Homemade Christmas Decorations

Build your family Christmas traditions with homemade Christmas ornaments and gifts!

Beaded Wreaths

Here’s another easy ornament to make with your kids.  They’re great on the tree or as a tie-on on packages.

What you need:

shiny pipe cleaners a.k.a. tinsel stems
plastic beads – faceted crystal or bicone
narrow ribbon

For a small wreath:

1.  Slide beads onto a pipe cleaner.  I put clear on half, and red on half, but you can use any colors and in whatever order you wish.

2.  Fold the pipe cleaner in half, with half the beads on each side of the fold.

3.  Twist the pipe cleaner together between each of the beads.

4.  Twist the ends together and form the pipe cleaner into a circle.

5.  Tie a ribbon bow to the top and hang it on the tree!

For a larger wreath:

1.  Slide beads onto 2 pipe cleaners.

2.  Twist the 2 pipecleaners together, between the beads.

3.  Twist the ends together and form the pipe cleaners into a circle.

4.  Tie a ribbon bow to the top and hang it on the tree!

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Beaded Icicles

This is one of the easiest Christmas ornaments I have ever made.  It’s so simple that even a two or three year old can do it (with supervision of course!) They sparkle nicely when you hang them near your Christmas tree lights.  They’re pretty tied onto a present, too.

What you need:

shiny pipe cleaners, a.k.a. tinsel stems
plastic beads – faceted crystal or bicone
a pencil, marker, or narrow tube

 

1.  Thread several beads onto a pipe cleaner. I used 7 or 8, but you can use as many or as few as you like.  Space the beads evenly along the pipe cleaner, leaving about 1 1/2 to 2 inches empty at the top.

2. Fold over a tiny bit on each end of the pipe cleaner to keep the beads from sliding off.

3.  Twist the pipe cleaner around the pencil to form a spiral.

4.  Shape the top of the pipe cleaner into a hook.

5.  Hang it on your Christmas tree and enjoy!

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Simple Clay Ornaments

Posted by admin on Jul 22, 2011 under Homemade Christmas Ornaments, Kids Christmas Ornaments

Oven-bake clay is so easy to work with.  I introduced my 4 year old nephew to Sculpey a while back and he always wants to make things with it when he comes over.  (He asks my sister to buy it for him all the time too!)  Here’s an easy project you can do in an afternoon with your kids.  Even the clean up is easy and the youngest children can easily cut out the ornaments.

You’ll need:

- oven-bake polymer clay in Christmas colors (Sculpey, Fimo, etc.)

- rolling pin, dowel, or smooth jar

- Christmas cookie cutters (trees, angels, stars, snowmen, gingerbread men, circles, etc)

- toothpicks

- ribbon

- paper or plastic to cover your work surface

- cookie sheet

- oven

ornament craft supplies

Preheat the oven to whatever temperature the clay package indicates.

Knead the clay for a minute or two to make it easier to work with.  Then roll it out to about 1/4″ thick.  A trick I like to use for getting it even is to lay a dowel or book of the desired thickness on each side of the clay.  As you roll it thinner you will hit the dowels/books and you’ll end up with a nice smooth, flat piece of clay to work with.

Next cut out the clay with the cookie cutters.  You can add clay accents at this point, like colored balls on a tree shape, or colored buttons and eyes on a gingerbread man.  Make sure you press the pieces together really well. 

Poke a hole near the top of each one with a toothpick (make sure it goes all the way through).  I also like to use the toothpick to mark the year and who made it on the back of the ornament. 

 

When the ornaments all have holes in them and you’re happy with how they look (they don’t have to be perfect, especially if your little ones made them!), bake them.  Check the package for how long.  After you take them out of the oven, be sure to let them cool completely before you let the kids touch them. 

After the ornaments are cool you can add paint or glitter if you want.  We decided to leave these plain. 

Tie a ribbon through the hole and they’re ready to hang on your Christmas tree.  They also make great gifts.  Small ones will look great on a wreath or as a tie-on on a present.

Happy Crafting!

 

Tea Dyed Paper

Posted by admin on Jul 16, 2011 under Crafting Projects

It’s easy to give white paper an antique appearance by dying or staining it with tea or coffee.   Coffee will give a darker stain to your paper and it will have a stronger aroma.  I’ve never used coffee before, but all the directions I’ve read indicate the process is nearly identical to staining with tea.  Different teas will give you different results as well.

For this demonstration, I used black tea in the form of English breakfast tea.  I’ve also tried some herbal teas but found that while the brewed teas have bright, rich colors, the paper came out mostly gray or grayish green.

