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Make Your Own Decorations

The Ultimate Christmas Craft Guide

Christmas is one of my favourite times of year as it is the moment everyone seems to start crafting. Be it wrapping presents, making paper chains, painting decorations, laying tables - everyone gets creative.

I am a huge believer in taking a hand made approach to Christmas, which feels particularly important at the moment as the cost of living goes up and we look for more affordable and sustainable ways to celebrate the festive period. Not only will you get to enjoy the processes involved in making decorations, but you'll also make pieces totally unique to you - nothing off the shelf here!

Below you'll find videos on some of my favourite decorations, and links for what you'll need to buy. Where possible I have included links to other smaller or independant businesses for these materials, but it isn't always possible.

It's been a very fun few weeks pulling together these guides, and I hope you'll find them useful!

Christmas is one of my favourite times of year as it is the moment everyone seems to start crafting. Be it wrapping presents, making paper chains, painting decorations, laying tables - everyone gets creative.

I am a huge believer in taking a hand made approach to Christmas, which feels particularly important at the moment as the cost of living goes up and we look for more affordable and sustainable ways to celebrate the festive period. Not only will you get to enjoy the processes involved in making decorations, but you'll also make pieces totally unique to you - nothing off the shelf here!

Below you'll find videos on some of my favourite decorations, and links for any extra materials you'll need to buy. Where possible I have included links to other smaller or independant businesses for these materials.

It's been a very fun few weeks pulling together these guides, and I hope you'll find them useful!

Patterned Paper

Patterned Paper

Outside of sewing, my second great passion is paper craft and there is nothing I love more than finding new ways to create patterned paper. There is something so exciting about these processes and the big unveiling at the end when you see the design. There are other classic approaches to making patterned paper like blockprinting and paste paper, however my approaches are something a little different!

 

You'll see the walls of my studio are filled with attempts at different ways of making paper - some successful and some less so. This process is very trial and error so set aside a decent chunk of time to just experiment. You can then use your paper for making decorations, wrapping presents, collaging and more.

Outside of sewing, my second great passion is paper craft and there is nothing I love more than finding new ways to create patterned paper. There is something so exciting about these processes and the big unveiling at the end when you see the design. There are other classic approaches to making patterned paper like blockprinting and paste paper, however my approaches are something a little different!

You'll see the walls of my studio are filled with attempts at different ways of making paper - some successful and some less so. This process is very trial and error so set aside a decent chunk of time to just experiment. You can then use your paper for making decorations, wrapping presents, collaging and more.

The first method for making paper is my "Faux-Marbling" approach.

This method effectively uses mono-printing to create the patterns. As a process you need far fewer materials and experience than actual marbelling, and it is also much tidier - no trays of carrageenan required or alum-ing your paper. This is a really fun one to also try with children - you can get your hands dirty!

The first method for making paper is my "Faux-Marbling" approach.

This method effectively uses mono-printing to create the patterns. As a process you need far fewer materials and experience than actual marbelling, and it is also much tidier - no trays of carrageenan required or alum-ing your paper. This is a really fun one to also try with children - you can get your hands dirty!

Materials and where to get them...

Acrylic slow drying medium: I recommend this one but most good art shops will stock this.

Acrylic paints: Any acrylic paints will do. In the video I use ones from this set which gives you so much choice of colour.

Hard surface: You can use glass to mono-print on - use glass from any picture frame and it will work well and can be cleaned after. In the video I am using this gel press but definitely it isn't essential.

Printing baren: Likewise, in the video I use this baren to flatten my paper on the press. It is definitely not essential and only worth getting if you intend to do a lot of printing. You can achieve the same effect just smoothing with your hands.

Paper: For this printing you are best to use a ~120gsm cartridge paper.

Materials and where to get them...

Acrylic slow drying medium: I recommend this one but most good art shops will stock this.

Acrylic paints: Any acrylic paints will do. In the video I use ones from this set which gives you so much choice of colour.

Hard surface: You can use glass to mono-print on - use glass from any picture frame and it will work well and can be cleaned after. In the video I am using this gel press but definitely it isn't essential.

Printing baren: Likewise, in the video I use this baren to flatten my paper on the press. It is definitely not essential and only worth getting if you intend to do a lot of printing. You can achieve the same effect just smoothing with your hands.

Paper: For this printing you are best to use a ~120gsm cartridge paper.

