Here are two more of the cutest additions to my clay craft projects. If you’re following me on social media you can see that I set myself a challenge of seeing just how much I could create from one pack of clay…. and so far we have shared instructions for a Christmas tree decoration and also a ginger bread man Garland – everything started out life in the same way. I have lots of really easy Christmas crafts for you to try out which are pintrest worthy and make great DIY gifts
You will need:
Tools for details
So as before roll out and press your clay in to shapes and leave them in a warm place for a couple of days to harden. Make sure you poke holes to hang your string. This is an activity which we have come back to several cold afternoons – each time we pick one or two shapes to decorate from our dry pieces and spend hours crafting.
We painted our robins with red paint for their iconic chest and then added a dab of white and black paint for eyes…. the natural terracotta lends itself really well for this project but we felt like these needed a little extra oomph and after a rummage around the craft cupboard I found the gold leaf we used previously on the pinecone star
So of course we applied this carefully to the edges of the robins with PVA glue before adding natural twine to hang them up…. this beautiful pair of robins is being sent to Arlo’s nanny and grandparents because they have made acquaintance with a lovely Robin who comes to visit them every day just like we do here and it reminds us all that even though we can’t be in the same place right now we are always in each other’s thoughts.
There’s nothing more fun than working with clay to make “stuff” – it’s basically a step up from play-doh and you can make really beautiful things is just a few simple steps. In fact I decided to challenge myself to see just how much we could achieve with one pack of terracotta clay. I have lots of really easy Christmas crafts to try but this is a favourite.
For this craft you will need:
Cookie cutters in the shape of a tree and a star
A rolling pin
A wooden skewer
First things first roll out your clay and use your cookie cutters to create your shapes. This is the most fun part for Arlo and sometimes we do go a little off piste with the creativity. I sit beside him and lay each piece carefully down on a sheet of grease proof paper – and make little holes in the right places for them to hang.
I use a skewer, alphabet stampers and other random kitchen implements to make marks in to our clay – so for the tree we poked in a few random holes to place the buttons as baubles. Then everything gets left to thoroughly dry. This takes about 2/3 days in a warm spot in the house.
Once our clay was dry (and you can tell as it changes colour slightly) we got to work with some paints: green to paint the tree, gold for the star and some lights and then we finally stuck the buttons in to the little dents before tying everything together with candy cane string.
We have so many little pieces of clay to paint and decorate that this is something we can pull out on a rainy day to do. We have been working on our gingerbread people for quite a long time and I think we have enough for a full Garland… not to mention some other festive shapes and decorations too.
Sending Christmas cards is a bit of a fading tradition, but for us it’s a chance to get started on a mammoth craft session. Something to do on a rainy afternoon. I like to get Arlo involved with an array of craft materials and we just have fun. For this first project I drew a string of fairy lights on to some recycled card and he is sticking the Pom poms on to match. An easy Christmas craft to try out at home.
I’ve always thought Arlo’s art work is amazing and like most proud parents will display any splodge of paint proudly on my mantle piece however I know that this kind of thing doesn’t really resonate with people on the receiving end. This next toddler Christmas card making project is one we bring out every year – he’s using bows dipped in green and red paint and printing patterns straight on to card stock.
To make all of these masterpieces gift worthy I like to add a quote, pun or sentiment. This is the little finishing touch to make his designs come to life. I have to wait until Arlo is completely finished and then for the front of each card I work out the shape of his crafts and try to wrap text to fit around using my silhouette software. I then print straight on to a sheet of A4 card stock. I’m careful to place the text on the right hand side of the screen as I’m designing so I can fold the card and it’s in the exact place it needs to be so I can stick Arlo’s masterpieces straight on.
This project is a super simple one – all you need to do is wrap strips of green paper around a cardboard tree shape and then glue and stick your decorations on to match. We have repeated this activity with all sorts of scraps of ribbon and paper and different embellishments. I used a font called cinnamon sticks on this example and (even if I do say so myself) it looks really professional.
