Be creative by decorating your Christmas tree with a favorite theme that suits your decorating style or your family's personality. We were inspired by a local festival of trees and have included tips for bringing the looks inside your own Christmas home. Bonus: We've included lighting tips to make your tree shine.View Slideshow
Christmas wreaths don't have to be made from traditional evergreens -- in fact, we encourage you to mix it up with eucalyptus leaves, boxwood, lotus pods, and even items that don't come from nature, such as peppermint candies and pom-poms. These fun-to-make creative designs show you how to make Christmas wreaths with unexpected shapes, dazzling colors, and out-of-the-ordinary materials.View Slideshow
Friends and family will adore these handy handmade Christmas gifts -- including dishware, vases, and other home accessories -- that are just as fun (and easy!) to make as they are to give. Start one of these simple Christmas crafts today so you can check everyone off your holiday gift list.
Instead of searching high and low for the perfect pillow, make one that you know your friend will love! Sketch a geometric design on a square piece of kraft paper to make a template, then trace onto fabric and cut to size. Stich the shapes together and press the seams open. Cut solid-color fabric to make the back of the pillow covering. Stich the front and back pieces, right sides together, leaving a small opening. Turn right side out, press, and stuff with a pillow form. Whipstich the opening closed.
For an extra-special touch, follow our steps to dye your own fabric!
Choose a pretty pattern and impress everyone with your craftiness! Roll clay to 1/4-inch thickness on parchment paper; refrigerate for 8-10 minutes (max). Remove clay from refrigerator, keeping it on parchment, and place on an even surface. Press the rim of an ovenproof bowl into clay, and cut around bowl with a crafts knife. Press a rubber stamp into clay to create pattern; if it sticks, lightly oil stamp surface. Lightly oil inside of the bowl used as a circle template. Place clay circle in center of bowl, gently molding it to sides, then place in oven and bake as directed on clay package. When cool, remove clay bowl from mold and lightly sand edges if necessary.
Transform an old book into a pretty box for trinkets and other small items with this easy-to-make gift. Apply crafts glue to the inside back cover and close the book; let dry. Apply glue to the book's edges; let dry. Mark a rectangle on the first page about 1-inch from all sides. Use a crafts knife to cut along the mark through several pages. Remove the cut pages; continue cutting and removing pages until you've reached the desired depth. Seal the cut pages with clear glue to finish the keepsake box.
Editor's Tip: Place waxed paper between the first page and the front cover to keep them from adhering together.
Bring nature inside in a modern way! Choose the size frame, and cut a piece of cold press board (sturdy, textured paper found in crafts stores) an inch smaller than the frame on all sides. To create the irregular white border, brush frisket (liquid similar to rubber cement that will mask areas you don't want painted) along the edges with an imperfect stroke; let dry. Place silk or plastic greenery (look for pieces that lie flat) on each board, and spray with a single coat of paint. Remove the greenery, and allow the paint to dry. Carefully rub off frisket, then attach the print to white paper backing and place in frame.
Small cardboard boxes are versatile and useful, but not very pretty. Decorate a few with paper or paint to create a cute set that's personalized to a friend's taste. For a paper-covered top, trace the lid onto the back of decorative paper; cut out. Attach the paper to the lid with spray-mount adhesive. For a stenciled lid, spray-paint the lid in a base color; let dry. Spray the back of a stencil with stencil adhesive, position on the lid, and press firmly. Spray-paint the lid with a second color; remove stencil and let dry. For either type of lid, spray-paint the box with a coordinating color; let dry. Adhere washi tape to the edge of the lid. For a special touch, fill each box with your friend's fave candy!
Brighten a friend's morning by giving them a personalized travel-mug cozie for Christmas. Use our pattern, available below, to get the size needed for a standard coffee travel mug. Cut letters or shapes from different patterns of fabric to embellish the cozie.
This coaster quartet takes shape with plain porcelain tiles painted with musical motifs. Download and resize free musical instrument clip art, then shade the shapes with a pencil so you can see the design on the reverse side. Flip the patterns over and place on ceramic tiles; trace around the shaded shapes to transfer a faint outline of the patterns to the tiles. Attach rubber cabinet bumpers to the backs of the tiles to protect surfaces and keep the coasters from shifting, then fill in or paint around each silhouette with a thin paintbrush and porcelain paint.
Brighten a plain notebook or journal with colorful embroidery floss for a thoughtful holiday gift. Sketch a design on a piece of paper; secure the sketch to the notebook cover using masking tape, making sure to wrap the tape around to the inside of the cover to keep the design from moving. Place the front cover on a cutting mat and pierce using a large needle or paper piercer, making sure the holes are evenly spaced. If you're using a circular design, bring the holes a little closer together when approaching a curve to get smooth lines. Remove the pattern from the cover and stitch using four strands of embroidery floss; knot on the inside of the cover to finish the project.
This cute homemade gift is a fun take on regular chalkboards. To make, paint the bottom of a wood crafts plank in a bright color that matches a friend's kitchen. Paint the surface of the plank with a clear chalkboard coating. Stamp numbers along the side using a solvent ink. Drill a hole large enough for a leather cord at the top of the plank; thread cord through hole. Be sure to include a couple of chalkboard markers (available at crafts stores).
