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Once I realised that there was a category for this, I just had to write an opinion on it! I have been making my own Christmas decorations for a few years now, at first because I couldn't afford to buy any, and then because its fun, and you get original decorations that no one else has got...plus there is the obvious bonus that it keeps the kids occupied! My first attempt at making Christmas decorations was on a very very low budget; all I actually bought was some glue! It was when I lived in my first little flat on my own, and money was tight. My best mate and I spent quite a while taking the foil out of the insides of cigarette packets (OK, not ideal, but it was desperate times, desperates measures kinda thing!), then cutting stars and things out of the packets, gluing the foil on and making little holes in the top and threading them to make 'bauble' type things....they actually looked quite nice in the end, although admittedly this is not a fab idea for all! One of the most successful decorations I have made (into its second year and still going strong!) was made out of surplus wrapping paper (the silver holographic type, although any would do really)and cornflake packets! I just glued the paper to the card on both sides, then cut circles out, folded them and made little nicks in them to make snowflake shapes (you MUST remember doing this at junior school!). I made one large one, then 3 smaller ones which I hung at different heights from the larger one. Even though I guess I'm biased, they looked really effective, and a few people asked me where I had bought them from! A great one for kids of all ages is the classic salt dough creations...or if you have a bit more cash you could always buy fimo, as it does tend to last better. Just make the shapes into whatever you like, bake in the oven and decorate. If you use salt dough, remember to 'varnish' with PVA glue, as this makes them last a bit longer, although
they generally crumble eventually they would be fine for one Christmas! Fimo will last indefinitely if you pack it away carefully so it doesn't get broken! Fimo is about 1.20 a pack, which is quite dear, but it does have the advantage of lasting! Papier mache is another fun one the kids love, and can be used to make all kinds of Christmassy 'statue' thingies, from snowmen and santa to angels and puddings! Just get a balloon, blow it up, then rip newspaper or left over wrapping paper into strips and soak in a solution of half PVA half water until REALLY soggy! Then just layer the strips up on the balloon until you have about a centimetre of paper plastered on it, remembering to leave a space around the tied end of the balloon. Leave it to go hard (usually overnight), then pop the balloon with a pin, take it out, and decorate. To make things with heads (!)just do the same thing with a smaller balloon and join them together so the two holes meet. The best thing to use to secure them together is masking tape, as you can paint over it easily, although sellotape will do at a push! You can make feet either out of blobs of papier mache that have been moulded and left to go hard, or cut shapes out of fairly thick card (the card has to be fairly stiff and the feet fairly big or it won't balance properly!) Another one we have done is the easter egg thing where you get a straw and make two holes in an egg, put the straw in one hole and blow until you think you are going to pass out to make the inside of the egg comes out of the other hole! Although this isn't an obvious one for Christmas, if you think faberge and paint the eggs than stick some bows and beads/fake gems on them, they actually look really nice threaded through the two holes with a knot at the bottom and hung on the Christmas tree. One that a lot of adults like, as well as the kids, is various types of arrangements for the dinnertable or wherever. For a tabl
e arrangement, all you need is a fairly wide dish with at least a 2cm depth (to hold water and oasis). Cut some oasis to size and push it into the dish, dampen it (don't soak it or it will fall apart!), then arrange whatever you like into it by simply poking it into the oasis. For a table, it looks really nice if you put a candle in the centre, then arrange holly, fir tree (bits off the Christmas tree you could have sworn would fit in your living room are ideal!), mistletoe and any other foliage you like. Gold or silver sprayed pine cones and leaves wound onto wire and pushed in look really effective too. You can even make a day out of this one, by spending the morning going for a walk gathering the bits and bobs for your arrangement, then doing the arranging in the afternoon! A wreath for your front door is done in a very similar way; you need some chicken wire, which you shape into the shape of whatever you want your wreath to be shaped like (!)...wear gloves for this as it can have a tendency to bite back! Then stuff it with oasis, and poke things into it! It is important to put oasis in, as if you don't the average life expectancy of your foliage will be about a week...bit of a short reward for your efforts! Although I wouldn't advise letting kids do the chicken wire bit, they can have a great time pushing the leaves etc. into the shape once you've moulded it for them. Anyway, I'm sure I've rambled on long enough, and if I don't stop here this could end up being the longest op in history! Hope it gives you some ideas!
