jar tealight candleholder. The book’s introduction describes how reusing items benefits the environment in simple, kid-friendly language, and also gives tips on creating a basic craft kit.

This book would be a great gift for a child, but the crafts are very simple and probably wouldn’t be appropriate for someone over the age of eleven. However, there is enough here to keep younger children busy for an afternoon, and along with the valuable lessons of creativity and environmental consciousness this book inspires in children, it also encourages thoughtful gift-giving: “When you give a gift that you have made yourself, you are giving a special present. . . . The person you give it to will love it because you took the time to make it for them.”

Truer words were never spoken. I still remember the lavish praise I received for the toilet paper tube kaleidoscopes my friends and family received for Christmas, the year before I got my glue gun.

Written by: Anne Wilmoth, June 25th 2007