In Lifestyle on
December 16, 2016

Last Minute DIY Christmas Decor Hacks

diy-christmas-decorhacks

I like expressing my creativity when I can and saving money where possible, so I thought that these would be perfect to combine to make this post for you – have a read below for some of my favourite thrifty Christmas Decor hacks!

DIY Festive Wreath

Does anything say traditional Christmas more than an abundant festive wreath? The great thing about making one yourself is that you can customise every aspect of it, from the size you would like it to be right down to the colour of the twine used to hang it from your door.

If you’re not a fan of door wreaths, you could also make this into a centrepiece for your dining table or mantle – the possibilities are endless.

To make this, you will need:

Twigs
Adhesive
Ribbon
Thick cotton or twine
Decorations

First, gather your twigs. How many and the size that you need will depend on how big you would like your finished wreath to be. Mine is roughly dinner plate sized in circumference and I used 20 twigs measuring approx 60cm/24inch.

Choose a sturdy stick to make the base shape of your wreath. I gently worked mine into a circle, and secured the ends together with some tape. Carefully wrap the other twigs around your base. If you find that they are too dry and are snapping, soak them in lukewarm water for half an hour until they are more pliable.

Once they are all wrapped, loop twine or thick cotton around to keep them all in place. You don’t have to do this, however I felt like it helped to keep the twigs bundled together and held the circular shape.

Trim off any excess twigs. Again, if you prefer a more rustic look to can leave them sticking out, or you can cut them down to create a neater feel.

wreath1

If you are hanging your wreath, now is a good time to add the twine that you will be using. I hung mine over the front door and secured the twine on the back of the door with a command hook – this gives a more secure and neater finish.

Prepare your decorations. I re-purposed a huge bag of potpourri and used lots of the dried plants to create a very Christmassy feel – as an added bonus it also smells great! I had an idea of what I wanted mine to look like in my head, so I laid out all of the different elements beforehand so that I could play around and change it up as necessary.

Glue your decorations onto the twigs. I added the bow using a length of ribbon, and built up the sides to the top of the wreath from here. I would definitely recommend using a hot glue gun if you have one to cut down on drying time and ensure that nothing falls off, but you could use PVA or super glue.

wreathfinished

 

To stop the wreath from looking a little flat, make sure you add decorations to the inner and outer sides, and don’t be afraid to layer up! This is where you can really unleash your creativity and make something entirely unique to you.

Once the wreath is dry, hang it up and spread some cheer! I’ll be hanging mine on the front door to welcome guests to our home. You could add some battery powered lights to give it a little extra sparkle if you wish and hide the battery pack within the wreath itself – please be aware of fire safety and take measures to prevent any potential fire hazards if you are doing this.

No Cook Salt Dough Ornaments (with a twist)

Hands up if you’ve crafted with salt dough at least once in your lifetime? Usually a staple as a school activity and something that I fondly remember, salt dough ornament crafting is excellent fun for children and adults alike.

What is the twist, you may be thinking? Christmas spices! Easy and cheap to source from most supermarkets, spices such as cinnamon, ginger and clove add a little Christmas magic to these ornaments and gives off a very tempting scent – just be sure you don’t end up eating any!

To make these, you will need:

1 cup of flour
½ cup of salt
½ cup of mixed spices – the ratio is up to you
¾ cup of warm water
Cookie cutters, or paper templates
A rolling pin

Combine all of the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well – you can use a wooden spoon for this, or dive straight in with your hands. Add the water a little at a time and stir until you have a mixture you can knead. If the dough is a little too sloppy or stick, dust flour over the mixture and knead until you can handle it without it leaving a gooey mess on your fingers.

Roll the dough out using a rolling pin – if you don’t have one of these an empty wine bottle or anything solid and cylindrical will do.

saltdough1

Use a selection of Christmas themed cookie cutters to cut the ornaments. If you lack cookie cutters much like myself, you can print off some templates and carefully cut around these with a knife and lots of patience.

Poke a hole through the top of the ornament, big enough so that you’ll be able to thread some twine or ribbon through this – if the holes closes, break a cocktail stick in half and leave this in place until the mixture cures.

saltdough2

Leave to dry overnight. You can hang them on the tree or around the house as is, or decorate and make bright and colourful using acrylic paints.

