Christmas decorations are one of the first signs that the festive season is upon us; shop windows suddenly become adorned with hues of red and gold and shopping centres turn into grottos of festivity. To recreate this magical atmosphere in your own home here are some DIY decoration ideas to keep you busy in the run up to Christmas.
Granted, these tree decorations may not last until Christmas day itself, but they’re fun to make and even more fun to eat! They’re a nice alternative to candy canes and chocolate decorations and are great for when friends come over as they can choose a treat from the tree. To make them, simply cream 300g butter with 400g sugar then add 300g golden syrup and 4 eggs. Sieve 1kg plain flour, 4tsp ground ginger, 2tsp mixed spice and 4tsp bicarbonate of soda together. Gently fold the flour in to the creamed butter mix. Form a dough, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate. Preheat the oven to 150°C and line a baking tray.
Roll the dough out to a 5mm thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut the shapes. Arrange them on the tray and make holes for the ribbons. Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden. Decorate with icing and garnish with edible glitter/silver balls, then thread ribbon through the holes and hang on your tree!
Instead of having matching, pristine baubles hanging from your tree this year why not add a bit of character in a ‘shabby chic’ kind of way? Using a three inch Styrofoam ball as the structure for the bauble, cover it in sequins of different colours in a pattern of your choice – try stripes or a polka dot design, or if you’re feeling skilful then a pattern of holly or stars would look impressive. After you place each sequin simply secure it with a pin until the whole ball is covered. A glitzy, glamorous decoration in minutes, and your friends will no doubt be asking you where you bought them from!
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Wine bottle cover
A fun way to jazz up your bottle of plonk, this DIY decoration will brighten up your Christmas table. Use a cardboard postal tube that fits around a bottle of wine and paint it with several coats of red paint. Next, with cream paint, paint an oval for the face and a white stripe down the middle. Measure around the tube then cut a 1.2 inch wide strip of black felt to this measurement. Cut the belt buckle, beard and mustache using this pattern. Then thread the buckle through the belt and secure with glue. Using the same measurement as before, create a hat with red felt, adding a white felt trim around for the fur. Do not glue the hat on the tube as this acts as the lid for your wine bottle. (If you have the plastic cap from the postal tube you can simply glue the hat to it for a functioning lid). Finally, paint on Santa’s eyes with black paint and glue on his red pom-pom nose, white felt beard and moustache.
Rather than the usual holly and ivy wreath, why not make your front door stand out from the others by making your own unique wreath? Give your decorations a bit of va-va-voom this year and opt for something a little more contemporary such as a wreath made from baubles. Buy a straw wreath and cover it in felt by wrapping 3-inch-wide strips around the wreath, pinning to secure and overlapping the edges. Take an assortment of Christmas baubles and attach to the felt with a glue gun. If you have small baubles these are great for filling in the gaps, or you could even use different decorations such as angel or star figures. Finally, attach some wire to the wreath to hang from your door. There you have it; a glitzy, glam wreath that will rival your neighbours’.
Centre of attention
Making your own centrepiece can make all the difference to your Christmas table and makes a great talking point over dinner – not only will you be able to take credit for the food but also the decorations (the host with the most springs to mind!). A stunning centrepiece doesn’t need to be complicated as you can create a festive focal point with minimum hassle. Using an assortment of festive ribbon, tie bows around a selection of candles and place them on a cake stand. Spray some pine cones with gold or snow spray and arrange around the candles. Finish with a scattering of holly and ivy in and around the cones and candles for a simple yet effective centre to your Christmas table.
A traditional yet easy-peasy DIY Christmas decoration is dried fruit baubles. First, slice some oranges crosswise in quarter-inch slices then lay the slices flat on a baking tray. Use paper towels to blot away excess moisture to encourage the slices to dry. To add a bit of festive zing, rub some cinnamon on to the oranges to give a gorgeous scent. Bake until dried then thread each slice onto some ribbon and hang on the tree. These will look so pretty against the dark green of your tree and will glow when they catch the light. A cheap and fuss-free DIY decoration that you can do with children or as an enjoyable crafty task in the evening.
A pretty way to decorate your table is to adorn it with delicate festive shapes in between plates and name cards. A simple way of creating these decorations is to dip holly leaves into melted chocolate and sprinkle with glitter. Leave them to set then scatter over your table. The glossy chocolate coating gives a luxurious, elegant feel to your Christmas table setting. They look unique but just don’t be tempted to take a bite! If you know you won’t be able to resist (or if you have children coming for Christmas dinner) then cover bunches of cranberries in chocolate instead and scatter on the table or drape over wine glasses. Using white chocolate can create a snow-like effect, while dark chocolate would look great with a purple and gold table setting.
This old-school craft idea can be a great way to make your own festive figures, plaques or hanging decorations. Using the same basic recipe you can create all sorts of decorations. Simply place two cups of plain flour, one cup of table salt and one cup of water into a bowl and mix together. Once a dough is formed knead it for 10 minutes and then leave to stand for 20 minutes. Cover two baking trays with greaseproof paper then place dough on a floured work surface and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin. Use shaped cutters to create festive shapes, making a hole at the top to later thread a ribbon through. If you’re more crafty then make your own festive figures such as Santa or snowmen or a ‘Noel’ or ‘Peace’ plaque to have in your hallway or on your fireplace. Once the dough has cooked paint them to bring them to life!
Christmas card holder
For a simple way to display your Christmas cards and to avoid the dreaded sticky tape marks left on your walls then try your hand at making your very own card holder. Using a craft knife, cut a triangle out of cardboard and cover with green felt or fleece, gluing the edges with a glue gun. This creates a Christmas tree-esque card holder. In a crisscross pattern, attach some festive ribbon, such as a checked or starry pattern, to the front of the triangle, gluing at the back and securing on the front with a stapler (cover with a gold start sticker to hide the staple). Simply slot the Christmas cards behind the ribbon to display them.
To make things über simple for you in the DIY decoration department, then visit John Lewis’ ‘make your own decorations’ section. With the materials you will need as well as craft kits that do the hard work for you, you’ll find pretty much all you need for creative Christmas bliss. Starting from just £1.99 you really can’t go wrong. And better still, you can take all the credit for your craftsmanship.