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!
This Candyland theme was inspired by Mary, a dear lady who passed on long ago, but left her inimitable words of wisdom with me, “life is uncertain, eat dessert first,”…and she always did! So it is with her spirit of joie de vivre, that I unbound that creative kid within me that clamored for a sensory sugar high. To release your inner child, follow my 3 part DIY party decorating series (with easy project tutorials and free printables) as it’s a sure path to crafting your way to classic Candyland cuteness! Using some or all of the décor ideas (befitting kid’s birthdays, baby showers, and Christmas parties), you’ll be sure to delight the inner-child in your guests as well! While you’re at it, use my allergy friendly recipes and serving suggestions to fill your candy buffet quickly and easily. For now, let us escape to Candyland…
A Candyland village of (glittered) gingerbread houses sits nestled atop an icing laden hillside (of buffalo snow batting) dotted with (pom-pom) sprinkles.
(Faux) lollipop trees spring forth from gumball forest floors (in speckled metal pails) and (real) candy-cane thickets abound.
Gingerbread people (treat boxes) populate the village, travelling amongst the wellsprings of jellybean pools (in pink plastic pails).
A few “gingies” guard a fenced supply of the village’s juice-milk stores.
Gingerbread (cookie) ladies and gentlemen hold snowball (cookie) fights in the village round, whist the tiniest of “gingie” tots toddle home with gumball treats over candy-cane cobblestones lain over pink velvet (cupcake) roads.
A low gingerbread fog sinks below the sugary iced hills perched above a pink (cloth) cliffside.
Around the bend, pink hard candy (lanterns) shine high above big rock candy mountains.
Glowing with hard candy (ornaments), they burst forth with pyroclastic explosions of candy treats spilling over pillowy white icing.
Hard candy (ornament) boulders tumble amid (faux) ribbon candy bushes and flowing streams of (real mega) candy buttons.
(LED) peppermint light posts illuminate the scene.
(Real) candy-cane thickets and (faux) cupcake bushes dot the camping site where gingerbread residents roast marshmallows in the midst of the pink (tablecloth) countryside.
A rainbow lollipop (lantern) arcs above the distant rock candy mountain (tree).
A lone home defiantly stands amidst the candy (ornament) strewn mountainside adjacent to a fallen (faux) ice cream cone log.
Waterfall (faux mega) candy buttons stream down the embankments whose vistas shout, “Welcome to Candyland!”
Wishing you a sweet life of seized moments in eating desserts first!
P.S. Learn how easy it is to construct your very own Candyland village in these 5 articles:
Craft your way to classic Candyland cuteness befitting birthdays, baby showers, and Christmas décor. This tutorial for a game board treat tower and easy buffet display are part three of a DIY party decorating series with easy projects and free printables. Using some or all of the ideas, you’ll be sure to delight the inner-child in all of your guests. Sweet!
These simple crafts all utilize the same teacher’s bulletin board banner strips in a licensed Candyland board-game pattern. I made two towers, wrapped six pots, covered two milk corrals and a bunch of food picks… and I still have many strips left over! All of this is from one package of super-cute and inexpensive banners that could not fit my theme more perfectly.
To cover food crates, all you need to do is measure the front width and cut a length off. Double a piece of tape onto itself to hold the cardstock in place during the party. Remove it to reuse later for another craft. One idea is to let the kiddos make thank you cards out of it.
Wrap a length of the banner to coordinate a plain metal bucket to your theme. Simply cut and tape the ends together.
Craft your way to classic Candyland cuteness befitting birthdays, baby showers, and Christmas décor. This tutorial for hard candy lanterns, candy ornaments, and conversation heart garlands are part two of a DIY party decorating series with easy projects and free printables. Using some or all of the ideas, you’ll be sure to delight the inner-child in all of your guests. Sweet!
Old-school paper lanterns may easily evolve into supersized hard candy confections with a few simple steps. Begin with any variety of sizes and colors (but choose lighter versions if you wish to light them). You can even find some in a candy swirl pattern like these red and white striped kinds in graduated sizes… or just start with white and add your own stripes. Craft paint is quicker, but marker works as well. Tie a loop of twine, ribbon, or fishing line to the top of each lantern to hang them by later.
Use a theme coordinating color of gift basket cellophane to wrap around each lantern. Be sure the ends overlap before cutting. I used opalescent pink so that the red stripes would show through as hot pink. This way I can reuse the lanterns later with a clear wrap as peppermint candies or without wrapping as striped beach balls in summer.
Tie a length of twine or ribbon to gather the cellophane at the lantern’s base. I actually used a pink and white yarn that mimics baker’s twine but is less expensive.