The second method for making patterned paper is all about layering. I have developed an approach using a watercolour resist which enables you to build up different colours of ink and peel back layers.

Be patient, there is lots of drying time between the layers, but the end result is worth it!

The second method for making patterned paper is all about layering. I have developed an approach using a watercolour resist which enables you to build up different colours of ink and peel back layers.

Be patient, there is lots of drying time between the layers, but the end result is worth it!

Special materials and where to get them...

Watercolour masking fluid: I recommend this one but most good art shops will stock this.

Inks: Any inks will do but I particularly like these acrylic inks as they have strong pigmentation and a wonderful sheen when dried.

Paper: For this printing you are best to use a ~120gsm cartridge paper.

Materials and where to get them...

Watercolour masking fluid: I recommend this one but most good art shops will stock this.

Inks: Any inks will do but I particularly like these acrylic inks as they have strong pigmentation and a wonderful sheen when dried.

Paper: For this printing you are best to use a ~120gsm cartridge paper.

Paper Decorations

Now you have your paper made, lets use it for decorations!

Below I have four different suggestions for paper decorations to make, going from the very easy paper chains, to our more complicated folded baubles. All these decorations can be saved and stored to use year after year!

If you don't want to make your own paper, then take a look at Cambridge Imprint, Shepherds, Marmor Papier, and Pentreath and Hall. These shops all sell wonderful papers which would work fabulously with these decorations.

Paper Decorations

Now you have your paper made, lets use it for decorations!

Below I have four different suggestions for paper decorations to make, going from the very easy paper chains, to our more complicated folded baubles. All these decorations can be saved and stored to use year after year!

If you don't want to make your own paper, then take a look at Cambridge Imprint, Shepherds, Marmor Papier, and Pentreath and Hall. These shops all sell wonderful papers which would work fabulously with these decorations.

First up is paper chains. Whilst I am sure you will know how to do these, I wanted to show you the method I use when making a large quantity. If you plan to do this, then investing in a gillotine is a must!

First up is paper chains. Whilst I am sure you will know how to do these, I wanted to show you the method I use when making a large quantity. If you plan to do this, then investing in a gillotine is a must!

Special materials and where to get them...

Guillotine: If you are planning to make a lot of paper chains then you will find it much quicker to use a guillotine, like this one.

Materials and where to get them...

Guillotine: If you are planning to make a lot of paper chains then you will find it much quicker to use a guillotine, like this one.

Next up are these cut paper baubles. The only thing to bear in mind is there benefit from using a stronger card, about ~200 gsm, whereas our paper we made previously was ~120 gsm.

The decorations will still work with a lighter paper but will just have a bit more movement!

Next up are these cut paper baubles. The only thing to bear in mind is there benefit from using a stronger card, about ~200 gsm, whereas our paper we made previously was ~120 gsm.

The decorations will still work with a lighter paper but will just have a bit more movement!

Special materials and where to get them...

Plain colour card: This pack of card is perfect for making these decorations with some amazing colours.

Materials and where to get them...

Plain colour card: This pack of card is perfect for making these decorations with some amazing colours.

The next decoration for our tree are the stars. These can be made in any size, from small ones to hang on the tree to a large tree topper. For these ones I am using our faux-marbled paper.

The next decoration for our tree are the stars. These can be made in any size, from small ones to hang on the tree to a large tree topper. For these ones I am using our faux-marbled paper.

Finally in our paper decorations section are the folded baubles. Now these ones do require a bit of patience - I have scrunch many a piece of paper which hasn't worked so trial it first on a sheet of scrap paper before working with your best paper.

 

However once you get the hang of it, they are really easy and the structure goes wonderfully solid so they will last you for years.

Finally in our paper decorations section are the folded baubles. Now these ones do require a bit of patience - I have scrunch many a piece of paper which hasn't worked so trial it first on a sheet of scrap paper before working with your best paper.

 

However once you get the hang of it, they are really easy and the structure goes wonderfully solid so they will last you for years.

Other Decoration Ideas

There are so many wonderful other decorations which you can create at home, relatively inexpensively. Here are three of my favourites which each use different skills. You can use these techniques the same way I have here or try them in your own way to paint other shapes, emboss baubles or make unique gifts.