When you portray your favorite person on a dinner plate, they'll feel like the guest of honor at every meal. Using a photo as a starting point, draw the shape and fine features of your muse onto a plain white plate using a porcelain paint pen. Use a paintbrush to add blush and hair. Keep acetone (nail polish remover works well) and tissues close to remove any mistakes. To set the paint, bake the plate according to the paint manufacturer's instructions. Although the plate should be food-safe, double-check the manufacturer's instructions or use it for decorative purposes only.
Editor's Tip: If you doubt your drawing abilities, look online for a caricature-creation site, and trace your computer-generated design onto the plate.
Give the gift of a hand-painted Mason jar or glass container this season. They make gorgeous vases, makeup brush holders, or pencil cups. Paint the outside of the jars with two coats of paint. We mixed several shades of pink with white to create a range of hues. For a touch of glam, mask the top of the jar with painter's tape and cover the bottom with glitter spray paint.
For an additional way to show you care, go the extra mile and decorate the outside of your gift Follow our easy steps to add a crepe paper fringe to your gift package.
This thoughtful tea kit is a great Christmas gift for those who love hot drinks on cold, wintry days. Ginger, cloves, and dried apple chips flavor the warming homemade tea mixture. Simply fill tea filters with the premade mixture, wrap with string to close, and tie on a cinnamon stick or two. Festive tags and cups finish the project.
Create your own coasters! Flashy centers and simple construction save surfaces and show off colors that suit their new owner. Rounded-corner paint chips and vinyl flooring samples are the main materials. Round the corners of the flooring samples by tracing around the paint-chip corners; use scissors to carefully trim excess material. Use spray adhesive to secure a paint chip to the center of a vinyl sample. In a well-ventilated area, apply five coats of glossy clear sealer, allowing full drying time between coats. Affix felt pads to the coaster bottoms.
Here's a gift that keeps on giving! Fill a box with materials that can be used to embellish plain cards, tags, and gift boxes. We used silicone baking cups to organize supplies, such as rubber stamps, string, buttons, ribbons, and felt balls. If you want, fill with craft supplies instead to jump-start your friend's creativity!
Try this delightful gift that flower lovers will use time and time again. Using a porcelain paint pen, draw a floral or other simple design on a plain vase. If you're not confident in your freehand abilities, try sketching your design onto paper and using transfer paper to position the design on the surface.
Remind your loved ones what matters most with this easy gift. Bonus: It's super inexpensive, too! Download and print our Home Sweet Home sign. Glue a magnet to the front of a framed wood plaque from a crafts store, then stick a metal clip to the magnet to hold the artwork.
Turn a plain terra-cotta pot into a customized gift! Choose your friend's favorite paint colors, then watch our video to get the best results.
A six-panel window frame becomes a weekly calendar that's stylish and effective. Each day of the workweek is assigned a pane, and the sixth makes room for notes or photos. Tape off the wood frame with painter's tape. To make the calendar magnetic, spray several coats of magnetic spray paint on the front of the glass panes, allowing each coat to dry between applications. Paint each pane with colorful chalkboard paint using a paintbrush to edge and a small foam roller to fill in. Let dry. Remove tape from wood frame.
Erasable labels add more value to already useful storage containers. Create your gift using colorful repositionable vinyl stickers that accept chalk marks (available at most crafts stores). Use a punch to cut stickers into fun shapes. Remove the paper backing and position the label on the container of your choice. Before you deliver the gift, add holiday wishes to the label -- and remember to include a piece of chalk!
Put a collection of wine corks to use with this creative gift. A wine cork base makes a bulletin board both functional and artsy. Choose a frame deep enough to hold whole corks, or cut the corks in half lengthwise with an extra-fine razor saw (available at hobby stores). Secure the corks to the frame backing using wood glue.
Editor's Tip: Add a special touch to the gift by adding a few photos to the bulletin board before giving.
Made from a favorite-color paint chip, this bookmark pops between the pages. Purchase a stencil from your local crafts store, or create your own pattern. Choose a paint chip, and draw the design onto the chip using a fine-point permanent marker.
Editor's Tip: Write, rub on, or stamp a holiday message, meaningful quote, or personal message on the bookmark.
Whether it's used for serving or for display, this pretty gift will brighten any kitchen. Create a colorful motif around the edges of a purchased platter with ceramic paints or porcelain paint pens, then sketch and paint a fun shape in the center. Many ceramic paints require baking to set the colors, so be sure to read the packaging instructions before you start the project.
Editor's Tip: Make it easy and use a stencil for the center shape.
For gift-giving emergencies, dress up a simple gift card with our festive holders. Stitch two pieces of felt together, using your card to measure the proper sizes of felt. Trace holiday-theme stencil designs onto felt in contrasting colors; cut out. Use hot-glue to secure to holder. Cut a small circle at the top of each tag; thread with baker's twine.
This quartet of birch boxes hides keepsakes and clutter while showing off vivid coral color. To make each box progressively darker, double the amount of dye powder in the dye bath and the soaking time.