40 Easy Christmas Crafts
For custom-colored bottlebrush trees, use fabric dye such as Rit or diluted stamping inks, which come in dozens of colors at crafts stores. Dip to dye.
Dress up pinecones and stand them on glittery wooden spools to create a fanciful forest. The photo shows needle-felted balls as "ornaments," but small pom-poms or beads would work, too. For the base, cover the sides of a wooden spool with glue, sprinkle with glitter and let dry. Glue ornaments to pinecone, and cone to base.
Light up family dinners or holiday parties with this pretty candle. Place greenery at the bottom of a glass jar; fill jar about two-thirds full of water. Add cranberries and a floating candle.
Hide-and-peek: Cone trees
Our paper forest hides treats for a sweet Christmas countdown. Click here for complete instructions and a free template for this project.
Second time around
To decorate for the holidays, try using old things in new ways. Here, beads from a strand of vintage mercury glass were hot-glued to vintage bottlebrush trees nested in mustard pots (teacups work, too). Idea by Michigan flea-market aficionado Maria Marcusse.
Days of wonder
To create this Advent calendar, adhere number stickers to shipping tags. Use gold straight pins to attach the tags and a selection of ornaments to an artists canvas lined with foam board. Idea by Michigan flea-market aficionado Maria Marcusse.
Give glass a temporary snowy tree look. Draw a design on adhesive shelf paper, cut it out with a crafts knife or scissors, and stick to hurricane. Peel off the top and spray exposed areas with faux snow from a crafts store. Let dry. If the tree design seems too intricate, go for simple geometric shapes: circles, rectangles, triangles, etc.
Wrap a pillow
Dress a plain pillow for the season. Cut a holiday shape, such as a tree or star, from felt or burlap. Secure on a pillow by wrapping repeatedly with yarn. Inexpensive burlap and yarn (or string) work great for wrapping packages, too.
Countdown to Christmas
A gray-painted board attached to a vintage window frame makes an eye-catching Advent calendar. Cup hooks hold manila shipping tags numbered with stickers. Each day in December, a family member chooses an ornament from a nearby bowl and hangs it on the calendar. Pretty gifts and silvery ornaments fill out the ledge below.
Think big and bright when making these bold ornaments. Red and green scrapbooking paper in fun patterns adorns shapes cut from poster board. We found ornament silhouettes online then enlarged them to suit the window. Glue three papers onto each ornament. Punch a hole at the top, then hang them on red cording or yarn taped to the top of the window. A valance of live greens finishes the display.Resources Scrapbooking papers and red cording Michaels Crafts Stores. (800) 642-4235; michaels.com Ornament silhouettes Search Internet for "Christmas ornament shapes."
String me along
Handmade decorations afford a satisfying sense of creating your own style. To make tassels as shown, wrap yarn around an index card about 70 times. Snake a length of yarn between the card and the wrapped yarn, and tie it off. Slip the yarn off the cardboard and snip in half. Tie a second bit of yarn about 1 inch from the top to form a ball at the top. Idea by Illinois designer Jennifer Rizzo.
Jolly holly leaves garland
Fashion a festive chair-backer from paper straws and felt in fun hues. We paired hunter green with zesty lime and shades of lavender. To make, trace three sizes of leaves on sheets of wool felt. (Download patterns below.) Cut out leaves. Punch two holes in leaf tops. For berries, hot-glue wool felt balls below holes. String leaves in groups of three, separating clusters with paper straws cut to 6 inches. Pin or tie garlands to chairs for a fanciful flourish.Resources Gold cording Hobby Lobby. (800) 888-0321; hobbylobby.com Paper straws Tinkerbell-inspired Lavender, Pistachio and Purple striped paper straws. Party Delights. etsy.com/shop/PartyDelights Wool felt Balls; colors: Purple and Thistle. 18x18-inch sheets; colors: Hunter Green and Willow. The Felt Pod. thefeltpod.com
A foam cone becomes a sparkly miniature tree when covered with pearls, rhinestone earrings and vintage crystals.
Dress up a cabinet
Give cabinet doors or windows a holiday touch with ribbon and a paper medallion. Just crisscross the ribbon and tape or tack in place, adding the medallion where the ribbons cross.
Create a white Christmas using inexpensive glass cylinders from a crafts store. Place one cylinder inside a larger one, then sprinkle a dusting of fake snow between the two and nestle a sprig of greenery on top of the snow. Add a pillar candle or battery-operated candle inside the center cylinder. Group different size cylinders for your display.
Make an Advent calendar
Turn a mini muffin pan into an Advent calendar! Use a pan with 24 wells about two inches wide. Cut 2¼-inch circles from a 12x24 adhesive magnet sheet. Adhere to patterned paper and cut out. Use a 1-inch circular punch for inner circles; number and glue to magnetic circles. Fill wells with toys, candy or notes. To hang your calendar, use a hammer and nail to punch holes at one end; string with ribbon.