This Christmas we had home-made decorations and they were lovely. We had our daughters artistic talents on show for all the family and friends to see. When my little cousins came and like kids do get bored, I entertained them by making decorations. The results were so surprising and they really sparkled the house up and gave everyone who came into the house were quick to compliments which of course put a smile on my face. So next year when you have to get the same old decorations be inventive and make your own. They will make the place look so much different. So what do you need: Some scissors, coloured tissue papers, glue, glitter and some coloured pens and paint. That’s all you need. Some of the children made a Christmas tree from newspaper and even though it wasn’t green the green glitter and home-made decorations made it look very nice. The Best bit was making some dough, making balls, different shapes, little Christmas trees etc. When they have baked and when they have cooled, the kids can paint them. You can make a hole in them and tie some thread and hang them onto the Christmas tree. Making Christmas cards was the best though, kids are so creative and the little personalised messages inside them will put a smile on anyone’s face. The glitter and glue comes in hand here. If they are making cards for their little brothers or sisters, children’s magazine will come in handy and they can cut out Bob the Builder or one of the Teletubbies. I had a great time helping the children and they did make our house look nice. I think they enjoyed themselves thoroughly and so did I…….despite the mess. I will keep some of the cards but the rest will go in the bin which means the loft will not be crowded. Next Xmas I will do this again……..any kids want to participate?
I can remember when I was little having huge, gloriously messy decoration making sessions with my Gran. I loved this sort of thing as a child, and have every intention of inflicting the same joys on any offspring I end up having. Its fun, its cheap and its original. On the downsides, it make a mess and you may end up with something really strange. Getting your raw materials. Obviously there's a lot you can get from shops - crepe paper, glitter, paint, tinsle, glue and the like are all vital. Any good art shop or halfway decent newsagents wil have some of these. You can also plunder magazines for images and coloured bits of paper. If you live anywhere near fields and trees, you can also go out and gather bits of plant - twigs with pine cones on look really festive when covered with glitter, teazels are really fun, holly and mistleto are a must, ivy is also pleasantly green. Wild Rosehips add a dash of colour. Never totally denude a plant as this can kill it - take a bit here and there. If most of these things sound alien to you, get a plant book and work from that, or just trust your instincts. Some of these plants are poisonous, so watch out for who's trying to eat what! Taking your raw ingredients as suggested above, combine in interesting ways - putting things in baskets or attaching them to wreaths works well and stops it all from getting too wild. It will be messy, but you can have lots of fun. (you can do this even if you don't have children, just enjoy a moment or two of second childhood.) The other good thing to use is those tinfoil cases you get pies in, and bottle tops. Pie cases can be washed up and cut up to make stars, and with a bit of tinsel on they can even look quite good. Bottle tops are the best though. Take a clean milk bottle top and mould it round your finger to make a bell shape. Thread a needle with cotton, but a knot in one end of the cotton, then thread the bell onto it - you can make chains, using knot
s to keep them appart, or tie several threaded bells together and dangle them from the christmas tree. My family still has a few such bells that I believe were made by my great grandmother! Yule logs - a great alternative to a tree, especially if you don't have much space. These are a really old tradition, predating the tree doctorating. You pick a nice big dry log, check it over evicting any beetles, earwigs, slugs, spiders, ants and the like (this is a job for blokes as far as I am cocerned.) Once the log is de-bugged, bring it in and decorate it by wrapping things around it. You might want to put a few candles on it, some ivy - whatever you fancy. They can look rather good, and you don't have to clean up after them as much as you do real trees. It will also really confuse your friends and family. Have fun with your decorations - sadly I've not had much time this year, and have only managed a few extra bells. It's good fun though, and well worth a go if you have the time. This will be my last op for a few weeks (I shall be getting withdrawl symptoms I expect.) So, cheery festiveness to all of you, and see you in the new year!
