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Do It Yourself Christmas Decorations

Updated on November 17, 2013
Make your own Christmas decorations
Make your own Christmas decorations

Homemade and Inexpensive Decorations

Christmas can be a costly time for most. Presents and food mean spending a fortune, especially for big family celebrations.

The first thing I buy each year is a real Christmas tree. This year I actually bought two as I will be entertaining. But two trees mean double the decorations, so I can either make my existing ones stretch, or spend even more money.

A nicer alternative is to make Christmas decorations. Doing it yourself adds a personal touch and fun for the children to get involved. Here are some ways to go all Victorian at Christmas.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Roll out the gingerbreadCut out your gingerbread shapesMake a hole for the ribbonLeave to cool
Roll out the gingerbread
Roll out the gingerbread
Cut out your gingerbread shapes
Cut out your gingerbread shapes
Make a hole for the ribbon
Make a hole for the ribbon
Leave to cool
Leave to cool

Gingerbread

Gingerbread is wonderful at Christmas time. It looks traditional whist giving off a spiced aroma. It is also really easy to make and gives you an option to make many things.

Hanging Decorations

Gingerbread men, women, stars and trees can be cut out using shape cutters. By making the gingerbread you can create your own edible tree decorations.

How to Make Gingerbread

Ingredients

  • 12 oz / 350 g plain flour
  • 6 oz / 175 g light brown sugar
  • 4 oz / 100 g unsalted butter
  • 1 medium egg
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (for an extra Christmas smell)

Method

  • Add the flour and sugar to a bowl and rub in the butter, until it represents breadcrumbs.
  • Add the ginger and cinnamon.
  • Stir in the syrup and egg and combine the mixture to a soft dough. Add a sprinkling of flour if the dough is too sticky.
  • Cool in the fridge for at least an hour.
  • Then your gingerbread is ready to roll out on a floured surface.
  • Cut out your desired shapes and place on a greased baking sheet.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees centigrade for around 10 minutes, or until golden.
  • When still soft, make a hole at the top of each shape using a skewer, so that a ribbon can be threaded through.

Gingerbread cools really quickly, so as your decorations are cooling on a wire rack, make some royal icing to add to them.

Simply place 2 egg whites in a bowl and whisk using an electric whisk.

Whilst still whisking, gradually add sifted icing sugar. Keep on adding until the mixture forms stiff peaks.

Your royal icing can be flavoured if you wish (using lemon or almond essence) and coloured with food colouring.

If you want a few different colours, simply separate some of the icing into bowls and add a different colour to each.



Click thumbnail to view full-size
Make your royal icingColour some of the icingIce your gingerbread decorationsDecorate with colour and cake decorationsAdd ribbon and hang from the tree
Make your royal icing
Make your royal icing
Colour some of the icing
Colour some of the icing
Ice your gingerbread decorations
Ice your gingerbread decorations
Decorate with colour and cake decorations
Decorate with colour and cake decorations
Add ribbon and hang from the tree
Add ribbon and hang from the tree

Making the Gingerbread Decorations

Using a piping bag, pipe on icing however you wish. Make buttons for your gingerbread men or different colours on your other shapes.

However, if you do use different coloured icing, be sure to wash out your piping bag before you change your icing!

Whilst the icing is still soft, add silver edible balls, edible glitter or other cake decorations.

Allow your icing to set before threading a ribbon through the hole at the top and hanging on the tree.

If you wish to make more decorations, simply double the gingerbread and royal icing recipe.

Paper Chains
Paper Chains

Paper Chains

Paper chains are so simple, but very Victorian and traditional. Queen Victoria embraced Christmas as a family celebration, decorating the home and tree with homemade crafts.

Paper chains can be made easily using any paper or card you wish. You can make them classic and simple with coloured sugar paper, or modern with metallic material.

How to Make Paper Chains

Simply cut strips of paper around 3 cm thick and 20 cm long (depending on the size you want).

Dab a small amount of glue along the short edge of one side of the strip. Make a ring and stick the other side together.

Loop your next strip around the first ring, gluing one edge and sticking to make the next ring.

continue to make your chain.

For card or metallic chains, secure with sellotape along the inside of the loop so it won't undo.

Decorate your fireplace, ceiling, mirrors or tree with your classic paper chains!


Click thumbnail to view full-size
Draw a circleCut around the circleFold in halfFold again.....and againCut your snowflake shapeSnowflake!Spray with snow spray
Draw a circle
Draw a circle
Cut around the circle
Cut around the circle
Fold in half
Fold in half
Fold again..
Fold again..
...and again
...and again
Cut your snowflake shape
Cut your snowflake shape
Snowflake!
Snowflake!
Spray with snow spray
Spray with snow spray

Snowflakes

This one is fun for the children to do.

By folding a circle of white paper (use a dinner plate to cut around) and folding it several times, you can cut shapes to create a snowflake.

The snowflake can then either be used as a decoration itself, or as a stencil. Simply secure to a window with some sticky tape and spray snow spray over the top. Lift gently to reveal a snowy pattern on the window!

Use several designs and sizes to create the look of snowfall as you look to the window.

You can also cut out other shapes from paper or card and spray them onto the window. I made a snowman and holly.


Homemade Paper lanterns
Homemade Paper lanterns

Lanterns

Lanterns are cute at Christmas time. They remind me of my school days, when I would bring home paper lanterns at the end of the school term.

How to Make Paper Lanterns

Using a piece of A4 paper (with a design of your choice) or coloured card, cut a strip along the short side around 3 cm thick. Put this aside as it will be the handle.

Fold the paper in half length ways. Draw a faint line using a ruler around 4 cm from the top of the longest side, at the opposite end to the fold.

Next cut strips from the fold up to the line. Ensure they are equal in size (around 2 1/2 cm) and straight.

Unfold the paper and make a tube. The fold should stick outwards. Secure with sticky tape or glue and secure the handle at the top.

Make your lanterns any size in any colour, and decorate your home as you wish!


Comments

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    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi Leah - what a great idea to recycle old junk mail. I bet it looks quite effective too. Might try that one!

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 

      6 years ago from Western New York

      The lanterns are so very cute! I love making snowflakes in the winter time. Sometimes we make ours out of junk mail, to give them a colorful effect!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi RTalloni - I try not to overdo the decorations, but it's nice to have something traditional. Thanks for reading.

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks Om - it's something so simple but so effective at Christmas.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      6 years ago from the short journey

      Yes, very nice, and such memory makers for children. How delightful your second tree must be!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      6 years ago

      Nice DIY Christmas ideas, Emma. They all sound really fun and easy enough to do with kids. Thanks for this lovely hub!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Oh no! That's the problem - if the kids don't eat them, the pets will! Those ornaments do sound interesting though. I love the smell of cinnamon at Christmas.

    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      We made ornaments out of cinnamon, applesauce and white glue one year and they smelled so good. We hung them on the tree and my dog ate all of them :(

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi chrissie - sometimes I wonder if I'm the one enjoying it more than the kids! But my son did really enjoy doing the gingerbread this year. He really enjoyed eating it too, but I have made sure the ones on the tree stay there until Christmas!

    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      We've done all of these crafts in the past and both my kids have loved them. We only ever made the gingerbread once because once they ate it they had no interest in it ever again....oh well!

    • Emma Harvey profile imageAUTHOR

      Emma Kisby 

      6 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks carol7777 - I'm all for craft making, or giving it a try. I like to get into the Christmas spirit!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      Got some great ideas here for the do it yourself crowd..which I am a part of..Voting UP.

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