The type of paper you use also has some effect on your results.  Coated papers don’t absorb the color as well.  I used bright white multi-purpose 20 lb. paper and I’m very satisfied with the results.  If you want a rougher, older looking result, try crumpling up the paper and then spreading it out again before you dye it.  If your project includes printing on the paper, it’s best to print it first (on a laser printer – ink jet inks may run) before you dye it.

What you’ll need:tea dye paper supplies

- a shallow dish a little larger than your paper

- white paper

- tea bags

- hot water

- paper towels

- dry dish towel

- iron or hairdryer (optional)

 

 

1. Boil some water and brew your tea.  The strength of the tea will determine how dark your paper turns out.  I only used one tea bag, but if you want a darker color you can use two or more bags.

2. Let the tea cool a little and then pour it into the dish.  Slide a sheet or two of paper into the water and let it soak for about 5 minutes.  You can soak it a longer or shorter time depending on how dark you want the finished paper, or how thick your paper is.  Just don’t leave it too long or your paper will tear when you take it out.

3. Carefully remove the paper from the tea (one sheet at a time) and lay it flat on a paper towel.  Blot it dry with a second paper towel.  Then lay the paper on a dry dish towel to dry completely.  You can speed the drying process with a hairdryer set on low if you wish.  I prefer to let it air dry.

4. Once the paper is completely dry, you can make any number of crafts with it.  If your project needs flatter, smoother paper you can iron it carefully with a warm iron.

It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but the top sheet is smoother than the others.  The bottom two sheets I crumpled prior to soaking.

I’ll post some pictures of crafts I made with this paper as soon as I’ve finished and have pictures.

Happy Crafting!

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Homemade Glitter Christmas Ornaments

Posted by admin on Dec 17, 2010 under Homemade Christmas Ornaments, Kids Christmas Ornaments

Tonight we made glitter ornaments together, using some of the glass ball ornaments I got on clearance last year.  It’s a simple project but it’s not quite as easy as it looks.  All you need are some glass ball ornaments, white glue, glitter, old paint brushes, a plastic tablecloth or newspaper to cover your work surface, paper plates, and lots of patience.

Set up your work space and give yourself plenty of room.  Protect your table with a plastic tablecloth or newspaper and set out your materials.  Old paint brushes work best because sometimes it’s hard to get all the glue and glitter out of them.  You’ll need a plastic tray or lid to put the glue into and it helps if everyone has their own paper plate or mat to work on and catch the extra glitter.

Plan out your design before you start.  This is where you can really get creative.  Put the date on your ornament, or swirls, or “Joy”, or stripes, or random dots, or cover the whole bottom of the ornament.  You get the idea – do whatever you want!  Look at the decorated ornaments at the store if you need ideas and keep it as simple or as fancy as you like.

Once you know what you want to do, start painting your design with the glue.  Do just a little bit at a time and add the glitter as you go.  That way the glue doesn’t dry out on you.  If you’re writing a word or the date, be careful with your spacing.  I put “Merry Christmas” on one of mine and ran out of room on the “mas.”  If you mess up you can carefully wipe the glue and/or glitter off and start again, or you can modify your design to hide your mistake.

The trick is to just have fun with it.  I wouldn’t try it with very small children, though.  If you want to do something like this with kids under 7 or 8, get some foam stickers to put on the balls instead.  You can find snowflakes, swirls, dots, etc. at your local craft store.  Stickers may even cost less than glitter and glue!

These handmade ornaments make great gifts, but don’t give them all away.  You’ll love taking them out each year and remembering how much fun you had making them together.  If you do the project each year you’ll also get a fun timeline of your children’s artistic progress (and yours!) and start a memorable Christmas tradition.

Happy Crafting!!

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Inspired Holidays

Posted by admin on Oct 19, 2010 under Holiday Inspiration

As you prepare for the holidays, do you take time out to remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas?  It’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of shopping, gifting, partying, etc. and forget to really be grateful for what God has given us.

I’ve been listening to the preview calls for the Ultimate Homeschool Expo Fall 2010 event, “Holiday Celebrations that are Christ Centered.”  Felice Gerwitz and her guests have great stories, ideas, and inspiration for remembering the “reason for the season.”

I hope you’ll take a moment to check it out – you can listen live to the calls for free, but purchasing a ticket will get you great freebies and access to all the calls you may have missed.  I have enjoyed many of the Ultimate Homeschool Expo events and I highly recommend them – whether you homeschool or not!

Check out the Ultimate Homeschool Expo today!

By the way, this is an affiliate link and I will earn a commission on your purchase.  Please be assured that I only promote products/events that I have purchased and enjoyed myself.  Thanks in advance for supporting our family!

Personalized Glass Ornaments

One of the easiest projects we have done as a family was personalizing glass ornaments with glitter.

