It's easy to turn plastic toys into Jurassic jewels. For each, twist a 1/4-inch screw eye into a small plastic dinosaur. Brush the dino with tacky glue, sprinkle with fine glitter to cover, then set it on waxed paper to dry. Add a length of string for hanging.
Add a bit of sweetness to your holiday with this tiny version of a childhood favorite. Roll a 3/4- by 5-inch strip of card stock into a 1 1/4-inch-diameter tube and secure it with tacky glue (clamp it with a clothespin until the glue dries). Glue one end of a small rectangle of silver glitter card stock to the tube. Fill a 1 1/2-inch-diameter clear glass ball ornament with small beads. For the base, glue the tube to a large button (ours has a 1 1/2-inch diameter), then glue the ornament in place.
Turn a small clear ornament into an adorable gumball machine that will add sweetness to your holiday tree.
Cleverly woven from cardboard and twine, these pretty disks look like holiday treats. Use pinking shears to cut a circle from thin white cardboard (ours are 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches across). Wrap a length of baker's twine around the circle and knot it in back. Continue wrapping the twine around the cardboard, using the notches to hold it in place, then tie the end in back. Add a self-adhesive gem to the center of the ornament. Make a hanger by threading a length of twine through a loop on the disk.
Small tannenbaums with bold colors and lots of sparkle have a big impact on a tree. Form a small loop at one end of a 4-inch length of metallic pipe cleaner. This will be the top of the tree. Make branches by wrapping six to eight 2-inch lengths of pipe cleaner around the trunk, then trim them so that the branches at the top are narrower. Adhere a glass bead to the end of each branch with a dab of tacky glue. Use a utility knife to cut a cork to the width of washi tape (an adult's job) and wrap the tape around the cork. Make a hole in the cork with a pushpin, then glue the tree trunk in the hole and allow it to dry. Add a length of string for hanging the trees.
This tiny tinsel tree, studded with sparkling beads, has a cool, retro look.
Put a gaggle of these guys on your tree for sure smiles. To make one, adhere a mini pinecone to a wooden bead with tacky glue. Once dry, glue an acorn cap to the top of the bead. Add a velvet ribbon scarf and secure it with glue. Use fine-point permanent markers to add eyes and a mouth, then tie on a length of string for hanging.
A drift of Epsom salts helps set the scene in this winter wonderland. Trace the opening of a clear plastic shot glass (we got ours at a dollar store) on card stock. Use pinking shears to cut a circle slightly larger than the traced line, then use a glue dot to adhere a small plastic figure to the center. Add 1 tablespoon Epsom salts to the plastic cup, then line the rim of the cup with tacky glue and adhere the card stock base. When the seam is dry, glue a piece of metallic pipe cleaner around the bottom of the globe. Thread string through a button for a hanger, then glue the button in place.
Cork birdhouses bring a touch of whimsy to your tree. Roll a 3- to 5-inch-wide paper semicircle into a cone. Secure it with tacky glue, clamping it with a clothespin until the glue dries. Push a toothpick into a cork and trim the pick with utility scissors (an adult's job). Glue a small button above the toothpick and a piece of metallic pipe cleaner around the cork's base. Bend one end of a 5-inch piece of 20-gauge craft wire into a small loop (this will be hidden underneath the roof) and thread on one bead. Push the other end of the wire through the center of the roof, then thread additional beads onto the wire and curl it as shown to create a hanger. Glue the roof to the cork.
These stars are so simple, kids can create a galaxy of original designs. Cut shapes from disposable foil pans, place them on a piece of cardboard or a stack of newspaper, and use a pushpin to create punched patterns. Add a length of string for hanging.
A bowlful of these DIY treats make a cute and festive way for kids to count down to Christmas.
1. Cut scrapbook paper into 24 4- by 7-inch rectangles.
2. Roll each rectangle into a cylinder as shown and seal the seam with washi tape.
3. Flatten one end of the cylinder and seal it with washi tape.
4. Fill the paper packet with a small toy, candy, or a handwritten ticket for something fun to do (such as "go out for hot chocolate" or "watch Elf in your PJs").