Copper Pine Cone Garland

A garland is a great way to add some style to your living space, no matter what the theme. This garland was super easy to make, and as it isn’t outwardly Christmas themed it could be used during Autumn and Winter too! Copper is really on trend at the moment and complements almost any colour scheme.

You will need:

Pine cones – how many you need will depend on how long you want the finished garland to be.
Strong twine
A hot glue gun and gluesticks
Copper spray paint
Contrasting paint

Gather your pine cones. If you’re lucky enough to have a big garden or live near a park, go hunting for some reasonably sized whole pine cones. If you’re unable to find these, try looking in supermarkets or stores such as Wilkos and B&M – the bag of potpourri that I bought for the festive wreath contained lots of perfectly sized pine cones that I used for this.

Ensure that they are clean and dry before spray painting. As with any aerosols, especially ones that contain strong chemicals, make sure that you use these in a well ventilated area. Spray the pine cones, ensuring that they are completely covered. A top tip here is to wear gloves – not only to protect your hands, but it means that you can move the pine cones around as you are spraying to make sure you get in all the little nooks and crannies.

Leave to dry. Once dry, you can begin to create your garland, however to make this a little more wintery I added a light coloured paint to the ends of the bottom half of the pine cones. You can use any colour you like as long as it contrasts, and light colours can be used to resemble snow.

pconescloseup

Heat up your glue gun, and whilst you’re doing this work out how much twine you will need. I’d suggest strong twine as once the cones have been secured they are quite heavy. I knew that I wanted around 4m of garland, so cut 5m of twine to have a little extra to play with.

Decide an order for the pine cones. You may want to alternate small and large ones, or like me have the smallest ones in the middle and largest on the outer ends.

Once you have decided, it’s time to start gluing! I found it useful to start in the middle and work outwards so I knew exactly how much twine I had left to play with. Carefully glue the twine to the tops of the pine cones, spacing them as equally as possible for the best visual effect.

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Allow the glue to dry completely before hanging. Secure to whichever surface you are hanging them from using something that won’t cause any surface damage such as command strips.

Stand back and admire. I’ve received so many compliments on mine and have found that these make a perfect addition to those wonderfully festive Instagram pictures I’m seeing everywhere – try using them in a flat lay to add some depth.

Dried Orange Slice Ornaments

The scent of freshly cut and squeezed oranges has to be right up at the top of my list of favorite festive scents. I associate the smell with Christmas for a few reasons – the most prominent linked to a memory of drying out orange slices to make decorations to hang around the house with my wonderful mum.  These are really easy to make, give off a fabulous citrusy scent and more importantly are eye catching and impressive.

To make these ornaments, you will need the following:

Oranges
Twine
Cinnamon sticks
Cloves
A baking tray
Kitchen towel

Firstly, prepare your oranges. I picked up two different sizes – regular sizes oranges and the biggest naval ones that I could get my hands on.

Slice the oranges quite thinly. They don’t need to be paper thin, but if they are too thick it will take longer to dry them out – aim for roughly 4mm slices.

Lay the slices between two pieces of kitchen roll, and pat down to absorb as much of the excess moisture as you can.

Switch on your oven and keep the temperature quite low. I have a fan oven, and set it to 80c which meant that the oranges took roughly 3 and a half hours to dry out. It’s not easy to overdo them as the temperature is quite low, but it’s worth checking on them every half an hour or so – you can tell they are ready when they are firm and have reduced in size.

Take them out of the oven and allow to cool completely. Once they are cold, poke a hole through the top for the twine to go through, taking extra care as the segments can rip quite easily.

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I made a few different variations, adding cloves and cinnamon sticks to others. For a really simply but pretty ornament, find two slices that are a similar size and secure some looped twine in the middle of one with a blob of glue. Carefully apply glue to the edges of this slice and place another on top, pressing down firmly to make sure they stick together.

There are lots of different ways that you could decorate the slices, and you don’t have to stick to hanging them on the tree either. Try stringing some together in a garland, or stud with star anise and scatter around the dinner table for an eye-catching table decoration.

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I really hope that you have enjoyed this post and find some inspiration for easy last minute festive decor. For more great ideas and handy hints along with space and money saving hacks, why not head over to the fantastic Festive Lights blog and have a look at their top tips for your best Christmas yet.

calamityx

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3 Comments

  • Mama k

    Really love the last minute festive ideas, so inexpensive and extra special when you make them yourself.

    December 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm Reply
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