23 June 2017

Make your own Christmas decorations


by Clair Faulkner

It is nearly that time of year to climb into the loft and get the Christmas decorations down for a dusting.

This year, instead of using the same old decorations or spending a fortune buy-ing new ones, why not let your children create their own unique decorations? (with a little help). They need not cost a fortune, most of my suggestions use everyday art items such as glitter, paint and glue that you may already have at home. If not, many shops sell packs specially designed with Christmas in mind containing red, gold, silver and green paper paint and glitter. These usually only cost a few pounds.
These simple activities will provide hours of endless fun for your children. I have included activities for very young children and some that are better suited to school age children. So whatever their age I'm sure you will find something here to try. You can always make some yourself! Why not encourage your children to make some decorations as gifts for grand-parents or friends? This is a good opportunity to remind them that Christmas is about giving and showing love for one another. So have fun, be prepared to make a mess and get creating!

Salt Dough Candle Holders

Salt dough is similar to play dough but once baked sets hard like clay. This activity can be adapted to make fridge magnets, brooches or tree baubles.
You will need:
2 cups plain flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water
Scrap card
Candles Glue
Paint and brushes
Mixing bowl and wooden spoon
Blunt knife and baking tray
Rolling pin
1. Turn the oven on to 160C /325F / gas mark 3
2. In a bowl mix the flour, salt and water to form the dough. Knead the dough on a well-floured surface and roll out to 1.5cm (1/2 in) thick.
3. Cut a star template from the scrap card, use this as a template and cut stars from the dough. You will need 3 stars for each finished candle.
4. Press the candle into the centre of 2 stars, cut this circle away. Place these 2 stars on top of the star without a hole, taking care to line up the points. Place onto the baking tray. Check that the candle still fits.
5. Bake the candleholders for about 30 mins. Once they are completely cool paint them using festive colours.
6. Once the paint is dry, put glue all over the holders and sprinkle with glitter.
7. Place candle in hole and admire!

Ping Pong Ball Baubles

Let your imagination go wild with just a ping pong ball, paint and glitter!
You will need:
Ping-pong balls
Cocktail sticks
Ribbon or braiding (optional)
Embroidery thread
Paint and brush
Darning needle
1. Use the needle to make a hole in the top and bottom of the ball. Thread the cocktail stick through the hole. This makes it easier to hold when painting.
2. Paint the balls using bright colours. You may need to paint a second coat if the first dries a little patchy.
3. Decorate with the glitter, glue and thread creating different patterns and designs.
4. Remove the cocktail stick and thread the embroidery thread through the holes to make a hanging loop to hang on the tree.

Bell Baubles

This time eye-catching bell shaped baubles made from egg cartons.
You will need:
Empty egg box cartons
Gold/silver foil or paint
Sticky tape
Very fine tinsel/ribbon
Small bells
1. Cut out the raised sections of the egg carton and pierce a small hole in the top.
2. Cover the carton pieces with the foil, sealing with sticky tape on the inside. (You could use gold or silver paint instead.)
3. Thread the bell onto the fine tinsel or ribbon, next thread both ends of the tinsel or ribbon up through the hole in the top of the carton piece. Tie the ends together and hang on the tree.

Pompom Bunting

This attractive bunting makes a nice alternative to tinsel on the tree, and is an ideal activity for older children.
You will need:
Glittery and coloured wool
Scrap card
Ribbon and cord for trimming
A compass
1. With the compass draw 2 circles with a diameter of 4cm (11/4") on the scrap card. Draw a bigger circle with diameter of 61/2cms (2 1/2") around both of the small circles. Cut around the inner and outer circles to leave you with 2 card rings.
2. Cut a length of glittery and coloured wool, hold the 2 rings together and take the wool around and around them. Continue with more lengths of wool until the ring is completely covered.
3. Once you have covered the ring 2 or 3 times take the scissors and slide the blade between the 2 layers of card and cut the wool all around the outside of the ring.
4. Cut a small length of wool and tie around the pompom between the 2 layers of card. Pull this tight and tie securely with a knot. Slide the card rings off and fluff up the pompom.
5. Once you have made a few pompoms, plait some wool together to form a long length. Tie the pompoms onto the plait of wool at regular intervals and hang on the tree.

Simple Stars & Bells

This is a very easy and quick activity. It is ideal for young pre-school aged children because of its simplicity. There is very little mess created here as no glue or paint is necessary.
You will need:
Shiny cardboard - can be bought in packs in most big toy shops
Star stickers
Shiny gift-wrap ribbon
1. Cut large star and bell shapes from the shiny card. You could cut other festive shape such as Christmas stocking or holly.
2. Decorate the stars and bells with sticky stars.
3. Punch a hole in the top of the shapes and thread with the ribbon, so they can be hung on the tree.

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