Pull out your knee-high socks and itchy jumper and step into a bit of Primary School nostalgia with me for a second. Just for a moment, humour this jaunt back down memory lane and relieve those years spent frantically making tree decs in Year 3 with nothing but coloured paper, glitter and a glue stick.
From salt-dough to dried oranges, I’ve got a treasure-trove of handmade Christmas inspo for you to get stuck into - name a better way to pass the time on these chilly evenings than getting hot glue stuck to your fingers and fiddling around with acorns: go on, I'll wait.
And of course, if you’re looking for handmade Christmas decorations but would rather support our makers than make your own, we’ve got some super pretty pieces this year - from beautifully woven paper stars, macrame snowflakes and handmade ceramic doves that would make Father Christmas do a double take!
Ok, this one might be self-explanatory. But we’ve got to start somewhere easy! Bows, especially in bright-robin-red ribbon, are a lovely way to decorate your staircase, but a nice idea to make them even more special is to add in a small cluster of small shiny red ornaments to the centre of each bow, or some foraged red berries or foliage. Lovely and simple.
Where would we be without paper stars? Take a piece of brown paper or card, and make folds along the long side, 3cm wide, in an accordion formation until you’ve made seven folds. Cut off the remaining paper, and then cut your folded strip into 6cm sections. Fold each little strip another two times, so you have lots of tiny folds, and then bunch up together. Cut a diagonal line from the middle to the far edge of the paper, and pop a line of hot glue on the edges. Fan the star out to create a fan shape, and voila! You can attach these to little pieces of string, or add a button on the middle of each star.
Zhuzh up your Christmas Candles
This is a great one for the foragers out there. All you’ll need is a tall pillar candle, in a candlestick holder of any shape and size that you don’t mind covering in a bit of greenery. On a wintery stroll, see if you can find some nice varied greenery: fir leaves, holly, a little bit of ivy, it’s all good - small branches with red berries are good too, and acorns are fantastic! Gather together small handfuls of your foraged greenery in a small ring that can hoop around your candle. Attach using floristry wire or string. Add little acorns or berries using a hot glue gun, and place on a table or mantlepiece. Lovely bit of business.
This one’s a good one if you’re already putting the oven on for something else. Cut your oranges (blood oranges work well because the colour is so pretty) into 0.5cm horizontal slices. Line baking sheets with paper and pat orange slices dry before placing them in a single layer, and baking for 2-3 hours at a low-mid temperature oven (anything from 80 - 160 degrees works well). Turn them halfway to ensure they dry flat. String onto a piece of wire or string - and hang wherever you feel you need some gloriously-scented festive charm.
Wooden Bead Stars
A great activity for children, these wooden bead stars look understated and chic. Draw a star shape on a piece of paper, 12cm wide. Then using silver craft wire, make a loop in one end, before threading wooden beads onto the wire, before bending the wire to the outline of the star as you go. Feed the loose end of the wire through the loop, wrap it around the loop to secure, and hang on your tree or mantlepiece!
Salt Dough Stars / Doves / Reindeers
This one especially reminds me of being at nursery school (and being scolded for eating the dough - anyone else?) and it’s a great one to do with children.
275g plain flour
125g table salt
2 tsp each of ground ginger, cinnamon and clove
1 tsp orange essence
Put everything in a bowl apart from the water and mix well. Add the water a little at a time to combine, checking the consistency as you mix. You’re looking for the texture of a soft bread dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead well. Roll out your dough and use cookie cutters to stamp out different shapes. Don’t forget to add in holes using a toothpick to thread your string through.
Bake at 100 degrees for 2-3 hours to set. Turn over halfway through and return until the cooling oven until they’re dry.
Paint, if you want, or leave plain, and then thread onto ribbons or to a long piece of string to make a garland.
Check out the Prior Makers’ Christmas decorations here, or have a peek at our festive workshops - we’ve got some wonderfully crafty Christmassy ones lined up in the next few weeks that I have a feeling you’re gonna love.