I’ve always been into arts and crafts and being part of a talented crafty family, Christmas always featured some handmade gifts or decorations in some way, so naturally I love to give handmade gifts to friends and family, and make some decorations for my own home too.
My vast stash of crafty materials (or hoard as my husband calls it) always comes in handy for last minute gifts, so when I was dared to come up with five festive crafty gift and decoration ideas for this post I was in my element. I settled down with Kirstie's homemade Christmas and The Great British Sewing Bee on the box to get my creative juices flowing and I came up with these ideas to share with you all; some quick and easy, and some a bit more challenging with a little preparation required, but all made with love.
This year I’m giving handmade hampers to friends and family and one element of this hamper is handmade chocolates. This year’s selection included White Chocolate Macadamia & Cranberry, Dark Chocolate & Ginger, and Milk Chocolate with Nuts & Marshmallow.
All you need to make you own chocolates is:
- Some bars of dark, milk and white chocolate
- A variety of nuts, dried fruits and different additions such as marshmallows and crystallised ginger
- A flexible chocolate mold (but this is not essential, if you prefer a rustic look you can line a baking tray with some baking paper instead)
- Festive Ribbon
- Some clear cellophane candy bags
The process is easy: melt your chosen chocolate bars in a bowl over simmering hot water (make sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of your bowl), add your nuts or chosen /wp-content/uploads/filling then spoon the mixture into the mold or onto the lined baking tray, in shapes of your choice. Leave the chocolates to cool before putting them into the fridge to set.
Once set, you can package your chocolates into the cellophane candy bags for a professional finish, and secure the bag with your festive ribbon. You can also add a gift tag here (see handmade gift wrap and tags below for ideas on how to create your own).
Festive Pot Pourri
This is a great way to give your home that traditional Christmassy aroma and add a natural decoration to your home. Anybody can do this and you can put those unused fruits and dried spices to good use.
- A wicker basket or any decorative bowl
- Some dried fruit slices (you can buy these or slice up apples, oranges, limes, grapefruit etc and dry them in the microwave)
- Dried leaves or flowers
- Cinnamon sticks and star anise for aroma (you can raid the kitchen cupboards here)
- Some spare tinsel or Christmas tree beading
To make your dried fruit slices, wash and dry the fruit then slice thinly, place a single layer of fruit slices between paper towels to mop up any excess moisture, then once dry, put the slices on a plate and microwave on defrost setting for 10 minutes.
Take your container and arrange the dried leaves and fruit slices first, then add your aroma elements in top. Take your tinsel or beading and arrange around the edge of the container and Voila, home-made Pot Pourri!
Beaded Snowflake Christmas Decoration
This item can be used to decorate your tree or your gifts.
You will need:
- 54 beads of various shapes and sizes in your chosen colour scheme
- A pre-made wire snowflake template with 6 spokes (you can find these online or in craft shops)
- Some round nose pliers
- A piece of decorative string or ribbon
Take your wire template with 6 spokes and to the first spoke add one of your smallest beads first, then add larger bead, followed by a smaller bead, then another larger bead followed by a smaller bead, then your end bead, leaving at least 5mm of wire at the end. (The number of beads you need will depend on the size of the beads you have). Now take a pair of round nose pliers and roll the end of the wire over to form a closed loop, this will keep your beads safely in place and provide an anchor for your hanging string.
Repeat this process for all six spokes of the wire template, following the same pattern of beads so each spoke is identical.
Now take a length of your decorate string or ribbon and thread it through one of the end loops of a spoke and knot securely.
Handmade Wrap and Gift Tags
Now this one is very quick and easy and you can get the kids involved too. I’m a sucker for keeping tissue paper or wrap from gifts I have received so always have a stash of paper to use, alternatively you could buy a roll of plain paper from any stationery shop or use sheets of printer paper.
Simply take your rubber stamp and dab it into the ink pad ensuring it’s evenly covered with ink, do some test stamps on some scrap paper before you progress onto your chosen gift wrap paper so you can gauge the right pressure to use for an even impression and create the basis for your design.
Now take your chosen paper or parcel tag and stamp away! Leave the paper to dry for an hour or so before using it to wrap your gifts.
Christmas pudding candle
Now this one is a bit more complex but creates a festive centre-piece for your Christmas dinner table.
You will need:
- About 300g paraffin wax pellets
- About 30g of stearin additive
- Some modelling wax
- A sheet of green beeswax
- A small amount of brown wax dye 6 drops of Christmas candle scent
- A round plastic candle mold Mold sealant
- A pudding dish Scalpel
- A cooker
- 1 large sauce pan /wp-content/uploads/filled with hot water (choose an old one you don’t use for food)
- 1 large metal jug which will fit I the saucepan (choose an old one you don’t use for food)
- 1 spare smaller metal container which will fit into the saucepan
Some candle wick with a gauge suitable for the size of your round mold, for even burning.
Take your large saucepan and half /wp-content/uploads/fill it with boiling water and keep it boiling on the hob, now put your paraffin wax pellets and stearin additive into the metal jug. Put the jug in the saucepan of boiling water and melt the wax to a liquid.
Now prep your candle wick by dipping the length into the melted wax, dip this a second time to ensure it’s evenly coated with wax. Save a small amount of plain wax for later in another metal container. While the wick dries, add your dye and scent to the melted wax.
Prep your round mold by threading the wick through the centre and blocking one end with the mold sealant to prevent leaks. Now pour your coloured, scented wax into the mold and leave to set for an hour or so, then top up if necessary as wax tends to shrink as it sets.
While you are waiting for the round candle to set (for at least 6 hours) you can rollout the modelling wax and cut out a shape to make the cream topping of the Christmas Pudding and cut two or three holly leaf shapes from the green beeswax sheet.
When your candle is set, unmold the round candle and place it in the centre of the pudding bowl. Now re-melt your spare plain wax. Once it’s fully melted pour this into the pudding bowl around the round candle you have just made. Leave this to set.
Finally add your cream topping piece you cut from the modelling wax and place this on top of the round candle so the wick fits nicely in the centre and add your beeswax holly leaves.
And there you have it, five ideas to get you crafting this Christmas, eat your heart out Kirstie Allsopp!