It is so wonderful to spend time with your child and get messy. Christmas is a great excuse for this, not that I need one. Homemade decorations are great fun. There are so many places you can pick up goodies at a reasonable price. In the early learning they sell all sorts of merchandise for christams fun like design your own banner and cards, paper chains in assorted colours, stensils and even tree balls to colour. If you are the imaginative type you can pick up a range of craft products from hobby craft and make amazing stuff. My daughter bought polystyrene hearts and balls and painted and stuck feathers and glitter all over them. Made a great mess but she had loads of fun. You can also buy christmas stampers and plaster moulds for a 3d effect and to decorate with pom poms or feathers. Another idea is to make some play dough with flour, water and a lot of salt and a drop of food colouring. Cut out shapes with a christmas cookie cutter and place in the oven on a very low heat for about 2 hours. When they have cooled paint them with cheap glitter nail varnish from the market. Oh, before you put them in the oven do not forget to put a hole in the top to thread cotton through to hang them on the tree. Another cool idea is to slice oranges and place whole cloves into the peel and place in the oven again on a low heat until they have dried out. they give your tree a real christmas scent.
Not only can you hang your sweets on the christmas tree, you can add them to the walls too. Sounds strange? Buy some coloured card and roll them into cones, use a hole punch to punch a hole in the top of the cone. Tie ribbon through the hole and hang on the wall. Then fill them with sweets, nuts, small toys or even small liqueur bottles. They look great and don't cost a fortune, they can even be hung from the tree. For a christmassy theme use glitter or wrap with tinsel. If you want to use it for the rest of the year, use coloured card that matches your decor, then fill with dried flowers. Any colour, any size, any design. The kids have made different sizes to use for different items, and as they match the walls we'll put something else in them after christmas, or the kids can use them in their rooms.
Two naughty little kittens, named Marley and Dylan, are destroying everything that is within their reach in my home. I am told this will not improve. Therefore i have this year created a tree-free christmas! First of all, I took myself down to Au Naturale and bought a selection of leaf skeletons (yes, all the little ventricles and veins that were left after the rest rotted away)for 90p a pack of about 30 and some fir cones - mostly broken and so reduced to 5p each(got loads). I also bought a ceramic head of Michelangelo's 'David' and a 'Venus de Milo' just in case! (99p each) I then bought some tealights (available everywhere) and some glitter, tinsel, silver and gold spray paints, decorative threads and pva glue and card. I piled it all up on my kitchen table. (I had a box of little polestyrene squiggles left after a delivery last week and so stuck those in there as well!) I didn't really know what i was going to do with all this before i sat down and looked at it. Basically I spray painted everything that looked boring or thought might like to be a nicer colour. This included the leaf skeletons, the fir cones , the ceramic things and the polyestyrene squiggles. Making sure to do this on top of paper or card which can be used later. I then threaded the polyestyrene squiggles with pretty threads to create lengths and lightly brushed them with pva glue and rolled them in a tray of glitter. I left them to dry and then dangled them from everything I could find! They sound tacky, don't they?, but they really don't look like cheap wee bits of polyestyrene if you cover them properly. The same idea of bough making was applied to the leaf skeletons and the fir cones. I also stuck single leaves to pieces of pastel coloured card and made them into cool wee gift tags. The fir cones look great if you have a tree because you can place them at the base of the branches
, if it is a fake one, this is agood way of concealing the joins. I dipped the cones in glitter and secured threads to them so that they could be attached to the base of candles . If looped on top of each other they form a wreath around the bottom and look really good on the table. The centrepiece is a huge shrine-type affair on my mirrored sideboard (a mantlepiece would be perfect for this), with 'David's head at centre, surrounded by all of my gold things. I also dried out some orange slices last year and i've placed them at intervals next to the tea lights and tinsel. MAJOR WARNING:- Give any tea lights loads of space and keep an eye if there are kiddies or kitties around. Do not place the polyestyrene boughs next to the tea lights!AAAAAh! The spray-painted paper came in really handy as wrapping and the left over card was used to cut out more gift tag shapes. Well, that's me sorted. Let's hope the house doesn't burn down!