Other Decoration Ideas

There are so many wonderful other decorations which you can create at home, relatively inexpensively. Here are three of my favourites which each use different skills. You can use these techniques the same way I have here or try them in your own way to paint other shapes, emboss baubles or make unique gifts.

First up are our birds!

Whilst I have decorated flat birds here, there are so many amazing options of other kits to decorate on the market. My particular favourite are the kits from Metio Studio which have been designed by Emma Carlow - take a look at these here.

First up are our birds!

Whilst I have decorated flat birds here, there are so many amazing options of other kits to decorate on the market. My particular favourite are the kits from Metio Studio which have been designed by Emma Carlow - take a look at these here.

Materials and where to get them...

Wooden Birds: The birds I am decorating in this video can be found here on Hobby Craft however take a look as their other hanging decorations as there are many other shapes which I think would be great. I particularly like this train, the rocking horses, and this angel shape.

Posca pens: Posca pens are expensive so it worth just buying a few colours you would like to use. You can find these in most good art and craft shops.

Paint: For the paints I am just using leftovers of sample pots. You can use any paint though for this including acrylic.

Materials and where to get them...

Wooden Birds: The birds I am decorating in this video can be found here on Hobby Craft however take a look as their other hanging decorations as there are many other shapes which I think would be great. I particularly like this train, the rocking horses, and this angel shape.

Posca pens: Posca pens are expensive so it worth just buying a few colours you would like to use. You can find these in most good art and craft shops.

Paint: For the paints I am just using leftovers of sample pots. You can use any paint though for this including acrylic.

Next up is my musicians garland.

This doesn't need to be a decoration just for christmas - I rather love the idea of having these hanging all year round. Also you can make these just as individual hanging decorations for the tree. I have based the design on my musicians embroideries but any shapes will work. Try something personal to you!

Finally I have listed below the aluminium sheet I have used but one great trick is to use tomato puree tubes. The inside of these tubes in gold. You can decant out the tomato puree into ice cube trays and freeze it, then cut open the empty tubes. I haven't done that in this video as already have a freezer full of tomato puree from last years decorations and so it felt too wasteful of food.

Next up is my musicians garland.

This doesn't need to be a decoration just for christmas - I rather love the idea of having these hanging all year round. Also you can make these just as individual hanging decorations for the tree. I have based the design on my musicians embroideries but any shapes will work. Try something personal to you!

Finally I have listed below the aluminium sheet I have used but one great trick is to use tomato puree tubes. The inside of these tubes in gold. You can decant out the tomato puree into ice cube trays and freeze it, then cut open the empty tubes. I haven't done that in this video as already have a freezer full of tomato puree from last years decorations and so it felt too wasteful of food.

Materials and where to get them...

Aluminium sheets: I purchased this pack of aluminium sheets to make these decorations. I got the full garland out of two sheets of foil, so altogether it cost less than £5 to make the garland. They also stock different coloured metals like these copper sheets from Jacksons.

 

Materials and where to get them...

Aluminium sheets: I purchased this pack of aluminium sheets to make these decorations. I got the full garland out of two sheets of foil, so altogether it cost less than £5 to make the garland. They also stock different coloured metals like these copper sheets from Jacksons.

Our final decoration are the painted glass baubles.

What I love about these is the ability to hide something inside. What a wonderful way to give a gift to someone you love - a pair of earrings hidden inside a bauble you have painted yourself! The hard bit with these decorations is that you need to find a glass bauble which opens. Below the video i have included the link to the ones I bought.

Our final decoration are the painted glass baubles.

What I love about these is the ability to hide something inside. What a wonderful way to give a gift to someone you love - a pair of earrings hidden inside a bauble you have painted yourself! The hard bit with these decorations is that you need to find a glass bauble which opens. Below the video i have included the link to the ones I bought.

Materials and where to get them...

Glass and tile medium: I recommend using the glass and tile medium from Jo Sonja which you can find here. They also do a wonderful gold paint for glass.

Glass baubles: For the glass baubles you can use these ones with a gold band around the middle, or these ones with a silver band. You could even try these ribbed ones which would be fun to paint, but a little trickier.

Materials and where to get them...

Glass and tile medium: I recommend using the glass and tile medium from Jo Sonja which you can find here. They also do a wonderful gold paint for glass.

Glass baubles: For the glass baubles you can use these ones with a gold band around the middle, or these ones with a silver band. You could even try these ribbed ones which would be fun to paint, but a little trickier.