• Geetika Ahuja

9 eco-friendly DIYs for Diwali

Diwali also celebrated as the festival of lights is one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus which lasts for about five days. It symbolizes the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.

It is said that on this day thousands of years ago, Lord Ram returned to his kingdom along with his wife and brother, after completing his exile that he was sent on by his father because of his jealous stepmother (I compressed the entire Ramayan into three lines, wow). Traditionally during this period Hindus also honor the mother of wealth Laxmi by gambling (It's our five-day pass essentially). Diwali is probably one of those times when a Hindu household is cleaned very thoroughly, things that are not usable, clothes that are outgrown, almost everything is cleaned up and coincidentally also happens to be the only time, you can't find a painter to re-paint your house, because they are all busy.

Here are a few things that you can do if you are cleaning up your house this Diwali:

  1. Repurpose: Do not throw out the things you don't need because you believe in minimalism, that is something you should have thought of before buying it. Repurpose it, for example, if you have a lot of plastic bottles that you want to throw out, you can turn them into a pot for your smaller plants or repurpose them into a whole herb garden outside of your kitchen. Repurposing makes us creative.

  2. Donate: Clothes and other items that are in good shape but you do not want to use, you can donate them to those who need them.

  3. Resell: While we talk about Laxmi's blessing, a better way of trying your luck would be reselling your furniture, vintage clothing, purses, shoes etc, that are perfectly good or haven't been used at all. Sites like Poshmark and OLX equip you to do that.

  4. Collector's fee: You can also alternatively collect all the scrap metal, plastic, glass etc that you do not need at home and sell it to your nearest recycling plant. While the money you get back would not be a lot, at least it diverts the waste from landfills and gets recycled into something useful for someone else.

These are just some ways to make sure that you not only send extra waste to landfills but also earn some goodwill for the planet. And goodwill is what the festivals are really about. Coming back to festivals, on Diwali, most people love to decorate their homes and light diyas everywhere. People also make pretty rangolis and wear traditional new clothes. Personally, I love dressing up during Diwali. All those bright colors look very beautiful.

Did you know historically Diwali is a fusion of harvest festivals in India? A lot of ancient

travelers have mentioned this celebration in their texts, as well as there has been prominent existence of Diwali in the Sanskrit texts – The Padma Purana and the Skanda Purana that was completed in the 1000 CE.

However, over the centuries, this festival has become less about what it stands for like family and fighting evil, and has become more about bursting crackers and playing loud music all night (I know after this I know it is going to be hard to believe I am 22). The secret behind my ageless wisdom is an incident that happened when I was a child. I was never a huge fan of

bursting crackers but I liked those tiny ones. During Diwali, my father gave me a 1000 Rupee note (they weren’t banned back then), and asked me to burn it. I looked at him as if he had grown two heads. I mean who purposely burns money? Then he told me that by burning the crackers we are just wasting money and the pollution that happens causes irreparable damage to our earth. Instead, just burn this note at least it won’t pollute the air as much as these firecrackers do.

It was a stupid incident but his words did make sense. Every year we waste so much money and resources that actually harm our environment. In fact, not just our environment, but even the living beings in it. Dogs and Cats are always too scared of firecrackers and it even tends to injure or burn the birds and plants around the place sometimes. Yes, they are magical to look at, but the damage they leave behind is not worth 3 seconds of pretty.

We made a list of things we can do to make Diwali a lot more fun, eco-friendly and safe. This is a list of DIY decors that you can make at home, that will almost cost you nothing because we are using things already available at home!


Paper Cup Garlands

If you are fond of parties or inviting guests, I am sure you have a tonne of paper cups you have absolutely no use for anymore. We can always put all those used paper cups to better use instead of throwing them away. The best part is that you don’t need to take them off after Diwali. You can use it as wall decoration throughout the year.

Paper Cup Garland for Diwali
Paper Cup Garland

Materials Required:

  1.  Plain paper cups

  2. Wrapping paper

  3. Acrylic/Fabric paints

  4. A thread/yarn

  5. LED/Fairy lights

  6. Double tape/normal tape

Steps to make a paper cup garland:

  1.  Pick out different colors. Make sure the cups are of the same size. You can mix and match but you need to make sure all the cups are of the same size.

  2. After wrapping the cups in various colored papers, using a bamboo skewer, poke a hole in the bottom of the cup. Do this for all the cups.

  3. Put the yarn or a thread through these holes in a random direction. You can go in from the top or in the bottom and so on.

  4. Tape together two cups after lining up the cup seams. To secure the cups use a small piece of tape and press it down on the opposite sides of the seam.

  5. Now you just need to take a double-stick tape which is slightly longer in length and place it on top of the cup where you just taped. Wrap around the seam as you go and press the end of your fringe garland into one half of the double tape. Do this until you completely wrap around the seam.

  6. Cut off the excess at the end after pressing it at the end of the cup. Repeat this process with all the remaining cups.

  7. Insert the LED lights into the cups to make them brighter.


Crepe Paper Toran

To make your own toran, you need to buy crepe papers in various colors of your

choice. You can fold them together and sew them on a thread in whichever shape you like. Not only do these last longer than the actual flowers and but also don’t harm the environment as the plastic ones do. And look amazing!

Crepe Paper toran for Diwali
Crepe Paper Toran

Materials Required:

  1.  Wooden Dowel (It's a wooden stick that is used to give more support to the toran)

  2. Colorful crepe paper

  3. String/Thread

  4. Scissors

  5. Screw punch/pen

Steps to make crepe paper toran:

  1.  Lengthwise fold the crepe paper into a stack. You can hold the stack together with a clip.

  2. Use a template to trace petal shapes along the width of the stack. You need to later punch holes in the stack of paper with a screw punch or a pen.