I am an impoverished postgraduate - crippled by student debts, suffocated by council tax, overwhelmed by the sudden hike in interest on my bank accounts due to my new non-student status (thanks Mr Bank Manager!) - I can hear your compassion from here:) - however, I was determined to a enjoy Christmas with decorations. Big W (in my case in the Forge Retail Park, Parkhead, Glasgow) proved to be my saviour. I gota 3ft fake tree for £4.98, 20 white Christmas lights for £1.98 and some silver foil strands for £99. The rest of my decorations were purchased from the nearest art store - namely 1 A4 piece of red acetate, glitter and 1 A4 piece of silver card. Before the groans and Blue Peter type messes fall into your head - it was easy! Cut out star shapes from the red acetate, glue some glitter on and wait to dry. Also cut 1 big star and some smaller stars out of the silver card and glue glitter to them also. Once dry use a hole puch to punch a hole into the star and find any bits of string, wool etc lying around to hang them to the tree. A tip - put the red acetate glitter stars in front of the lights to create the effect of different coloured lights. Tie the big silver star to the top and you are set! My tree is positively glittering - it is almost blinding! And this is an especially good activity to try with the children. The lights and strands will suffice on a 3ft tree and make it totally glittery and bright, but decorations give it that extra unusual touch.
If you've been ordering gifts by mail order or the internet you'll probably find you are developing a small avalanche of polystyrene packing balls/chips. These chips are wonderful when making home-made decorations with young children. Items you'll need: Child safe scissors Child safe glue Elasticated thread Paper plates Pens Large blunt needle aka Bobby Needle There are two items you can make. First to make a 'snowman mask': turn the paper plate upside down, mark and cut out two eye holes. Using the needle and elasticated thread, about 1cm in from the edge of the plate rim on either side of the widest point, thread and fasten across the back of the mask. On the front of the mask glue chips on closely together. Second. To make streamers. Thread a long strand of elasticated thread through the bobby needle and thread on the polystyrene chips. Both are simple and repetitive which seems to be what children love. Both items can even be made by young children of around three years old if continuously supervised. We often have many of the items you need for these in teh house and knowing most things over Christmas will be destroyed by the younger generation it's nice and cheap.
First buy some eggs. Then take the egg out, without breaking the shell! This is called 'blowing' and is fairly time-consuming, but not impossible! Make a hole in each end with a pin, slightly enlarge one of the holes, and blow *gently* through the other until all the inside has come out. After you get the hang of it your breakage rate will improve, but you may end up eating scrambled eggs for a week!! Once all your eggs are blown, paint them either with gold/silver spray paint, or any old emulsion you've got lying around. When these are dry, either use stickers, transfers or more paint to decorate the shell further. You could also use sparkly thread, scraps of material, glitter or sequins. The best glue to use is PVA, as it can be spread easily and dries clear. Remember to attach a loop of gold thread for hanging, and hey presto, your eggs are ready to adorn your tree. Stored carefully, they will keep for ever - but remember to Handle Like Eggs!
Everybody's at it. Co-ordinated trees and decorations. I have my trusty old box of multi-coloured baubles and tinsel, that the kids deck the tree in every year, not i might add in a tidy organised manner. tinsel, ornaments and tree lights all jumbled up together. Nowadays everything is co-ordinated. gold and silver, or blue on it's own, god forbid coloured lights, only plain white are in. Well where's the fun in that? Half the fun is watching the kids untangling different lengths of tinsel, argueing over who puts the battered old fairy on top. If you are conforming and doing the trendy xmas tree thing, kids just sit and watch while you banish their homemade decorations to the garage. I look at my tree every year and remember each year certain decorations were made. Not worry that the shade of gold isn't right. Well I'm sticking with tradition, out come my mixture of decorations, collected over many years, and my tree fairy is adopted for life.
