Make Your Own Ugly Holiday Sweater Using Household Trash

The Ocean Conservancy says it will be kinder to marine life.

ugly Christmas sweater

 Ocean Conservancy


Amid a year of uncertainty, one thing remains unchanged – the strange and incomprehensible allure of the ugly holiday sweater. Whether it's for a work-related social hour on Zoom or a small get-together with your friend "bubble," people are heading to the store to buy ugly sweaters in an attempt to feel moderately festive.

"These fast fashion finds are often single-use and, like all single-use plastics, are hard on our ocean, shedding microplastics and microfibers ... This funny, fast fashion unfortunately comes with negative environmental impacts, from greenhouse gas emissions to water pollution."

Visit a thrift store for a secondhand ugly sweater or raid your own closet for an unused sweater that could be reborn uglier than ever. Get out your craft supplies (hot glue, needle and thread, scissors) and dig through the recycling bin for materials with great potential. The Conservancy suggests taking inspiration from the top ten most commonly found items in its annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) event:

"With a little paint, bottle caps (ranked fourth on the ICC top ten list this year) become Christmas ornaments. Plastic grocery bags (number seven on the ICC top ten list, and one of the deadliest forms of marine debris) can be glued or sewn on to create a snowy scene. Food wrappers, the number one most commonly found item at the 2019 ICC, offer a variety of possibilities – rinse them off and create snowflakes with white wrappers, or tinsel from silver ones." 
DIY ugly Christmas sweaters
Ocean Conservancy

The Ocean Conservancy has even provided images of some DIY projects for you to copy. There's the "That's a Wrap" design, which uses an empty strawberry carton, KitKat wrappers, and a grocery bag. "Tis the SEAson" features fish cutouts from an old T-shirt glued onto a sweater with tiny Santa hats. "Trashin' Through the Snow" showcases recyclable waste transformed into snowflakes and tree ornaments.

The ideas are simple, clever, and very on brand for Treehugger. Put your inner crafter to work and you'll not only have the ugliest sweater at the Zoom happy hour, but also the coolest because it's as eco-friendly as it gets.