All you need are some plain glass ball ornaments, any size will work, glue, a paint brush, and glitter.  Use the paint brush to apply glue in the pattern you want – stripes, stars, the year, a name, etc.  Then sprinkle on the glitter and let it dry.

Stores like Target currently have a lot of these ornaments on clearance at great prices, so it’s a great time to stock up!

 

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After Christmas Sales

Posted by admin on Dec 29, 2009 under Craft Supplies

Christmas is over and the new year is about to begin.  Now is a great time to re-stock your Christmas craft supplies.  Many stores and websites, like Joann and Oriental Trading are blowing out their Christmas merchandise at great prices. 

I like to get beading kits from Oriental Trading Company.  I rarely make the project the kit is for.  I just like to stock up on the fun beads for my own projects.

You can also find inspiration for next year as you browse the clearance aisles.  Look for decorations and gifts that look like they would be fun to make.  Buy one of each thing you find and tuck it away in your craft box until you’re ready to take a closer look at it and figure out how to make it yourself.  I have found several cool ornaments this way.

Have fun shopping and thinking about your crafting projects for the new year!

 

 

 

 

 

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Baby Sock Snowmen

Posted by admin on Dec 11, 2009 under Kids Christmas Ornaments

Baby Sock Snowmen

This is a cute project to do with young children using their outgrown baby socks.

Supplies:

white baby socks
colored baby socks
orange chenille stem
white yarn
colored ribbon
craft glue
black embroidery thread or fabric markers
stuffing

1.  Stuff a white sock with stuffing.  Form the body of the snowman by tying white yarn around the top of the sock, and about a third of the way from each end.

2.  Tie a piece of colored ribbon or a scrap of fabric around the neck of the snowman for a scarf.

3.  Cut the cuff part off of a colored sock.  Tie one end with yarn or ribbon to make a hat.  Leave the ribbon tails long enough to tie a hanging loop.  You can glue or hand-sew the hat to the snowman’s head (over the tied end of the sock).

4.  Use embroidery thread or fabric markers to make the snowman’s eyes and mouth.  Cut a short piece of orange chenille stem with wire cutters and glue it on for the snowman’s carrot nose.

5.  If you make these with your kids, it’s fun to put their names and the date on the back using a fabric marker.

 

 

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Recycled Craft Materials

Posted by admin on Dec 10, 2009 under Craft Supplies

Recycled Craft Materials for Homemade Christmas Decorations

Making homemade Christmas decorations from recycled materials is a great way to save money and help the environment.  There are so many things that can be made from household items that we normally throw away.  You do need to plan ahead so you’ll have what you need when you want it, and it means having a place to store your recycled items that is out of the way and won’t be a bother to other family members.  I keep my recycled materials in a large plastic bin in the garage.  Make sure you wash anything that contained food thoroughly before adding it to your collection.  Here are a few of the things I save out of the trash/recycle bin for use in both our home and in our Scout dens.

Christmas Cards – you can re-use old Christmas cards for any number of decorative and creative craft purposes.

Cans – coffee cans, soup cans, veggie cans, etc.  Any can that doesn’t have a pull tab top will work well for making luminaries, lanterns, pencil holders, and much more.  (The cans with pull tab tops have a sharp edge around the opening that makes them hard to use for recycled crafts.)

Frozen dinner trays – I primarily use these for holding other supplies.  They work great when you are crafting with a group and need to keep each person’s materials separate.  They also make great paint trays.  

Juice can lids – These make pretty homemade Christmas ornaments when painted or punched and also make great parts for homemade “toss” games.

Popsicle sticks – if you eat a lot of popsicles, etc. save your sticks and wash them up.  These have numerous uses from mixing paints to building ornaments and more.

Kid’s cups from restaurants – we always save the kid’s cups from restaurants and the lids too.  We use them as cups when we have groups over.  We use them as water cups when we paint.  And you can use the plastic lids to make all sorts of embellishments and ornaments for your homemade Christmas decorations.

Egg cartons – this is another recycled item that is very useful.  Use them to store small supplies, to sort project materials or cut them up to make holiday bells, bugs, baskets and more.

Baby food containers – whether these are the small glass jars or the newer plastic containers, they have many crafting uses.  If you don’t have a baby consider asking friends or relatives to save their baby food jars for you.

Cardboard tubes – whether they’re from paper towels, toilet paper, foil, plastic wrap, or wrapping paper, cardboard tubes make wonderful recycled craft materials.  Use them for the base of a Christmas tree angel, to make homemade party crackers and more.

These are just a few of the things I save for recycled craft projects.  Jam jars, fruit baskets, cardboard and more are additional items you can find a decorative or storage use for if you get creative.  Just imagine all the wonderful no-cost decorations and gifts you’ll be able to make by saving a few things out of the trash/recycle bin!

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