Wrap silver votive holders in velvet ribbon and glue on mini pinecones to add a sparkly touch to centerpieces or mantels. These also make great hostess gifts!
Make a festive frame
Make a white frame (or spreay-paint one) a pretty focal point by hanging an ornament from the hook in back.
Vintage toy blocks spell out holiday messages. Look for blocks in a variety of sizes and colors. If you want to hang your creation, glue to a sturdy surface such as a board or artist's canvas.
Hang a no-fuss doorknob
Greet guests with a festive salutation. Just fold over the top of a wide burlap ribbon, then cut a slit through both layers to slide over a doorknob. Attach cork stick-on letters to spell out Welcome. Wired-on live greens and tiny pinecones complete the arrangement.
Dress up fruit
Add holiday flair to apples by inserting bronze brads (available at crafts stores) in a variety of patterns.
Use foam cones, holiday papers and decoupage glue to make the three trees at the center of this pretty holiday scene. Create circle shapes with a paper punch, then glue to cones.
Nestle special "ingredients" inside ball ornaments for thoughtful, budget-friendly party favors or decorations. You can use wintry natural materials like we did, or let your imagination fly.What you'll needPlastic ball ornamentsArtificial snowPineconesPine tree clippingsFeathersRibbonInstructionsPlace items inside one ornament half. (Leave them loose, or secure with a dot of hot glue.) Top with the other half, string with ribbon, and presto, you're done!
Create wall art by painting nine 12x-12-inch artist's canvases in bright red or another favorite Christmas color; let dry. Glue on ribbon in a variety of patterns.
Hot-glue pom-poms and vintage light reflectors onto a plastic-foam wreath with a flat back for a colorful vintage look. Bulbs or vintage buttons would work, too.
Create a winter wonderland in snow globe-inspired apothecary jars. Pour Epsom salt into the jars, then stand bottlebrush trees and toy deer spray-painted gold in the "snow."
Recycle wrapping paper
Turn colorful, graphic wrapping paper designs into bargain Christmas decor for your tabletop or mantel. For the simplest tree, shown in fuchsia, wrap paper around a foam cone. Trim to fit, and secure with pushpins. Overlapping circle cutouts create the scalloped look of the chartreuse tree. Make shapes with a circle punch (available at scrapbooking stores); then attach with glue. For the apple-green looped tree, fold a sheet of paper in half, securing with spray adhesive. Cut 1x5-inch paper strips. Starting at the bottom, layer looped strips, securing with pushpins, to cover the foam cone.
Mini glittery stockings garland
Bring glitz to a shelf or mantel with a glitter-paper garland. (Download patterns here.) Trace stocking shapes onto glittery scrapbooking paper. Turn over patterns to trace back sides. Cut out; glue fronts to backs. Toe and heel patches and stripes cut from paper in another color make sweet accents. Punch two holes in the tops of socks to string on shiny gold cording.
Use white and red acrylic paints to create this snowy scene. Paint the bottom with two coats of white paint; let dry after each. Then add trees in different sizes. After they've dried, dab on red acrylic paint to look like cardinals.
To craft a quick centerpiece, gather evergreen boughs into a container covered in red silk flowers.Remove stems from silk flowers, and hot-glue blossoms to a cylindrical container. Fill container with water and fresh evergreens.
Create card art
Turn leftover holiday cards into a quick crafts project. Use medium- and large-size hole punches from crafts supply stores to make paper circles, then arrange them, overlapping, on a wooden wreath form. Glue them in place; dot with pom-poms. Hang from ribbon glued to the back of the wreath.
A flurry of snowflakes floats above a forest of pines. Simply hot-glue together trees cut from foam-core board. Lean the unit against the window or secure with double-faced tape. Thread or hot-glue pom-poms onto fishing line then attach to the window frame with invisible tape.Resources Foam-core board, craft pom-poms and filament Michaels Crafts Stores. (800) 642-4235; michaels.com Wall color SW6706 Off-Beat Green. Sherwin-Williams. (800) 474-3794; sherwin-williams.com
Cookie cutter wreath
Inexpensive cookie cutters create a fun and easy-to-make door decoration.Arrange cookie cutters inside a shape drawn on paper. Each cutter should have contact points with another. Join contact points with a paper clip or wire, and spray paint if you like. Top with a ribbon.
Refined ribbons garland
A braided ribbon garland looks sharp draped over framed art. Tie cording at one end of a dozen green, gold and purple ribbons. Separate into three bunches by color, then braid. Tie end. Ornaments on jump rings add holiday bling.Resources Ornaments Christmas Central. (800) 433-0038; christmascentral.com Ribbons Midori (800) 659-3049; midoriribbon.com
Poinsettia felt throw
Create a holiday-inspired throw to drape across a chair or love seat for a festive layer of warmth.See instructions and patterns for this and 8 more holiday felt projects.