5. Turn the top of the filled packet 90 degrees, flatten the end, and seal it with tape.
6. Punch or cut 24 paper circles. Write the numbers 1 to 24 on them and adhere them to the packets with glue or a glue stick. Display the pile of packages in a basket or bowl.
Add a dose of color and whimsy to your Christmas countdown with this punch-out Advent calendar.
1. For the base, cut a 10- by 15-inch piece of corrugated cardboard.
2. Cut 12 toilet paper tubes in half, then paint the tubes and the base white.
3. Dip the bottoms of the tubes in tacky glue and place them on the base in a grid, leaving about a half inch of space between them. Let the glue dry.
4. Cut tissue paper into 48 (3 1/2-inch) circles. Inside each tube, place a treat, then lay two tissue paper circles over the top of the tube. Stretch a small rubber hair band over the tissue paper and the tube so that the paper is taut.
5. Add vinyl number stickers to the tissue paper.
6. To hang your calendar, cut slits near the top of the cardboard and insert a loop of string into them.
Cotton swabs form the flames for this playfully patterned menorah. For the base, cover a 3- by 12-inch piece of corrugated cardboard with scrapbook paper. Roll and tape 8 (4- by 5-inch) paper rectangles, and one that's 4 by 7 inches, to form tubes. Dip one end of each tube in tacky glue and place the tubes on the base as shown. For each flame, cut a teardrop shape from orange card stock and a slightly larger teardrop from yellow tissue paper. Cover the orange piece with glue, then place a cotton swab on top. Smooth the tissue paper over the orange paper and swab, and let dry. To make your flames sit taller in their holders, pack crumpled tissue paper inside the tubes.
With its 24 openings, a mini-muffin pan makes a perfect base for a treat-filled Advent calendar. Because the numbered coverings are held on by magnets, you'll be able to bake with the pan again after Christmas.
1. Cut 24 circles 2 1/4 inches wide from a 12- by 24-inch adhesive magnetic sheet. Adhere them to patterned paper, then cut them out.
2. With a 1-inch circular punch, make 24 paper circles. Number them and use a glue stick to attach them to the magnetic circles.
3. If you'd like to hang the muffin pan with a ribbon, make two holes (see tip below).
4. Fill the muffin wells with tiny toys, stickers, bite-size candies, notes, and activity suggestions.
Crafter's Tip: To hang the pan on a wall, set one rim on a block of wood and use a hammer and a nail to make two holes. Loop a ribbon through them and tie.
Even little kids will be able to "light" this flameless menorah—after they help craft it, of course.
1. Tape an empty spaghetti box shut and paint it. You may need two coats for full coverage.
2. Paint nine peg-style clothespins. (Crafter's Tip: To paint the pins with less mess, clip them onto the top edge of a cardboard box.) Paint one darker than the others for the shammash.
3. With a craft knife (adults only), cut nine x's in the box to hold the clothespins.
4. Loosely wrap each pin with a 1- by 6-inch piece of aluminum foil and secure it with tape. Put the pins into the box so that the foil sits on the box's surface.
5. For each flame, wrap half a yellow pipe cleaner around a pin.
Create a plush, 3-D mosaic with colorful pom-poms. To make it, insert a straight pin into a small pom pom, then press the pin into a 2-inch styrofoam ball. Repeat until the ball is covered. Pin a loop of ribbon to the ball for hanging.
We used glitter card stock for this craft, but using bright patterns or muted solids could give this stripey sphere a totally different look. Start by cutting 12 6- by 1-inch strips from card stock. Use a pushpin to poke a hole 1 inch from each end of the strips. Thread a large needle with a 15-inch length of embroidery floss. Tie a knot at the end and add a bead. Stack the strips, then pass the needle through all the holes in one end. Bend the strips into a c, then thread the needle through the other end. String on another bead, then tie a knot with a loop for hanging. Fan out the strips.
"My kids and I like to recycle cardboard oatmeal canisters by giving them a Christmas makeover. First, we glue white paper around the containers. Then we use odds and ends—felt, bells, buttons, googly eyes—from our craft closet to make hats, scarves, and faces for our snowmen. We fill them with homemade holiday goodies and give them to neighbors, friends, and teachers." —Robin McKee Wichita, KS
Whether sent as holiday greetings, or as a special card for a teacher, this little snowman is sure to melt hearts.