Pull the hanging cord straight out from the top of the lantern, and gather the cellophane around it. Pull the wrap taut around the sphere (like you would make a ponytail). Tie another bow around this end to secure it. (Note that you can now throw in some lit LED tea-light candles before closing it, but read on to find an easier way to light them.)
Cut off the excess cellophane from the “candy” ends so that it appears to be the right proportion.
You can set these on a table, integrate them into a display, or hang a grouping of various sizes to make a hanging centerpiece. I opted to hike up the chain of my chandelier with an S-hook to shorten it. (See a picture of how to do this here: Frozen Winter Wonderland Themed Christmas & New Year’s Eve Dinner Parties.) Then I attached the twine loops with a couple inches of wire to the chandelier at different levels. I turned the light on, and was immediately awash in a pink candy glow as the light filtered through the lanterns and cellophane. A plug-in up-light aimed squared at the lanterns will also cause them to glow in any location of your choosing. It’s much easier to do this rather than wait to light, close, and then hang your lanterns at the last minute. Of course, another option would be to purchase a light kit for each lantern then plug all those cords in… but who needs more trouble and expense?
The exact same method was employed to craft the hard candy ornaments using, well… ball ornaments.
The only difference was that I didn’t tie on twine hangers, because I elected to use them for table display instead. They would have been lovely hanging though. I can always add twine to string them on a tree or centerpiece later, because I intentionally left the round hanging eye stick out of the gathered wrap. It’s visually concealed by the cellophane.
I made “big rock candy mountains” out of lit white Christmas trees that appeared to glow from within. I then placed the “candy”ornaments on and around them.
Ribbon candy ornaments are another simple décor craft that can utilize bits of leftover ribbon or even old package wrapping for an eclectic mix. I used a portion of a giant roll from Costco that is actually reserved for another project. Real ribbon candy doesn’t have glitter and has stripes facing the other way, but I thought they were adorable anyway.
To make these, just hot glue a line onto the ribbon’s end, and tap it down to form a loop.
Keep repeating this action, forming more and more loops, until you reach a size that seems proportionate to a candy dimension.
Cut off the end, and glue it down to form the last loop.
Next, add a hanger if you’d like to. I used the same thin ribbon as the banner in part one of the Candyland craft series. Make a loop through one loop end of the “candy” and tie a knot. (This seems to be a much safer option, than metal hooks, around small children and pets.)
Hang these from Christmas trees, add them to a candy lantern display, or set them around a centerpiece like my “big rock candy mountains”. The “icing” bases in the picture were comprised of blankets of buffalo snow batting.
Craft your way to classic Candyland cuteness befitting birthdays, baby showers, and Christmas décor. This tutorial for gingerbread people banners and treat gift boxes are part one of a DIY party decorating series with easy projects and free printables. Using some or all of the ideas, you’ll be sure to delight the inner-child in all of your guests. Sweet!
Every Candyland village needs to be populated with gingerbread people, and it can be accomplished by more than just the menu. Gift your guests with take-home treat boxes that also serve to decorate your buffet.
Begin with readymade gingerbread people shaped paper maché boxes. These are widely available in stores beginning in the fall, and may be purchased online the remainder of the year. (Find discounts for online craft merchants in the side bar from Le fidèLe Design’s affiliates.) I found mine on sale at half off, making them 50 cents each. Use an acrylic paint color in a shimmery brown so that a top coat is unnecessary. (I used DecoArt’s elegant finish espresso metallic paint, because I already owned it, and it coordinated with my banner.)
Separate the tops from the bases, and paint the little guys. I set them rim side down onto a plastic bag, so that I could just peel them off when they dried. (On other surfaces, the paint sometimes acts as glue.)
Allow them to dry overnight, then use hot glue to adhere tiny pom-poms. They make the cutest dimensional eyes, nose, and buttons! I chose colors that would coordinate with my other décor elements, and tried to intentionally randomize the combinations on each “gingie”.
Fill your goodie boxes with candy, tiny toys, or even candy flavored lip gloss and intersperse them in your treat town.
Another idea is to fill them with numbered papers that correspond to larger gifts or game elements.
Make a banner of gingerbread people adjoined in jubilant Candyland solidarity, using one of the two following methods.
Foam gingerbread people shapes may be located at just about every craft store in the fall and winter, and may be purchased online the rest of the year. You can choose from many sizes in matte and glitter. I wanted to use the glitter guys to match my houses.
Glue on tiny pom-poms that coordinate with your décor. Use hot glue in the same eyes, nose, and button pattern with which you made the treat boxes.
Punch a hole in each hand of the “gingies” in order to string it into a banner.
Make a loop of thin ribbon through holes in two “gingies”, and tie a knot to connect them. I alternated between three different colors from the same spool of clearance ribbon.