The one thing that annoys me most, is people with matching sets of tree decorations. Our tree has this huge ecletic mix of decorations, made at school, presents from people, bought to celebrate events (there is one frayed ball which I was given at my first Christmas in Canada - when I was 1 1/2!). But always we have to get one new set of decorations in - the edible ones. Popcorn on strings is a favourite, as are boiled sweets - staple the ends of the wrappers together. Big strings of these can be wrapped around the tree like tinsel and you can also eat them afterwards. The popcorn is only recommended for use on fake trees (unless you like the taste of pine), and it is better to use something like carmelised corn, which will hold its freshness just a little bit longer... It's great fun for all ages and it looks pretty good too.
My daughter brought home today a beautiful tree decoration from playschool. Im so chuffed with it im going to get her to make some more and its so easy. Just cut out Christmas shapes from different pieces of coloured card. Eg Christmas Trees, Stars, Bells, Santa and any other shapes you can think of. Get some string or wool. Make a hook, by cutting the wool, about an inch long,cellotape or glue to one side of the card. Here comes the fun bit.You can use anything to decorate them. Cut out old Christmas card pictures, glitter, tinsel, sequins, Christmas paper, anything you can get your hands on!!Let your child decorate them and once there are finished, you can hang them on your tree. It gets your child into the swing of Christmas and once hung on the tree,your child will feel so proud that you have used them. You child will get so much out of this ativity and stops them from being bored on these cold and winter nights.If like me, you get carried away and make 20+, they make good decorations for grandparents. So get your glue out and get sticking!!!
Making paper chains as a child was always one of the highlights of Christmas for me. Now I'm a mum myself I want to let my children have fun and make their own decorations too. You can make simple, effective decorations at very little cost, and it will keep your children amused for ages. Some basic things you will need are: glitter, glue, coloured card and empty toilet roll tubes. These things should be essentials for every Blue Peter mum! To make an angel for the top of the tree, stick a ping pong ball on to one end of a toilet roll and draw features on it using different coloured felt tip pens. Stick some wool on for hair, and cut out some wings from white card. Attach these to the back of the toilet roll. Cut out a triangle of card and cover it with white tisssue paper and glitter, then stick it on the front of the toilet roll for the angel's dress. To make tree decorations, an idea I've used in the past is to cover small empty boxes (ie. matchboxes or snack size raisin boxes) with shiny wrapping paper - red, silver or gold works best. Then add a tiny piece of tinsel and tie them on the tree branches with cotton - voila, miniature parcels. Snowflake decorations are easy to make, simply paste doilies on to pieces of card, cut into snowflake shapes and attach pieces of cotton to hang. You can make smaller ones for the tree, or larger ones to hang from the ceiling. With a little thought you can make some lovely decorations that will be used year after year, and won't break the bank.
When you are 'allowing' your children to make 'decorations' or Christmas cards... you will no doubt use all the 'messy' stuff....glitter, sticky stars and you will have lots and lots of mess to clear up!...pieces of cut cardboard, left over glitter..etc. This is what I do: Clear the table. Get an old single 'fitted' bed sheet. Place it over the table inside out. If it doesnt fit 'snug' enough, use clothes pegs (or freezer bag pegs) to secure to the table. When they have finished, carefully unpeg, make sure the 'corners' of the fitted sheet are 'cupping'..(you know what I mean)..then gently shake or brush the 'mess' into the corners of the sheet! Hey presto, the 'mess' is contained and easily 'bin-able' or easily 'hoover-able'!! Simply roll the sheet up for next time!! (The glue would have dried overnight, so no need to wash it, just 'pull' apart the next time!) Try it. You will not be sorry! (That, or just roll it up and shake it over your neighbours garden fence!!!!).only joking!
To help the children feel part of Christmas, get the following. Thin Card (cornflake boxes etc.) Paper Glue Glitter (various colours) Ribbon bright foil (sweet wrappers etc.) Sticky back plastic (not really needed, but always should be mentioned) Let the Children draw out shapes for tree decorations on the card, cut out the shapes for them. Allow their imagination to run riot, colouring and adding glitter. This can and will keep them happy for days, in fact the only thing that will stop them will be the parents getting fed up clearing up after they have fininshed. If the Children make enough then they can be put inside Christmas cards for family and friends.