CRAFT Holiday Gift Guide 2009: Green Gifts

Admittedly, Green Gifts is a really broad category, and we could spend hours discussing the intricacies of being “green.” A good resource I found is Planet Green’s “Shop Sustainably with 3 Simple Questions” post. Basically the questions are: 1. Is it upcycled or made from sustainable materials? 2. Is it resource saving? 3. Is it vintage or pre-owned? With your eco-crafter in mind, you could either shop for sustainable craft supplies to provide them with ammunition for their projects or you could buy gifts that are made sustainably. Here I will offer just a sampling, just the tip of the iceberg (thank goodness it hasn’t all melted yet), to get your eco-gift-giving wheels turning!

Crafting Supplies

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Artemis Pastel Crayons and Plant-Based Colored Pencils ($33.50 and $35)
The crayons, from Denmark, are made of a completely natural plant base and come in 10 lovely colors. The 10 medium-soft colored pencils have leads colored by natural plant extracts. Both add gorgeous natural hues to your favorite eco-crafters artwork.
Earth-Friendly Yarns (various prices)
The choices available today for eco-friendly yarns are kind of mind-blowing. Earth-Friendly Yarns has one of the most extensive selections I’ve seen, from corn fiber to viscose from recycled sarongs to banana silk and bamboo — and they come in stunning, rich colors or au naturale.


Sustainable Fabrics
(various prices)
Like the array of yarns available, there are a wide assortment of sustainable fabric offerings for the eco-crafter in your life. NearSea Naturals is one retailer that goes the whole nine in their quest for sustainable materials. They pay as much attention to where the fabrics come from and how they are made as to what materials are used. Knits, wovens, printed, solids, take your choice!
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Canson Recycled Classic Drawing Pad ($3-$9)
Whether your gift-receiving crafter is into drawing or a different craft, eveyone needs a great drawing pad to work out designs and brainstorm patterns. This one from Canson is made from 100% recycled materials, including 10% post-consumer waste, and is acid-free.

Handmade Gifts

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Capacitor Robot Charm ($12)
While these are far from organic, they are indeed handmade and built with electronic components salvaged from discarded TVs, VCRs, and computers.
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Organic Cotton/Hemp Zip-Up Hoodie in Forest Green ($75)
Never underestimate the power of a fine hoodie! This cozy little number is handmade of organic cotton and hemp by Etsy crafter Salts, who features an entire line of organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo handmade clothing. Search Etsy for “organic” or “sustainable” or “recycled” for an endless array of eco-groovy goods.
Arcana Handmade Natural Soaps
Arcana Soaps are handmade in Portland, Ore., using the traditional cold-pressed method. They are super yummy and include delicious ingredients like coconut milk and fair-trade shea butter. Decadent!

Cocoon Designs Recycled Wool Houses

These whimsical, sweet creations are one-of-a-kind by virtue of being handmade only using recycled materials. Original, adorable, and good for the planet.

DIY: Handmade by You

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There are tons of green gifts you can make yourself for your beloved eco-crafter. Nothing says love more than handmade. And this is the perfect opportunity to include a shameless plug for being your endless source of how-tos and inspiration. Just search our site for what type of craft you’d like to create, and there’s a strong chance you’ll find a DIY that tickles your fancy. As well, we have 10 volumes of CRAFT in print that truly never go out of style.
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One particularly awesome resource is CRAFT Volume 09, the Green Craft issue, featuring tons of eco-friendly projects and resource guides. Just as a sampling of what you can make from this issue, whip up the Toadstool Toe and Rain Bucket Hat pictured above on the cover, designed by Betz White, and made by you using old plastic shopping bags.
Or craft this lovely Solar Herb Dryer, designed by eco-architect Michelle Kaufmann. The directions for this one are shared with you on our site in this flashback feature.
We even teach you how to make these cheery vases out of old plastic containers.
Or upcycle an old tee into an adorable tote, designed by the fine folks at Burdastyle.
Another idea is to make a project kit for a fellow crafter. Simply choose a project of your liking from our site or magazine pages, and compile the materials in a box, copy the DIY instructions to include, wrap it up, and it’s good to go!
Also, be sure to check out Sew Green’s Gift for Good blog entry, which offers a fine list of socially conscious gift-giving ideas including donations, memberships, and my favorite, gifts of service: “Print up a coupon or certificate and you might change someone’s life, or at least give them a much needed break.” True that! A little hand-drawn certificate offering a friend a night of babysitting, a massage, or help with a project is a fine gift that is good for the planet and for your community.
Seriously, I could go on and on, but hopefully this bite-sized guide has provided you with some ideas and inspiration!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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