  3. Use scissors to cut out the petals and repeat with the remaining crepe papers.

  4. Stretch the paper out at the edges to create fluff. To save more time ruffle four or five papers at once.

  5. Wrap a string or a thread around a dowel tightly to thread the pieces on it.

  6. Lastly, thread it on the dowel and tie a knot at the end of each string. You can create different patterns by alternating colors on the dowel.


Washi Tape Diwali Tealights

Lighting lamps and diyas are a must for Diwali. What you can do is make

small cute tea candles (you can also check out our guide to making candles for this), and wrap them up with the colorful Washi Tapes instead of the boring silver holders. These look really pretty when placed all over the home.

Washi Tape Tealights for Diwali
Washi Tape Tealights

Materials Required:

  1.  Washi Tape

  2. Scissors

  3. Glue

  4. Tea light candles

  5. Flatback pearls/kundans (to decorate)

Steps to make washi tape Diwali tealights:

  1.  Get some colorful washi tapes. Wrap it carefully around the metal holder of the candle. (In case the tape is too thick, make small cuts around the edge and wrap it around the bottom of the candle.)

  2. Glue the pearls or kundans on the tape and make it look more attractive.

Photo Lights

We generally hang fairy lights every year outside our homes. But, it has lost its charm, so we got you a twist. Hanging our best family photos on the strings with decorative pegs. Just remember, not on the outside of the home, inside the home.


Photo lights for diwali
Photo lights

Materials Required:

  1.  LED/Fairy Lights

  2. A string

  3. Some cute family photos

  4. Tape

Steps to make photo lights:

  1. The first thing that you need to do is find some cute family photos. Print them on a good glossy sheet.

  2. Use the tape to stick it on the strings in any random pattern.

  3. Wrap the string around the lights and hang it on your wall. You can also directly place the photos on the lights with the help of tape. Ta-da the beautiful photo lights is ready.

Jar Candles

Another innovative idea is to get the mason jars in various sizes and wrap them up with

ribbons, laces, and yarns. Place the candles inside them with a holder. You can also use acrylic paints to paint intricate patterns and designs on those jars. You can unleash your inner Pablo Picasso and show the world how amazing you are!

Jar Candles for Diwali
Jar candles

Materials Required:

  1.  Mason Jar

  2. Acrylic paint/laces/ribbons/yarns

  3. Burner

  4. Candle pouring pot

  5. 1 pound soy wax flakes

  6. 1 inch square of wax dye

  7. 2-3 drops of essential oils

  8. Scissors

  9. 1 wick

  10. Wick holder

Or.

 11. Ready-made candles (in case you don’t wish to make one at home)

Steps to make Jar Candles:

  1. If you want to make the candle from scratch, we'd suggest reading our guide on how to make eco-friendly candles.

  2. Once the candle is ready, you can paint the jar with different bright colors or wrap it with colorful laces and ribbons. You can also make intricate patterns along the sides of the jar with the help of the yarn.

Paper Bag Luminaries

Instead of buying those expensive lights and huge lamps we can always reuse brown paper bags. It's super easy to make and super fun too. To avoid a fire hazard I would suggest that you can use battery-operated candles as the real ones might burn the paper.

Paper bag luminaries for Diwali
Paper bag luminaries

Materials Required:

  1.  Lunch paper bags

  2.  Candles (if you want) or you can use the battery operated candles

  3. Assorted paper punches

  4. Glue Stick

  5. Acrylic paint

Steps to make paper bag lumanaries:

  1.  Take the brown paper bags and cut designs using the paper punches.

  2. Place the candle inside the bag carefully.

  3. You can use decorative materials like ribbons and paint the bags with different colors.

Diyas

Feel like going a little more traditional? Well here is a list of three types of eco-friendly diyas!

Hand-Painted Diyas

Handpainted Diyas

Diwali is always incomplete without the diyas. Instead of buying those fancy ones from the store you can always buy plain diyas and use acrylic paint to decorate them.

These colorful diyas would look amazing when placed all over the house. You can also make these small diyas yourself at home if you want.



Wheat Flour Diyas

Wheat Flour Diyas for Diwali
Wheat Flour Diyas

Materials required:

  1. Wheat Flour

  2. Acrylic paints/ Kumkum and Haldi

Steps to make Wheat Flour Diya:

  1. All you need to do is mix a bowl of flour with water and kneed it into a dough.

  2. Take small pieces and shape them according to whatever designs you want.

  3. Bake them in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. Ta-da your homemade wheat flour diyas are ready.

  4. You can then decorate them or paint them in different colors as per your liking.

Glass Diyas

Inspired by our very own Bollywood actor Juhi Chawla, came the concept of these glass diyas. This has to be one of the simplest diyas ever!

Material needed:

  1. All you need to do is pick plain glass containers and fill them halfway with water.

  2. Add some oil to the glass and then place a wick on top of the oil. And boom your glass Diya is ready.

  3. You can also decorate the glass however you want with pretty colors and laces to give it a better look.

Since the festive season is around the corner, I hope you like these ideas. It is really important to give our homes a fresh new feel. And it is even more important to replace all the toxic materials like plastic with materials that are eco-friendly.

Here are a couple of more things that you can do to make your Diwali even more eco-friendly:

  1. Do not burst crackers, not even phuljari. Instead, light more and more diyas.

  2. You can add fresh flowers and small pots of plants to your décor. It will not only add color and give you the fresh fragrance but will also give you a homely look.

  3. You can also use carpets and rugs on the floor to complement your furniture.

Trust me I’ve been following these for quite some time now. I love these! If you try these out this Diwali, let us know in the comments below, how was your experience and what is your personal hack for an eco-friendlier Diwali.



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