Why prepare for Christmas by waiting in long lines at overcrowded stores when you can create heartfelt moments with loved ones while crafting a homespun holiday that harkens back to simpler times. Deck the halls without breaking the bank using my easy craft tutorials for DIY décor that harmonizes perfectly with the season’s traditional crafts of gingerbread houses and strung cranberries or popcorn. Have friends over for a cookie decorating or gift wrapping party, and then move the décor over to the mantel in time for a cozy Christmas. In this way, we can all celebrate togetherness in the real spirit of the season!
“Deck the halls with boughs of holly“ and a one-of-a-kind burlap tablecloth painted with stamps and matching napkin rings which set a delightful tone for a homespun holiday gathering. (Learn how easy it is to make these here!)
“’Tis the season to be jolly” and nosh on gluten-free vegan gingerbread cake served upon red ceramic plates over wooden chargers accompanied by holiday reindeer mugs filled with steaming cups of hot chocolate and homemade marshmallows.
Why prepare for Christmas by waiting in long lines at overcrowded stores when you can create heartfelt moments with loved ones while crafting a homespun holiday that harkens back to simpler times. Deck the halls without breaking the bank with easy DIY advent calendars and holiday banners made from burlap, ribbon, jute or twine, and clothes pins. Nothing is more festive than a banner, and the countdown to Christmas is even more exiting when it’s accompanied with a daily treat. In this way, we can all celebrate togetherness in the real spirit of the season!
To make a simple yet adorable Christmas banner, use a wired ribbon (like patterned burlap) and a thinner flat woven ribbon. Cut the woven ribbon as long as you want your banner to be (like the length of your mantel).
To make the little flags, cut enough 4 inch lengths of the wired ribbon to fill the length of the banner. Next cut 1 inch V-notches out of one end of each (by folding in half lengthwise and making a straight cut at a diagonal angle).
Hot glue the straight sides of the cut flags to the center of the long woven strand (spacing them a little apart). Now add a line of glue to the top of the long ribbon and fold in half over the cut ribbons. (Press this down for better adherence.) Do this in sections of a few flags at a time (so the hot glue doesn’t have time to cool before pressing).
Try hanging it on a stairway or as a festive backdrop in your breakfast room. (I even have one hanging across my spice racks as I write this.)
To make an original yet inexpensive advent calendar use 25 clothespins, 25 tiny paper bags, jute or twine, and some leftover ribbon or burlap.
Print my heart stencil, and cut it out to use as an easy template to trace uniform shapes quickly. (Just right click on the image above, and select print.)
Trace the hearts (or make stars, trees, circles, etc.) onto the underside of your choice of ribbon, fabric, paper, or burlap. Cut 25 of the shapes out.
Then hot glue a shape to each clothespin. Next, you have the choice of gluing a ready-made number onto each heart, or simply adding a bow. (This is really cute when using them as a mantle-less stocking holder line. You can also add a strong magnet to the back, and stick it on the fridge.)
I chose to hot glue jute in the shape of numbers onto each heart. (It is easier than it looks, but it was a bit more time consuming.)
Be sure to knot small lengths of twine in between each clothespin at regular intervals (so that they don’t all end up in the center once they’re hung up).
A few ideas for daily treats are… gum or candy, jewelry or cufflinks, holiday fortunes without the cookies, gift cards from favorite stores, love notes or poetry, cash or coins, seasonal jokes, flash drives loaded with holiday movies or music, sewing goods like thimbles or embroidery floss, special recipes with a promise to make, barrettes or keyrings, homemade certificates for things like breakfast in bed or car-washing, lip gloss or chap-stick, scavenger hunt clues for large items, scrapbooking stickers or components, and tickets for movies, concerts, events, or travel. Or for the crafty person… try putting one piece of a crafting kit into each packet which can be completed when the holiday’s over. You can even assign odd and even days to different family members.
Why have one day of a filled stocking that competes with big presents, when you spread the joy of Christmas into 25 days of surprises!
Fa La La La La Lovin’ It!
P.S. Check out my other coordinating homespun holiday craft tutorial HERE, and the full results all of the heartfelt crafting HERE!
Why prepare for Christmas by waiting in long lines at overcrowded stores when you can create heartfelt moments with loved ones while crafting a homespun holiday that harkens back to simpler times. Deck the halls without breaking the bank with an easy DIY burlap tablecloth painted with stamps to coordinate with ribbon crafted napkin rings. Then add a personal touch to ready-made burlap and jute bird ornaments with just a little paint and sentiment. In this way, we can all celebrate togetherness in the real spirit of the season!
To make the tablecloth, fold the burlap fabric onto itself forming a triangle. Cut alongside the raw edge to remove the extra footage. Unfold it to reveal a perfect square without having measured a thing. The raw edges add to its rustic appeal… so nothing needs to be sewn either! (Note that burlap is available in varying widths which in turn will affect your length… so purchase the widest variety you can find.)
