The holidays are upon us, and while we can’t stop thinking about tomorrow’s feast, there are surely some things left to be done the night before. Sometimes, we focus so much on the turkey and potatoes, that we forget to make the table festive for the big day. If that’s the case at your house, don’t fret. We’ve got some ideas on how you can make beautiful, thoughtful decorations that are both cheap and eco-friendly. Why waste money on one-time decorations from the dollar store that you’ll throw away after dinner when you could make simple, beautiful pieces that will last for years to come? We’ll show you a few of our favorites this week as we outline some sustainable Thanksgiving decor options. All it’ll take is a quick trip to your local thrift shop, or even a quick search around your own home, to find most of the items on this list!

Painted Bottles

If you’ve been known to have a glass or two of vino, you likely have access to a couple of empty wine bottles. Add some fall paint colors and twine or straw, and you’ve got yourself and upcycled DIY centerpiece for your table! Bonus points: this one is extra fun when you let the kiddos help out. Let them do a base coat of orange, red, or beige paint on your empty wine bottles. Once they’re finished, either use paint pens or freehand a design on the bottles. We like ones such as these, originally sold on Etsy, that are decorated with simple messages like “Give Thanks” or “Family.”

Paper Pumpkins from Old Books

If you’ve got a few ratty books around the house you don’t plan to read again, this is a perfect way to give them new lives as homemade holiday decorations. First, remove both the front and back cover of the books. Then, cut out a pumpkin shape with a flat bottom from a piece of paper to use as a stencil, keeping in mind the size of the book or books you’re using. Then, open the novel to about the halfway point and lay it down flat, place the stencil down so that the center of the pumpkin aligns with the spine of the book, and use scissors or an exacto knife to cut around the stencil. Once all the pages have their new shape, dip the edges of the pages in watered down orange paint to give them a more pumpkin-esque appearance. You may need to use a blow dryer or fan to dry the pages so they don’t stick together. Once dry, use a hot glue gun to secure the front of the book to the back so that you have a full, 360 degree paper pumpkin! Use a stick and a leaf from your yard to make a little stem accessory, securing both to the top of the book’s spine, and the craft is complete!

Homemade Autumn Candles

With just a few mason jars, some mod podge, and candles (real or solar powered options are both great), you’ll have Thanksgiving decor that’s sure to get glowing reviews. Simply gather a few leaves from your lawn in various shapes and colors and use mod podge to adhere them to the outside of your mason jars. After they’ve dried, simply drop a votive candle into the jar and watch how beautifully the light shines through the different colored leaves. These autumn candles look so creative you may want to leave them out all year long.

Thanks for reading the J-Tech solar blog. We love sharing tips on how to make everything from your holiday celebrations to your energy consumption more environmentally friendly. If you’re thankful for the green energy movement this Thanksgiving, call J-Tech solar today to talk about integrating solar power into your life!