Can't get enough holiday flair? Then tap into your creative side with these easy-to-assemble crafts.
Why spend cash on a brand new wreath when you can give last year's a whole new look? Jo Pearson, a creative expert with Irving, Texas-based Michaels Stores, Inc., suggests simply replacing the ribbon and ornaments.
1. Make bow and secure to wreath with floral wire.
2. Insert and secure final ornaments to wreath with glue.
3. Insert and secure colored ball ornaments to wreath with glue.
4. Insert and secure glitter pinecone/fruit picks to wreath with glue.
TIP: Include small gift boxes and glitter bells for variety.
Send meaningful mail
Send your loved ones a personal message this Christmas. "You don't have to be an artist to make great cards for the holidays," Pearson says. "A quick rubber stamp and fun papers make great cards to share with friends."
1. Cut dark green cardstock to 10.25' X 7' and fold in half top to bottom.
2. Cut a strip of light green cardstock to 3' X 7'. Adhere strip of light green to card front 1/2 inch from bottom of card.
3. Stamp small swirl on the left side of the light green cardstock. Generously cover with embossing powder. Use heat gun to melt embossing powder evenly.
4. Place the clear letters "n," "o," "e," and "l" rightside down onto a piece of scrap paper. Evenly coat the backs of the letters with the cranberry alcohol ink. Set aside to dry.
5. Once dry turn over and set letters close together.
6. Stamp music score onto the front side of the clear letters with black ink. Let dry.
7. Adhere letters to the front right side of the card on the light green cardstock.
8. Layer a poinsettia flower together and fasten with brad. Adhere flower to the right side of card front, left of the gold flourish.
Leave your handprint
Give your gifts the perfect finishing touch with these charming mitten clips from Marthastewart.com.
1. Cut a mitten shape from cardboard, and trace it onto a piece of felt.
2. Cut along the lines, and glue the felt to the cardboard with clear-drying white craft glue.
3. Adorn the felt side of the mitten with bits of felt in complementary colors - dots made with a hole punch, a monogram, felt trim edged with decorative shears, or a Christmas tree cut out with a decorative craft punch.
4. Glue a standard wooden clothespin to cardboard, then glue a magnet to the back of the clothespin.
5. After gifts have opened, use your mittens to display greeting cards on the refrigerator.
Charm your guests
Let your guests mingle without misplacing their drinks. "Wine charms are as easy as 1-2-3 to make and you can give each guest different colored or lettered beads," says Pearson.
1. Using head pin, slide small bead onto pin and then add square bead.
2. Using wire cutter, cut head pin 1/4 inch from square bead.
3. Using roundnose pliers, bend head pin 90 degrees from end and back around to create a loop. Use pliers to close the loop close to bead for hanging.
4. Thread small round bead, oval bead, round bead, hanging charm, another round bead, oval bead and round bead onto wire hoop.
5. Using pliers, bend the straight end of the wire hoop 1/4 inch and hook into other end of wire hoop to hold around glass stem.
6. Personalize each with an alphabet letter.
Adorn your tree
Add a personal touch to your Christmas tree with a recipe-made ornament, like Cinnamon Birds, shown to the right. "The great thing about recipe crafts are that you can add your own taste to them with colors, fragrances or essential oils," says Marcie McGoldrick, editorial director for holiday and crafts, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
1. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup ground cinnamon and 1/4 cup applesauce using a rubber spatula.
2. Stir in 1/2 cup craft glue. Stir the dough until consistency is smooth and dry. Let stand 1 hour.
3. Turn out one-quarter of dough onto a cool, flat surface; flatten with your hands.
4. Flatten with a rolling pin to 1/4 inch thick. If dough becomes too dry, spritz with water. If it sticks to rolling pin or work surface, sprinkle with additional cinnamon.
5. Use bird-shaped cookie cutters to shape dough.
6. With a straw, poke a hole in dough. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Transfer ornaments to a baking sheet; bake, flipping once, until dry, about 2 hours. Once the dough has dried completely, adorn the birds with markings inspired by nature or your imagination. As you decorate, proceed from the finest embellishment to the coarsest, adding glitter, then beads in order of size.
7. Using a bottle with an applicator tip, spread craft glue over the area you wish to decorate.
8. While glue is still wet, sprinkle with glitter or beads, holding ornament over a bowl as you work; tap off excess.
9. Wait for the first area to dry completely (at least 30 minutes) before repeating steps 7 and 8 on another section. Thread a length of ribbon through ornament's hole, trim the ends to prevent fraying, and knot. Once you take the ornaments off the tree, store them, wrapped individually in tissue paper, in a cool, dry place.
Cook in style
Look the part while whipping up your holiday meal. "Canvas aprons are easy to embellish with felt cut-outs, ribbons, buttons or transfers, and are easy to paint with dimensional fabric paints and sponges," says Pearson.
1. Using a pattern, draw gingerbread man onto a sponge and cut out. Place sponge under water to expand and then wring out water. Use paper towels to blot out any excess water.
2. Using sponge brush, coat sponge with brown paint and print onto center of apron, sprinkle with glitter and lay flat to dry. Shake off excess glitter.
3. Using white dimensional paint, draw wavy lines onto gingerbread man to resemble icing. Use red to draw mouth.
4. Using small spouncer, spounce eyes and buttons on your gingerbread man. Sprinkle with glitter and keep flat to dry. Shake off excess glitter when dry.
5. Use large spouncer and different colors of paint to add gumdrops to top and bottom of apron. Sprinkle with glitter and keep flat to dry.
6. Glue rickrack to top and bottom of apron.
7. Cut neck tie and side ties from apron and replace with ribbon. Use glue to attach.