My handwriting is terrible and I get arm ache when we have such a big family to write out cards for so I use different typefaces together to fit the quotes I’m using and again I print off the words on to card stock, and stick these to the inside of my cards. This is one thing which I like to do add a few little extra touches – a sentiment, or a funny pun works wonders. I can usually fit six on to one sheet of A4 paper.
This year I’ve gone for this cheeky little text which I hope makes everyone have a little giggle when they open their cards – the word “Christmas” is in a new favourite font of mine called Margaret River…. I like to play with mixing and matching different typefaces from bundles and you can create all sorts of fab effects.
Arlo also goes to nursery and swimming lessons and all sorts of other activity groups – (the kid has a better social life than me) we have always sent out Christmas cards to everyone. He’s not able to sign his name yet and I made the rookie error of giving him a crayon the first year we did this and he made a huge mess. So this year I have designed him his own stickers.
I showed Arlo a variety of different pictures and we opted for the “tree Rex” which he thinks is hilarious. I used apps on my phone to edit the images and then I added “merry Christmas” and “love from Arlo” in one of font bundles script fonts . I print and cut these out using my cameo so he can pop these inside his cards and we can also use these to seal envelopes and add to gift tags on presents too. He still adds his little squiggle, but at least the recipient knows who it’s from. They add a little personal touch and look really cool too.
When it comes to close family members I always like to go the extra mile and create something really special. This year I have made Arlo and his cousins a card based on the “Christmas Eve jingle” – The idea is that across the world at 6pm kids are going to stand on their doorsteps and ring their bells (a bit like we did the clap for carers for the NHS in the summer). It’s a fabulous idea and I wanted to make something to mark the occasion.
I have created these cards using two different fonts – first of all there’s “Arlo believes” in a script style which I have applied in vinyl to a little gift tag and then attached a bell with candy cane string and used the tag’s original twine to attach it to the actual card.
I then used a new font “Margaret river” to print out ‘jingle bells’ – and then have cut this out and popped it on to card stock. This is a really simple way to to create a card and I just love that it’s interactive and will evoke some Christmas magic. I think I’ll be adding mine to the Christmas Eve box and I can’t wait to see his reaction.
This is a really simple Christmas star paper craft which creates such a beautiful effect. A great way to use sheets of scrap book paper too…. one of many easy Christmas crafts to try along with us.
For this activity you will need:
A five pointed star template
Sheets of 12×12 craft paper
A needle and thread to hang
First things first create your template. I used a protractor and compass to get mine straight but you can print one off to trace quite easily. My cardboard template has two sizes – one smaller inside and one larger on the outside.
Use your template and pencil to draw your stars on to paper before cutting out carefully with a scalpel. You can fit one of each size easily on to a sheet of paper.
Once you have done this you need to create score lines along a straight line from the tip of a point joining to the opposite dip between points – take care not to cut through your paper.
Once you have done this you need to squeeze to fold the longer points with a pinch and then fold the smaller inner lines in the opposite direction.
The finished folds leave you with a 3D paper star which is perfect to hang. I poke a hole with a needle and use thread to hang these up in the window.
You can use thread to attach a larger and smaller star together to make a mobile or group several smaller ones to create a Garland. You could fold and then cut to make a star with a cut pattern or make a giant star for a centre piece. Once you know the knack these are such a simple activity and so versatile when you can choose your colour scheme too.
This is a new Christmas tradition for us. Usually we treat ourselves to a hot chocolate with all the trimmings at the Christmas Market but this year it’s cancelled (like everything else) and so I decided to be a little bit ‘extra’ and create this little space for Arlo.
The sign itself was made using a design bundles SVG. I’ve added adhesive vinyl to the glass pane and then popped a sheet of felt inside the glass. This design can be downloaded and printed too. It really does add a festive pop to the kitchen which is normally too functional but there’s no rules in 2020 anymore.
This hot chocolate station was fairly simple to put together – with the tray and the elf cup from Home Bargains, and the glass jars from Ikea. I added vinyl decals to label them up and then filled everything with treats and “bobs your uncle” as the saying goes.