To make this craft you'll need:
Felt furniture pads, three different diameters
Orange, green, or pink paint
To start, arrange the furniture pads on a piece of sturdy cardboard in the shape of a snowman. With the decorative edge scissors, cut rectangles of card stock that'll fit on the front of your blank cards. Use a paintbrush to coat the pads with white paint, then stamp snowmen onto the card stock pieces. Let the prints dry.
Cut a carrot nose and a scarf from another felt pad and adhere them to small pieces of cardboard. Use green, pink, or orange paint to stamp scarves and noses onto the snowmen. Add eyes, mouths, buttons, and arms with a black marker. Attach your snowman prints to blank cards using double-sided tape, and they are ready to personalized and mailed.
Here's an ornament you can make in a jiffy, and just as quickly, fold it up and mail it to a friend or family.
To make this craft you'll need:
Stiff white felt
A large needle
First, download and print our template (below) then cut out the body and wing shapes. Trace the pieces on stiff felt and cut out the shapes. For the eyes, glue on a googly eye on each side of the bird's head. Thread the needle with floss and sew on a hanging loop just above the slot for the wings. Slide your wings in place, and your ornament is ready to take flight!
This no-sew project is a welcome sight on Christmas morning.
To make this craft you'll need:
Green and white felt
To start, download the template (below) and cut out the shapes. Trace the shapes onto the felt and cut them out. Cut two slits in the felt as indicated on the body template. Slide the ears through the slits in the body. Glue on googly eyes and a pom-pom nose. Give your mouse a tail by slipping a candy cane between the body and the ears.
This winter wonderland is a sparkling addition to any tree.
To make this craft you'll need:
A clear plastic cup
Silver poster board
Decorative craft scissors
A few craft beads
Start by tracing the rim of the cup onto the back of the poster board. Cut out the circle with craft scissors so that the base is be slightly larger than the cup.
Before gluing the batting and miniatures, place them on the shiny side of the circle to check their position and fit. Glue the base of each item to the poster board, smoothing and fluffing the snow around them. Sprinkle the scene with fine glitter.
Use the pushpin to poke a hole in the cup. Thread a craft bead onto the embroidery floss. Gather the ends together, letting the bead fall to the middle, and thread them up through the hole. String a few more beads onto the thread and knot the ends to form a loop.
Apply a line of glue along the edge of the poster board circle. Press the cup, upside-down, onto the glue, and hold it in place for 20 seconds or so. During the first 10 minutes of drying time, occasionally check the seal and press down gently on the cup if necessary. Let the glue dry for a full day before hanging the ornament.
This glittery winter wonderland is a sparkling addition to any tree.
Cute and fuzzy, these ornaments make a great teacher gift or a present for grandparents.
To make this craft you'll need:
1 large white pom-pom
2 small white pom-poms
Colored felt and a matching 1-inch pom-pom
Black seed beads
Thread a needle and knot the end of the thread. Pass the needle through the centers of a large white pom-pom, then the two smaller ones. To add a hat, sew through the centers of the circle of colored felt and the matching pom-pom. Scrunch the snowman parts together slightly and secure ithem with a knot that includes a loop for hanging. Glue on an orange felt triangle for a carrot nose and beads for the eyes and buttons. Finish the ornament by tying on a yarn scarf.
This sweet angel is so easy to make, you can create a whole choir's worth in no time. Use acrylic paint and markers to add hair and a face to a 3-inch wood bead. Glue a skinny triangle of stiff white felt into the bottom of the bead. Glue the ends of two feathers to the top of the triangle. Twist part of a gold pipe cleaner into a loop for a halo, and glue the twisted ends inside the top of the bead.
Turn your unwanted periodicals into modern holiday decor with a few simple folds. To make one, fold each page of a magazine using the three-step process shown at left, then tape or glue the front and back covers together. Attach a small gold ball ornament to the top with a glue dot.