Tree-mendous Homemade Christmas Decorations
It’s that time of the year again where we all venture into the loft, dig out our collection of Christmas decorations, and transform our homes into magical winter wonderlands!
Over the years, our Christmas decorations go through a lot, from being knocked about by our curious cats (and kids!) to getting shoved into dusty old boxes where they’re left untouched for months on end - so it’s unsurprising that, at some point, they wind up looking more like lumps of coal than sparkly showpieces. If your decs are dull, damaged or just lacking that festive fabulousness, why fork out for an expensive new set when you could create a bespoke selection of dazzling decorations right from the comfort of your own home?
Making your own homemade Christmas decorations is a great activity to pass the time during the festive period, perfect for keeping the kids entertained for just long enough to stop them from sneaking a peek at their presents! They also make thoughtful, budget-friendly gifts to give to your loved ones, adding a special personal touch that’s sure to show them just how much you care, without breaking the bank.
If you’re looking to get crafty this Christmas but you’re not too sure where to start, don’t fret: we’ve got you covered with a whole host of simple, fun and festive homemade decoration ideas that are sure to spark your imagination. So, pop on some Christmas songs, grab yourself a mince pie, and let the creating begin!
To do with the kids
If the weather outside is frightful and your youngsters are getting a bit bored, why not sit down with them and do a fun craft together? Kids will get a great sense of achievement from creating something and you can treasure their makes for years to come.
Paperchains are some of the simplest Christmas crafts that even children as young as three or four can do (with help of course). There are plenty of ready-made kits available, but they are also very easy to make with just some strips of pretty paper and glue or stapler.
To decorate your tree and home with these festive chains, simply cut strips of colourful and patterned paper that are 15-20cm long by 2cm wide. Start by turning a strip into a loop and securing the overlapped ends together with your glue or stapler. Thread the end of a second strip through the loop and secure the ends in the same way. Continue this way until you have a long chain of paper links that you can wrap around your tree, deck your halls with, and loop over picture frames.
Salt Dough Decorations
Making salt dough decorations is a really fun and affordable activity. It takes quite a while to dry out enough to paint but when done, decorations made from salt dough will keep for years and years. You’ll need 250g of plain flour, 125g of salt, and 125ml of water; cookie cutters; a rolling pin; a bowl, spoon, and baking tray.
Preheat your oven to it’s lowest setting and line a baking tray with baking parchment. To make your dough, mix together the flour, salt and water in your bowl, bringing it together to form a dough. Then, all you need to do is get moulding! Your kids can roll out the dough and stamp out shapes with a cookie cutter, do a little freestyle modelling, or anything else they fancy! Use a metal straw or bamboo skewer to punch out holes for ribbons later down the line and bake your creations for around three hours in the oven to harden. When hard, they can be painted and hung on the tree! The salt will preserve the dough for years. A word of warning: although the dough will look delicious, don’t let your kids eat it - the amount of salt will probably make them feel extremely poorly.
Toilet Roll Candles
A great way to encourage recycling with your kids, candles made from cardboard toilet roll cores are super fun and fully customisable.
For this craft, you’ll need toilet roll cores, wrapping paper, gold or yellow tissue paper, ribbon, scissors, and glue. Cut a piece of wrapping paper that is a couple centimetres longer than the toilet roll and wide enough to wrap all the way around it. Roll the tube up in the paper, securing it with glue as you go. Fold in each end and stick the paper down to the inside of the tube. Next, cut out flame shapes from the gold or yellow paper and glue to the inside with the ‘flame’ poking up out of the top. Your last step is to secure a length of ribbon to opposite sides of the inside of the tube so it can hang proudly on your tree. Let your kids decorate the candles to their hearts’ content and enjoy their creations!
These festive candles aren’t just for Christmas though. If you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanza, why not encourage your children to make some toilet roll candles for a menorah or Kinara instead? The possibilities are endless and can make any celebration extra special.
In recent years, upcycling has metamorphosed from something that only those who were hard up did, to something considerably more trendy. And for good reason. As people have become more eco and economically conscious, upcycling can give new life to items that would otherwise contribute to more pollution or ocean waste. If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your old Christmas decorations without breaking the bank, give upcycling a go!