The second method is to right click on my printable image above (free for noncommercial use), and select print. Then print them in color and photo settings on sturdy cardstock (so that they don’t curl when strung). Cut them out, and punch holes into the white circles in the arms. Choose to leave them as is, or add more glitter to the images. Then tie on ribbons to join them (as in the previous method). You can also glue pom-poms over the images in the prints to add dimension to your project.
Use the gingerbread person image without white holes for other décor or signage. Simply adjust your printing sizes to make smaller “gingies”. Do this by printing at a smaller percentage (i.e. at 50%) or by printing them as photos (i.e. wallet size). Or… you can get Kinko’s to do it for you! These little guys also make cute kid’s craft puppets when taped to a popsicle stick, so you can utilize them as a party activity for the little ones.
Running with the idea that opposites attract, I decided to make a Valentine’s Day Party theme that incorporated both matte black chalkboard and glittery red hearts. The elements actually coordinated beautifully for a party theme that would suit a variety of age groups, or even just serve as a surprise for that special someone. The whole shebang was actually quite inexpensive to pull off, though happily I believe that doesn’t appear to be the case. You can either follow the links to make the fast and easy crafts yourself, or go shopping with the theme in mind.
After deciding on my theme, I actually found this adorable chalkboard Valentine fabric that also had glitter hearts. (You can find some for yourself at Hancock Fabrics or Fabric.com using coupons from the affiliate links in the sidebar.) I hung this up with clear thumbtacks.
I love incorporating ornament filled trees into holidays besides Christmas. Valentine’s Day is especially easy to do this with because it falls so quickly after on the calendar so that one may really take advantage of all those deep after-Christmas clearance sales. Some of the baubles on this tree were marked 90% off which left the cost at mere cents. The topper is a glittered sprig of holiday pine.
Some of you may recognize the black wooden tree from the Halloween Party. It looks really different when trimmed according to another theme. The conversation heart ornaments were made from white foam shapes (whose craft tutorial may be found here).
On the opposite side of the buffet, I made an arrangement that can be disassembled one heart wand at a time, to be given away as favors to departing guests. This is especially sweet when given as scepters to little Valentines princess party goers. (See the tutorial at the link here.)
I set all of these into a vase shaped like a thread spool twinned with glittery red flat yarn. It symbolizes the ties the bind… and is filled with hearts. Glass marbles contain the arranged wands yet allow for easy removal. These are topped with another variety of glittery yarn to conceal the marbles.
Other décor elements are the chalkboard sign crafts set onto easels (find tutorial here) alongside a store-bought slate that I was gifted with early. (Thanks Mom!)
A variety of gift bags and boxes overflowing with candy were nestled into the ensemble. The heart bags and mail boxes were machine cut from construction paper.
I included both oversized gems and tiny crystal hearts to fill in the empty spaces. I borrowed a bouquet of crepe paper roses that I had actually made for my mother years ago, and set these into a marble filled vase. I wrapped it with some leftover rope trim that coordinated with the theme, and set it atop an upturned boxy metal vessel. It’s really easy to create lifts and levels when one starts to think out-of-the-box and repurpose items for that other than which they were intended for.
The treat tower is actually comprised of two metal trays that I found on after Christmas clearance years ago. I simply stacked these by using an empty drink mix container wrapped with glittery fabric.
It was surprisingly stable, but you can add further assurance by hot gluing these for a temporary bond. A stronger adhesive would make the bond permanent. I stocked the tower with icing laden cookies, cupcakes, and candy cocktails.
The other platter was another clearance gem from over a decade ago. It’s a lovely red metallic reverse painted glass. You can mimic this with a lovely red charger in either acrylic or glass. More of the same sweet treats topped the dish plus some delectable chocolate covered cherries set into their own treat cups. Try this with truffles or even upside down cake pops.
I made my own treat pops with Peeps red speckled white “love birds” with chocolate bases. To make your own, simply poke a pilot hole with a skewer or tooth pick then jab in a paper straw. I chose adorable heart covered ones, and then set these into gumball packed vintage crystal vessels. Any solid candy would serve as well.
A non-alcoholic berry soda set into an ice bucket serves as equal-opportunity refreshment. The same red metallic plates that appear in the chalkboard sign crafts were placed front and center. Last but not least to complete the sweet buffet was the addition of candlelight. (Use LEDs if you fear sleeves catching fire or if you have young guests attending.) Red mercury glass votives were, you guessed it, purchased for mere cents post-Christmas. They really added to the ambiance of the whole setting.
♥ As you prepare for your own Valentine’s celebration… just remember to, “Keep calm & party on!”