Christmas is a great time of the year to get your craft on, whether the goal is to keep the kids happily occupied with glue and markers, or to personalise your holiday decorations with a touch of the heart-warming and hand-made. These simple ideas are easy to execute, but the end result will be something far more unique and beautiful than anything you’ll buy at the shops.
Australian native wreath
A wreath on the front door is a wonderful way to evoke the festive spirit, but holly berries and evergreens don’t quite fit with Australia’s sultry summer Christmas. Give this traditional decoration an Aussie twist with native foliage and blooms.
You will need: Sprigs of native greenery – eucalyptus leaves, gumnuts, paper daisies, billy buttons, wattle flowers or whatever else you like; a wire wreath frame or a dried grapevine wreath; florist wire.
How to: Thread your sprigs of flowers and foliage through the wreath frame, overlapping to cover the frame, and secure with florist wire. If using a grapevine wreath, you could leave part of it uncovered, as they’re also stunning plain.
Cookie-cutter clay ornaments
Easy to make and easy on the hip pocket, these ornaments are great for filling gaps in a bare tree and are a fun activity to do with the kids.
You will need: White oven-bake modelling clay; cookie cutters in any shapes you like (Christmas trees, bells and angels look great, but anything goes, from bunnies to dinosaurs); a wooden skewer; paint for decorating (optional); ribbon or twine for hanging.
How to: Roll out the clay to about 5mm thick and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Use the wooden skewer to punch a hole near the top of each decoration. Bake at 110°C for 30 minutes, or according to directions on the packet. When cool, let the kids loose on them with a paint box, or just leave them white for a minimalist tree. Thread ribbon or twine through the hole at the top for hanging.
DIY Advent calendar
Simple brown boxes with just a touch of decoration create an elegant alternative to commercial advent calendars. Fill them with chocolates or small treats to make the kids’ countdown to Christmas so much sweeter.
You will need: Numbered stencils; a white pen; 24 small, rectangular kraft boxes (around 10cm x 5cm, try art and craft or party supply stores); washi tape or ribbon (optional); removable adhesive strips.
How to: Use stencils and white pen to number each of the kraft boxes from 1 to 24. Add any decorative touches you like, such as a strip of washi tape, ribbon or a little sprig of artificial holly. Fill the boxes with treats. Use removable adhesive strips to stick boxes to the wall in the shape of a Christmas tree.
Paper bauble garland & washi tape tree
Delicate paper garlands are a sweet alternative to garish tinsel, while the washi tape tree is a space-saving idea if you can’t spare the room for a traditional pine number.
You will need: A circle punch; coloured or patterned construction paper; a sewing machine (or needle and thread); washi tape.
How to: Use the circle punch to cut shapes from the paper (you can cut these with scissors, but it will be more time-consuming). Thread the sewing machine and pull out a long end of thread for hanging. Sew a straight line through the centre of one paper circle, then let the machine run a few stitches before feeding in the next circle. Repeat. (This can also be done with a needle and thread; try threading the needle in through a hole on one side of the circle and out through a hole on the other side, to minimise sewing.) To display, use washi tape to simply stick each end of the garland to the wall, or use the tape to mark a tree shape on the wall and hang the garland like tinsel across the tree, securing with more washi tape.
Paper flower pom-poms
Fluffy and delicate, these peony-pretty paper flowers make sweet, ephemeral baubles for the Christmas tree. As a bonus, they can be reused as party decorations throughout the year.
You will need: Tissue paper; florist wire; scissors; ribbon or twine for hanging.
How to: Stack eight sheets of tissue paper together. Crease in accordion folds, approximately 3cm wide. (If making smaller decorations for the tree, you might want to cut the stack in half.) Fold stack in half, then unfold and loop florist wire around the centre crease, twist to secure. Use scissors to trim each end of the tissue into a rounded shape. Separate the layers, gently pulling each sheet of tissue towards the centre, then fluff them up to make an even-looking ball. Secure ribbon or twine to the florist’s wire and hang.