Upcycling old Christmas decorations can be as simple as giving them a new lick of paint or dousing them in a bit of glitter. But if you want to go a little further than that, why not upcycle your old ornaments by marbling them?
A huge trend that has popped up on social media over the last couple of years, everything from guitars to shoes are being given the “hydro-dip” treatment. This technique adds a marbled effect to items and is much easier to do at home than you’d think.
You’ll need a few items to marble your baubles (ooh-err). A large tub of cold water, nail varnish or spray paints in your desired colours, a cocktail stick or chopstick, and your ornament. To start, make sure your ornament is clean and dust-free. Next, drip or spray your colours onto the water’s surface. If you’re using spray paint, make sure you spray a good amount. Layer up your colours one by one and swirl them together with the stick to create a marbling effect before slowly dipping your bauble in and under the water. Give it a wiggle to dislodge any extra colour and bring it back out. Allow to dry and enjoy your new decorations!
Foliage Bottle Candles
Hate to throw away all those cool wine bottles and now have a growing collection that you don’t know what to do with? Turn them into impressive centrepieces with some simple items!
For this quick and easy project, you’ll need a clean bottle, some dried foliage such as eucalyptus, flowers, or seasonal plants, and a tall candle.
Make sure your bottle is completely clean and fully dry - we don’t want any mould growing inside! Pop your foliage into the bottle by carefully inserting it through the neck. Once done, you can press your candle into the top and you’re done! These bottles make excellent centrepieces on your festive table.
If you’re not comfortable with having lit candles around, why not use a string of fairy lights or a bottle light instead? The soft glowing light will make even those with the coldest hearts feel warm and cosy.
Beyond decorating your home, arguably one of the best parts of Christmas is presents and giving them to loved ones can be just as fun as receiving them. The following ideas make excellent options for decorating your home with but would also make fantastic gifts for friends and family.
Pom Pom Garland
Shake your pom poms! This fun and funky pom pom garland can be made in all kinds of colours, designs and lengths and would make the ideal alternative to tinsel. How many times can we say “pom pom”?
Start by making your pom poms. Follow the instructions of your pom pom maker and create as many as you need - the more pom poms you make, the fuller or longer your garland will be! When you’ve made enough, thread a length of yarn through the needle and begin threading your pom poms onto it. As you go, tie knots between each pom pom to stop them sliding around. When you’re finished it’s ready to drape over picture frames, decorate your tree with, or string up in your bedroom!
Cookie Cutter Ornaments
Making your own ornaments is mega easy and they make a great addition to your own tree as well as a little token gift for others.
To make your cookie cutter ornaments you’ll need some modelling clay, a rolling pin, a bamboo skewer, cookie cutters, a variety of stamps, leaves, modelling tools, and ribbon or string.
Break off a piece of modelling clay and work between your hands until soft and malleable. Roll the clay out flat until about half a centimetre thick. If using leaves, you can now gently press them into the surface of the clay to leave the imprint behind before using your cookie cutter to stamp out a shape. Once stamped you can use your modelling tools or stamps to leave a message or well wishes. Use your bamboo skewer to make a hole in the top and leave to fully dry.
Once dried, you can thread a length of ribbon through the hole and it’s ready to gift! A beautiful personal present to hang on any Christmas tree.
Mini Macramé Ornament
When you think of macramé, you probably imagine impressive wall hangings full of complicated knots, braids, and twists. Macramé certainly is an art form but it doesn’t need to be as difficult as that. If you’re looking for a cute and crafty gift to give your friends and family, why not give a mini macramé decoration a go?
You’ll need an odd number (five or seven) of lengths of macramé cord cut to about 30cm long, a cinnamon stick, another, and a shorter length of cord or ribbon to use for hanging. Take your cinnamon stick and find the centre where you will tie your first knot. Take a length of macramé cord and fold it in half with the loop at the top. With this loop at the back of the stick, thread the tail ends of the cord up through the loop and then down so that the loop is now tied around the stick snugly. Do the same with the rest of the pieces of cord on either side of the first one until you’ve got a neat little row of knots.
From here, you can either do some extra knots such as a square knot to add some decoration or simply finish as it is. Cut the untidy tail ends of the cord into a point in the centre to make it more decorative and tie the hanging ribbon to either side of the set of knots on the stick. And you’re done! Give as a gift to any friend or family member and wow them as you say “I made it!"