Christmas decorating is a lot like baby shoes. You want it to be perfect, but you know you’ll only get to use it for a few weeks before you outgrow it. That’s where holiday crafting comes in. Make your own, make it perfect, make it cheap. But if you’re short on time (like every other woman on the planet) there’s a crafting trick that will save you money and time. Instead of mastering 20 holiday crafts and buying half the craft store supplies, you can decorate your home with one or two unique holiday craft techniques that can be recreated in endless ways without ever repeating yourself. Here are my two absolute favorite holiday crafting ideas for home decorations, holiday gifts and greeting cards.
Holiday Cloth Creations
I saw my first Christmas cloth art at a holiday crafting fair. It was the image of a bird created with cut fabric and feathers (here’s a particularly whimsical example from Martha Stewart). I immediately saw the potential for endless holiday crafting ideas. Since then, I’ve created holiday cloth greeting cards, ornaments, Thanksgiving and Christmas menus, holiday wall art and unique homemade holiday gifts, all using the simple technique of creating a collage from fabric, feathers and whatever else my imagination came up with. . The steps are always the same:
1. I like to create this holiday craft on a picture mat board, which you can find in craft stores in a wide range of colors, textures and sizes. I cut the board down to the size appropriate for my craft and save the rest for another holiday craft.
2. Search magazines for an image for your holiday craft, such as birds, winter landscapes, snowmen, a forest cottage, or anything else that strikes your fancy. Old calendars are also a great source of images. Cut out the image exactly and use craft glue to stick it to your craft board.
3. Bring out your leftover fabrics from other crafting projects, or buy a few kitchen towels or closeout silk underwear as cheap alternatives. To give this holiday craft its unique atmosphere, choose a color palette of two main colors with several variations and one accent color.
4. Divide the image mentally into segments then cut strips of fabric to those exact shapes. Use craft glue to stick the fabric over the image then press it down with a cold iron. In this way you’ll create a holiday craft that looks like a collage of fabric.
5. Add buttons for eyes, feathers for hair or tree leaves, cotton balls for snow. Let your creative side turn this holiday craft into a reflection of your favorite colors and textures.
Holiday Craft Wire Creations
I discovered craft wire as a kid and it was love at first sight. It’s so easy to shape into whatever you like, and by stringing beads on the wire you can turn it into bejeweled creations. For holiday crafting, there’s nothing cheaper and easier to shape into decorations and gifts. I found a lovely example on Country Living Magazine, where you can see pictures of a Christmas star. You can create candelabra ornaments, long spiraling ceiling decor or mantelpiece garlands. For holiday parties, create little strings of beads and loop them on wine glass stems, so your guests can recognize their glass by the bead colors. For holiday table decorating create strings of beads and loop them into napkin holders that your guests can take home as a memento of the holiday. Decorate your front door with a beaded sign spelling Merry Christmas. The possibilities are endless, and the steps are always the same:
1. Craft wire comes in different colors and gauges (thickness). I like to choose my holiday crafting beads before I choose my wire. This way, I can fit the right wire to the diameter of the holes in my beads. I also like to alternate one large bead followed by a string of smaller ones or thin long ones. You’ll also need a hot glue gun (a cheap one will do just fine). You can find all these items at your local craft store.
2. My favorite holiday crafts are made on a single long wire. Since you can shape the wire into spirals, waves, festoons or circles, there are endless holiday crafting possibilities even with a single wire. Be sure to shape the wire before you start to string the beads. You can choose to use hot glue to stick the beads in place, but I find that only the first and last beads need to be secured to keep the string from unraveling. To be on the safe side, secure the 5 beads at the beginning and end of each holiday wire craft.
3. Other holiday crafts require several wires to come together, like the Christmas star craft where the wires cross each other. In this case, be sure to buy an additional extra-thin craft wire for twirling around the joints of the thicker wire skeleton and connecting its parts. Because the wire is thin, it will easily disappear from sight once you string the beads.
For more of my holiday crafting creations, check out my unique homemade holiday-menus, or my 5 ideas for unique holiday-greeting-cards. And for last-minute holiday decorations, here are my 5 holiday-table-decorations you can make in a flash.