Spread the burlap over a cheap drop-cloth to protect your work surface from paint (because it will seep through). Add a holiday pattern to the cloth with a thick foam shape stamp. Dip it into cheap acrylic craft paint, and then stamp it onto a throw away piece to remove the excess paint before stamping your project.
I used a star shape for several reasons… I already owned the stamp, it symbolizes the star of wonder in the heavens, and the cloth can be used again on the fourth of July!
Make the matching napkin rings easily with wire edged burlap ribbon which is available in so many cute patterns. To do this, simply cut 6 inch lengths for each ring you’ll need.
Lay down a line of hot glue onto one end of a section of ribbon and fold it over to meet the other end. Press together firmly to ensure it forms a secure bond. One and done!
The rings coordinate perfectly with my advent calendar and banner crafts because they utilized the same roll of ribbon.
Saving the easiest for last… personalize any store bought ornament with a little paint for gifts or to make it match your décor perfectly.
For these bird picks (from the floral department of a local craft store) I simply painted the black beaks and added hearts with a bit of the leftover tablecloth paint.
These clip ornament birds were found at an overstock supply store locally. (Now painted, they look like lipstick laden lady birds wearing their hearts on their sleeves!)
I started the whole ornament personalization thing many years ago when my godmother (not a fairy) asked me to paint a pennant bearing penguin to change its school affiliation. It was a really easy way to customize a small gift to turn it into a keepsake. (If you’re not at ease with a brush and paint, try a paint pen!)
Fa La La La La Y’all!
P.S. Check out my other coordinating homespun holiday craft tutorial HERE, and the full results all of the heartfelt crafting HERE!
With all of the miles of commercially produced wrapping paper that stores seem to stock at every corner… why make your own? Well, it can be made super-fast and super-easy without looking like it! With my simple repurposing trick, you can make handcrafted gift wrap inexpensively in a matter of minutes. It’s really easy to stamp any type of package, paper, tag, card or box… even one that gets addressed and sent in the mail! It looks even more adorable on matching notebooks, craft letters, or any other gift that would accept inking. With stamping, you can match the colors to your décor for a catalog worthy Christmas, and delight loved ones with one-of-a-kind gifts at the same time. And, I don’t know about you, but I really love it when someone has cared enough to make something just for me.
My simple trick to easy and fast polka-dot making (ahem, drumroll please)… bingo markers! The idea was sparked about 15 years ago when someone gave me a few of these because she thought I might want the ink in them. Let me tell you, I made so many spotted cards with them! Everyone was always surprised when I told them what I had used.
You can find them in so many colors. I’ve used pink, green, blue, red, and purple as examples here. They even come in shapes like shamrocks or hearts, but I’m sticking with polka-dots for now because they are just so classic and chic!
You can use any kind of paper for the gift wrap or bags. Glossy paper will leave more of a watercolor look, while matte paper will dry to a solid flat color. Both have their merits. Just know that glossy surfaces take much longer to dry. It’s great to buy neutral colored bags in white or kraft paper color, and then stamp them into personalized colors as needed.
You can match your décors theme, go with traditional colors, or even pick a different color combo for each family member. Pink is my grandmother’s favorite color, so that’s just what she gets!
Blue and pink polka-dots are perfect for gender-neutral baby showers.
The paper I’m showing here is the best I’ve found for wrapping. It’s thick enough to hide the contents well. It won’t tear like the commercial variety in transit or mailing. It dries quickly and evenly so you can make a ton of it and just roll it back up. The tag in the picture has dry ink on pink paper, and it’s sitting atop tan with freshly applied ink.
The roll is really inexpensive for quite a lot, so it fits everyone’s budget. It’s so versatile because you can do anything with it (spray paint it, paint a scene on it, write messages on it, have kiddos draw on it, make gift tags or cards out of it, etc…) What is this amazing product? (Another drumroll please)… rosin paper from a hardware store! It’s actually used in homes during construction. I learned about it from my interior designer mother of course. It’s available in pink, green, white and tan like kraft paper in rolls that will last for years. I even use this stuff for covering the backs of framed artwork. (I’ll do a DIY tutorial for this in the future. It’s really easy and will save you so much money.)
I try to stamp one color in a grid-like pattern, and then follow up in between those with a contrasting color. I have to admit though… sometimes it’s fun to just get stamp-happy all over the place! Do expect this when kiddos are involved. It’s fun to see the creations they come up with.
When making hand-stamped giftwrap for my Etsy store, I make long sections for wrapping purchased goods, and also package making kits complete with tag and twine.
I make my individual sheets much larger (36 x 30 inches) than others typically offer (20 x 30 inches) so as to fit larger packages. Each kit will definitely cover several small boxes.
