eco friendly confetti from red and green gum leaves with leaves and brown paper cone

It is a long standing tradition to throw colourful confetti at weddings, parades and carnivals. At weddings in particular, people love to shower the happy couple with confetti to wish them well in their future together. Modern confetti is often made from materials that aren’t kind to the environment. We explore eco friendly confetti ideas for your next celebration, including how to make your own. Celebrate without guilt with these fully biodegradable confetti ideas.

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Moving Away from Modern Confetti

Confetti comes from the Italian words for sweets. This dates back to the middle ages, where guests would throw sweet sugared almonds at weddings. In England in pagan times this changed to showering the newly weds with rice, grain or petals to symbolise wealth, happiness and fertility. In other words, traditional ‘confetti’ was already natural and eco-friendly. It’s only been in more recent times that people throw confetti made from coloured papers, foils and even plastics.

There are good reasons to turn back the clock and choose natural eco friendly confetti options that are biodegradable.

It goes without saying that we don’t want to be throwing coated papers, foils or plastics that will blow away or wash into our waterways and take hundreds or thousands of years to break down.

Many churches, wedding and events venues do not allow the use of confetti indoors or outside of the venue. Throwing confetti creates a huge mess. if its isn’t readily biodegradable, someone will have to clean it up. Even if they do allow it, many venues will now insist on eco-friendly options.

baskets with rose petal cones and gum leaf confetti with text eco friendly confetti ideas and how to make your own

Eco Friendly Confetti Alternatives

Greener confetti options include natural materials that will not will not harm the environment such as:

  • rice;
  • dried flowers or flower petals; or
  • confetti made from leaves.

These natural confetti options are kinder to the environment as they will biodegrade quickly and naturally. Many of them are considered ‘venue friendly’ as they will just blow away in the wind, especially if thrown in a garden setting or outside of a church or other wedding venue.

Rice

Rice is a traditional type of ‘confetti’ which has been in use at weddings for hundreds of years. Showering the happy couple with grains of rice is said to represent fertility and wealth.

Many venues don’t allow rice as it is difficult to clean up and won’t simply blow away like some other eco-friendly options. It can create a slip hazard if there is too much (which can be worse in wet weather as the rice can absorb water). While some people also believe that rice may be harmful to birds, it isn’t and is actually quite easily digested.

Dried flowers or Rose Petals

Dried flowers are a lovely option for confetti. It’s easy to customise your confetti colours by choosing flowers to match your colour scheme. Roses petals are popular for large confetti, but hydrangeas in their lovely pink and blue shades are also a lovely option.

While you could use fresh rose petals in place or wedding confetti, this has the potential for causing stains and slippery surfaces. And you can’t prepare fresh petals well in advance of your event like you can with dried flowers.

I had dried rose petal confetti at my own wedding, in shades of cream, pink and yellow to match my bridal bouquet and flowers. We gathered roses in the required colours leading up to the wedding and dried the petals by spreading in a single layer across some paper towels and placing in a warm dry spot to air dry. If you prefer, you can speed up the drying process in the oven. Just spread a single layer of petals on a baking tray and placing in the oven at the lowest temperature setting. Check on your petals regularly, every 10 minutes or so, to monitor their progress. Make sure petals are completely dry so that they don’t go mouldy leading up to your event.

If you don’t have access to your own roses or other coloured flowers to dry, you can buy pre-made dried flower and petal mixes on Etsy.

This gorgeous pink rose petal and hydrangea flower mix from Blush Botanicals on Etsy makes the most beautiful eco-friendly confetti. The store also sells many other floral confetti options as well as confetti cones and stands.

Confetti made from Leaves

A more recent trend in eco-friendly confetti has been to use confetti made from leaves. Dried eucalyptus leaves are a great option as they not only have beautiful colours but also smell wonderful. Gum leaves can be shades of green, pink, red and yellow and sometimes even have two different colours on each side of the leaf.

This heart shaped gum leaf confetti from The Cauldron Crafts Co is made from 100% natural biodegradable leaves in beautiful greens and pinks. It’s available in small or large sized hearts or a mixture of the two sizes,

Other options for leaf confetti are fragrant herbs, like rosemary, thyme or lavender. These only need to be dried and won’t need to be shaped with a punch to use. Herbs also have a beautiful fragrance.

How to Make Eco Friendly Confetti from Leaves

While you can buy premade natural leaf confetti, with a little bit of time and patience it’s very easy to make your own.

All you’ll need are:

  • dried coloured leaves;
  • a hole punch or decorative punch (heart shapes are popular); and
  • bags or paper cones to store your confetti.

leaves

Choose leaves that will keep their colour when they dry. Eucalyptus leaves are a great choice as they tend to retain their green, yellow and pink colouring for a long time after falling from the tree. Other options include leaves from deciduous trees that change colour to red or yellow in autumn/fall. Or try sturdy holly or olive leaves for green confetti.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden with suitable leaves, this part will be easy. If not, try gathering leaves on your walks or visit a local park and collect fallen leaves. (Just be careful about rules for removing plant items from National Parks or protected areas).

Once you have a good selection of leaves, it’s time to divide into colours and start punching.

red and green gum leaves with hole punches to make eco friendly confetti

Punches

The simplest way to make leaf confetti is just to use your office hole punch. Take your dried leaves and punch out holes along the length of each leaf, using as much of the surface as possible. With some patience, you can create plenty of traditional round confetti knowing that it is completely biodegradable. However an office hole punch is fairly unwieldy to use, so you will find it much easier to use a single craft punch.

If you want to be more creative with your homemade confetti, there are many different shaped punches available. Often used for scrapbooking, punches come in heart shapes, stars, flowers, butterflies and many other shapes.

Scrapbooking and crafting supplies are the perfect place to find different shaped punches to make your own confetti. This set of 3 punches has heart, star and traditional round shaped punches with a handy collector to catch your confetti.

Eco friendly Confetti holders

If you’ve gone to the trouble of choosing or making your own eco-friendly confetti, the last thing you want to do is package it in plastic or cellophane. Eco-friendly choices for your confetti packts include:

  • small muslin bags tied with a ribbon;
  • mini kraft paper bags; or
  • paper cones, made from pretty recycled or readily biodegradable paper.

Cones are a practical choice as they are easy to make and easy for your guests to use to shower confetti. They can also be made from all types of materials, and decorated with cut outs or customised printing. At our wedding we chose to fill a basket with paper cones of rose petals and it was an easy, practical and eco-friendly way to incorporate the tradition of confetti at our celebration.

There are lots of beautiful customised confetti cones and cone stands available to order on Etsy.

More ways to Be Green

Looking for more eco-friendly ideas? Consider choosing a completely compostable phone case when you next update (in a beautiful green shade or botanical print of course). Or discover more about the need to reduce our use of plastics and some simple swaps to make in our Earth Day ideas.

Even small swaps to eco-friendly options can make a difference. For more inspiration on small ways to be greener, we’d love you to subscribe.

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