There are beautiful and festive multi-dimensional star kids you and the family can make for the top of the tree, as ornaments, or even as gift wrap or table-top decoration. Then there are the more unusual gifts you can start as Christmas crafts and end by giving to loved ones as wonderful , personalised gifts.
Traditional Closet Clove Sachet
Get one box (or tin) of cloves. Get one orange. Press the spear-ends of the cloves into the orange, all the way to the hilt. Repeat until orange is covered and redolent with a citrusy-clove scent.
Traditional Decoupage Pictures
Choose photos or magazine images that the kids can cut out and trim. If you want nostalgia, and if you smoke cigarettes, light a cigarette, while you have the children tear the edges of images so that they are not perfectly straight. Then, ensuring everyone is out of sight or reach, use your lighted cigarette to burn the edges that have just been freshly torn.
IMPORTANT NOTE: You may want to have a cup of water handy so you can catch runaway heat. Or better yet, do the edging over the sink. Be quick but be safe.
Put the photos aside.
Find pieces of wood-walnut, ash, oak, pine-or have someone saw pieces about the size of a notebook or standard 8 ½ X 11 framed photo, for example. Again, it’s your preference, so you can have a piece that is two feet long or you can try a mini piece of only a few inches.
Sand the edges and front and back of the wood. You can use any grade of sandpaper-keeping in mind the coarser the grain the rougher the feel to the surface the wood will be.
But that’s okay, because the next thing you are going to do is hammer the wood. You can lay nails on their sides and give a it a pound…then remove the nails. You can take a hammer straight to the wood. The idea here is to “age” the wood, making it look as if it has been through years of wear and tear.
Next, paint the back of the picture with epoxy, or spray on glue. Attach the picture to the wood. Once the glue is dry, varnish the entire piece, wood, image, and all, with a non-opaque varnish.
For a completely sealed effect, you can also add a clear varnish or shellac, and when it gets all bubbly (if it does), you can make it part of the completed project!
These are fun pieces you can do to take the Christmas craft idea to another dimension and making grandparents and aunts and uncles thrilled on Christmas Day.
Not-so Traditional Mirrors and Frames
Another craft project idea that produces lovely gifts is changing ordinary mirrors or picture frames into 3-D crafts.
Purchase an 8 ½ X 11inch mirror or frame. Too much bigger and the dimensions will be too heavy, and too much smaller and the added items will dwarf the frame or mirror space.
You can also check out car boot sales and flea markets, for second-hand mirrors or frames, if you know far enough advance you will do this project.
Then buy artificial flowers, little ornaments, charms, or even little trinket boxes…anything you like, really, that is not too heavy and which will fit with the theme of your piece (if you have a theme).
If you want to go “natural,” for example, try some of what is called “sea moss” at the florist or the crafts shop. Then, get dried flowers instead of plastic or silk.
You will also need to get a small glue gun with extra glue sticks.
Back at home, lay down recyclables like old newspaper or magazines. Set up the glue gun and KEEP AWAY from the tip as it heats!
Glue pieces of the sea moss or leaves or flowers and herbs to the outside borders of the mirror or frame.
Let the glue “take” by pressing down on the materials-again being careful not to get the glue on your skin as it will stick quickly and can burn.
Attach a picture hook or frame hook to the back of the piece and voila! You have a gorgeous and most original piece that will make a great Christmas present.
You can also personalise the 3-D items even further by using the names of the people the gifts are for, their picture, or their favourite things as parts of the crafts. It is all up to you and depends on how much time you have or can spend on each piece; but be careful, these projects can become addictive!