If you want to make individual wrapping paper sheets for yourself, just use a T-square ruler to measure and mark straight distances before cutting.
Another idea, how fun would it be to have a holiday stamping and wrapping craft party with the gal-pals!
Here are traditional red and green packages for Christmas with added ornament decorations. You can see for yourself the differences between glossy, matte, box, bag, and wrapping paper.
I also used a stamp on them that says, “handmade for you, because you’re worth it,” as it really exemplifies what I’m trying to do… show that I care!
This is an idea for a friend celebrating Hanukkah. I realized I had no appropriate bag decoration for it, so I took a couple of minutes to make one. To make your own, run the matching bingo marker over 6 popsicle sticks to stain them. After they’re dry, hot glue 3 into a triangle. Repeat this with the last three, then glue one triangle on top of the other. Tie on with coordinating twine, yarn, or ribbon.
This would be a great type of Christmas craft for the little ones making ornaments for the family. The bingo markers don’t make a big mess and the ink washes off of skin. Adding a year and a name in permanent marker would make it even more precious.
Here are some birthday gift packages with tiny frames as bag décor.
I went ahead and stamped them ahead of time because I already had everything out, and I’m planning an upcoming green and pink polka-dot theme birthday party. It fit just too perfectly!
Also, I’ve made some critter themed wrap in blue and green. It seems like there is always a little one being born or having a birthday, so I make a point of finding theme items throughout the year for gift baskets. I can always find cute things in ducks, frogs, and ladybugs.
Here are some attempts at making shapes with the bingo markers. I’m sure it probably would have been smarter to practice before doing this on the bag and boxes. Oh well, at least you can get the idea.
The Mickey / Minnie Mouse bag appears to have black ink on it because green ink appears black on the red paper. I also stamped polka dots onto a length of red paper ribbon to demonstrate the endless possibilities of decorating with ink. The green Hungry Caterpillar box just as easily could have featured a blue Alice in Wonderland Caterpillar.
The hearts on the box aren’t great because it isn’t easy to make a V-point with a round stamp. Although I did get better at it by the time I made the leaves for the flowers. Just use a Sharpie to draw in details like arrows or a wavy lined stem. The peppermint candies were made by a foam stamp inked with the bingo marker. I thought it might work, and was delighted to find that it did! I will soon be posting a Winter Candyland Party that this type of stamp is perfect for, but here it’s used for a “sweetheart” gift box.
It’s really great to just stamp the outside of gift boxes, and not worry about wrapping at all! Here I’ve use some Christmas yarn… purchased with a coupon so that it was a fraction of the price of baker’s twine. I have enough quantity to be generous with it without worrying about running out… and it’s just really cute.
The Rudolph decoration was manufactured, but it would be really easy to draw a silly character on poster board in Sharpie markers and glue on a red pom-pom nose. That could be a fun way to get the kids involved as well. Another festive idea is to stamp the outside of a mailing parcel then write the recipient’s address in black Sharpie.
Don’t forget to make tags for your “presies”. I just used several large punches to cut them out of the same paper.
I then stamped them in assembly line fashion… proof positive that quick can be cute!
I used the handmade stamp and candy stamp on some. The star tag was stamped with a foam star and acrylic craft paint. This way you can see the difference between how ink and paint look. Use a Sharpie marker to write messages on any of these as pens just don’t show up well.
As for the gifts themselves, why not make super-quick stocking stuffers with matching polka-dots?
I took boring kraft paper notebooks, and raised the cuteness factor exponentially with a little ink stamping and twine wrapping.
I also added some washi tape to one whose top was peeling slightly. I personalized that one with my name in Sharpie.
There is one thing which will save you some length on twine brands that have a tendency to unravel easily… tie two knots before cutting in between them. I found that the yarn that looks like twine actually unravels less.
Here is a collection of my various colors of notebooks that will be made available at Le fidèLe Designs Etsy store.
Another stamping idea that’s super-easy and fast is making message holiday décor. I bought the only “J” left in 3 stores, so JOY must be popular for the holidays. Really, any letters using different colors can be made year-round. A name would make a terrific personalized gift for a little one’s nursery.
I simply stamped haphazardly with the red and green, because it was more fun that way!
I went ahead and inked the back as well, for versatility. In this way I can set them anywhere, even freestanding in the bar area.
Lastly, I found some holiday charms and bells to tie on with Christmas yarn. It was easy and done in a few minutes.
The best part of all of these projects is that I found people really want to reuse some of the stamped wrap. (I even had one request that I not to write on the tag next time, so that she could send it forward… not the gift, just the bag and tag!) By hand-making your own wrapping, you are not only demonstrating that you really cared enough to go that extra mile, but it’s also beneficial to the environment when others want to continue passing it along. Reusing is even better than recycling! It’s yet another way to give when we are good stewards for His majestic creation.