This entire set up cost me less than £20 to put together and I’ve paid £3.50 for a single mug before – I already had cocoa and sugar and just added a bit of each to these jars which I can top up as we go – I think this will keep us going until Christmas.
Would you believe it if I told you this candle was made from scraps? Probably not but it is…. I love having pillar candles on my fire place and as the wax drips I’ve always just plonked another candle on top as I love the effect.
This week has begun the slow transition from autumn to winter and one of my projects was to scrape all the candle wax away from the fireplace and replace with brand new red festive ones. That’s fine but I was left with a box of gross crumbly wax.
To make new candles you will need:
Bits and bobs (check flammability)
You begin by placing your wax in to a small pan, and adding boiling water to a larger pan. Create a Bain marie over heat and then simply leave your wax to melt down.
Whilst you wax is melting down prepare your bits and bobs – decide on your fragrances and then prepare your glass.
Here I added gold leaf, gold glitter, cinnamon sticks and a dried orange slice with matching fragrances to be added. My pre waxed wick was secured to the base of the jar and then the excess wrapped around a skewer to balance on the edges of the jar.
At this stage you can check the wax, remove any old residue from the molten wax and carefully discard this – wick stabilisers tend to be metal and easy to fish out but there can be a bit of old burnt wick and sometimes stickers too. The wax needs to be at about 65° to melt but this depends on the type of wax in the candles and if you’re using a mix of old candles then a guesstimate is fine.
Then it’s simply a case of adding fragrance in to the liquid wax and then carefully pouring your mix in to the glass jar. This is the bit where you need to act quickly as the candle wax sets rapidly when it touches a cold surface.
Candles need to be left to set in a cool place – and you will find a small dip will occur in the centre – so it’s always handy to save a little bit of leftover wax for this to top up.
This blog contains reference to products which were given to us by Chalkola.
Our first Christmas window of 2020 is a woodland winter wonderland. I wanted to choose something a little bit different to work with the craft projects we have recently been working on as well as the colour scheme of the kitchen.
This mural was hand drawn using our new Chalkola pens which are extra chunky and so perfect for drawing huge murals on the windows.
Just like our other pens from http://www.chalkola.com/ these contain super pigemnted ink which can be used on non porus surfaces such as glass and chalkboards to create a mural which can be wiped clean, or you can use them to create permanent art on fabric, wood, paper and card.
The box that we received was a multipack – each pen is 15mm and the pack included eight neon colours which are perfect for sign making. You shake and prime each pen to get the ink flowing by pumping it down on to cardboard and then you’re set to go.
The 15mm nob sounds daunting but you can achieve all sorts of different results by utilising different mark making techniques, holding the nib at an angle and varying the pressure to create different effects.
The overall level of detail and finished appearance is awe inspiring – I literally can’t wait to start the next window and try out all of the colours with a totally different theme. Can you guess what we’ll be going for?
Use the code ARLO10 for a discount on the Chalkola website.
Our twig christmas tree project was a hit, and I love the hygge interior style – but you know me I love a bit of sparkle. After using gold leaf in previous projects I just had to see how it would turn out on pine cones too – one more easy Christmas craft to add to the ever growing collection
You will need:
Five pine cones of a similar size
Soft paint brush
The process for this is super simple. I chose to use all the scraps of gold leaf I had fro previous projects. Applying PVA glue to the ends of each piece and then rolling the cones around in the gold until it all adhered.
I did need to use more gold leaf as I had a lot of cones which I’m going to be using for Christmas decoration pieces. I ended up wrapping sheets around them and loved how messy it all got.
I left these to dry overnight in a warm place and then simply used a soft paint brush to clear away the sheets and reveal the sparkly cones before choosing my best five.
Then it’s simply a case of applying glue and holding each piece together until they stick. On reflection my hot glue gun would have been quicker.
I used twine to wrap around my star and then hang it from the nail which my twig Christmas tree hangs from. I fiddled with the fairy lights to make sure it glowed and then sat back listening to Mariah Carey and enjoying my work.