Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fun Christmas Crafts

By Brandi M. Seals

You may not have the funds to turn your home into a winter wonderland, but you can do a few crafts that will add some Christmas flair. So next time you are feeling crafty, why not try one of these great Christmas crafts?

Snow Village
You can purchase pre-made snow village pieces at several locations but you will be paying a premium for the already painted pieces. If you are looking to save some funds and still have a snow village, try shopping for pieces at your local craft store. Many places sell ceramic homes, stores, etc. that can be hand painted and used in a snow village.

These undone pieces sell for a fraction of what the completed pieces sell for. Look to spend about $5 for a small Victorian home. Keep in mind that if you do not already own paints and brushes, you will need to include those in your purchase.

The benefit of painting your own pieces is you can make sure they coordinate beautifully with the pieces you already own or match them up with your home decor. Painting can be a relaxing activity and it is plenty of fun to do.

Christmas Signs
Make up your own Christmas signs like the ones you can buy at craft fairs. Get as much pre done as you want or start from scratch cutting out the wood pieces with your own miter saw. Sketch out your design first on paper. Then cut out the piece or buy the wood precut.

Use a stencil or sketch the design directly on the wood. If you are brave, you could freehand the project, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a very steady hand.

Using paint, fill in the design. I suggest maybe doing a decorate border around the perimeter of the piece and then painting the center area a snowy white color. On the snowy white area, write a Christmas message, like "Merry Christmas," "Happy Holidays," or other message you like. If you are good at painting actual objects, maybe you could do a Santa Claus or snowman. It is all up to you.

You can use this same method to make your own Christmas ornaments. Do not forget to add a wire hanger to the piece so it can be hung up.

Christmas Decoupage
Pick up a box or picture frame that you want to spice up. You can give it the Christmas cheer with a little help from decoupage. Search through your magazines or catalogs for pictures of Santa, snowmen, snowflakes, reindeer or other Christmas inspired pieces.

Carefully cut out the selected pictures and decide how you want to lay them out. You can cover the entire surface or leave a few gaps. It is all up to you. Using a decoupage medium, cover the surface of the object you choose with a thin. Lay the pictures back the way you want them to sit. Once everything is in its place, let the glue dry.

Once the glue is dry, it is time to cover the decoupaged item with layers of a decoupage medium. Between coats, let the medium dry fully. When you are all done, your item will be shiny and well protected.

If you decoupaged a box, use it to wrap up some Christmas cookies for the neighbors, or keep it for yourself. You could always set it out as a candy dish or fill it with colorful Christmas bulbs and use it as a centerpiece. If you did a picture frame, just add in your favorite holiday photo and set it out for everyone to enjoy.

Clothespin Soldier
Make a cute clothespin ornament with just a little work. Take a round topped clothespin and paint the face on the rounded top. Next, paint on shirt and pants. Use whatever colors you like. The pants should stop shortly above the divide in the clothespin. I prefer to paint them black. Paint the shirt from the top of the pants up to the head. For added charm, glue on two tiny beads on the shirt front. They will look like buttons.

To complete the look, glue a black pompom on top of the pin's head. Top that with a tiny pompom that is the same color as the shirt. Now your clothespin soldier is complete. If you want, you can add a string to hang him up by, otherwise just place the clothespin in the Christmas tree so that the legs are straddling a branch.

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