‘Tis the season to trim the tree and wrap the presents! This is the time of year when I seem to have a permanent light coating of glitter on me at all times…unintentionally. It just gets everywhere! This year I’m just going to tell people I wear glitter because “I’m fancy”. Of course that won’t explain my ink stained fingers and glue in my hair…ah, the holidays.
Today I’m going to talk about tree ornaments you can make yourself and a number of gift wrapping tips and ideas to make your packages stand out and become part of the decorations!
As always, the first thing I do is get out my holiday movies to play in the background to put me in the holiday mood as I work on my projects. My favorite, and usually the first one I play each year, is The Muppet Christmas Carol with It’s A Wonderful Life, Elf, A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, and The Ref following closely behind. Of course there’s also the classics of Rudolf, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and, of course, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Christmas Tree Ornaments
I attempted a number of new ornaments this year. Most were successful and easy…some were not. I promise to share (with photos) the good, the bad, and the ugly. I like to coordinate my ornaments each year either with a theme or color or style. The last few years I’ve done a silver and gold tree with lots of shine and sparkle, but what I love about this time of year is seeing how other people decorate their trees! Each tree is unique their family and can say so much with just a few baubles! So here’s some ornaments I made this year. Some I will give as gifts, others I will use on my tree, and at least one is going directly into the trash or will getting repainted…but more on that later. Let’s get started!
Wrap yarn around a glass ornament (using hot glue gun to secure the yarn occasionally), glue wood beads to the ends of long toothpicks or short skewers and insert through top layer of yarn.
Cover a clear glass ornament with a thin layer of glue, cover with Epsom salts, let dry.
Salt Dough Ornaments:
Mix salt dough (1 part salt, 1 part flour, 1/2 part water) and roll out then cut shapes using cookie cutters. Use a toothpick to create a small hole at the top (large enough for a ribbon or twine to fit through) and add a pattern or lettering (like Joy, Noel, or a name using alphabet stamps) to the cut-outs. Bake on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven (center rack) for 4-6 hours (longer if you have thick pieces). Once cool, dust off any remaining flour and decorate! Don’t forget to paint both sides. I painted these a few different ways:
- Star with imprint: copper spray paint
- Star with “joy” imprint: red paint with white dry brushing
- Candy Cane: red, white, and a coating of glitter glue.
- Tree with imprint: Red in the pattern and white lightly brushed over the top avoiding the pattern imprint.
- Pink Star: I painted the star pink then went over the letters in white paint. Once dry, I covered all with a layer of glitter glue.
Mercury Glass Faux Finish:
In a well ventilated area, spray Krylon Looking Glass spray paint into a clear glass ornament and swirl until almost dry (use a hair dryer on low to speed up this process). Spray a few spritzes of water into ball and give it a little shake until large droplets form, let dry completely. Once dry, pour in some gold paint and swirl it around, drain out any extra. Let dry and hang!
Carefully, cut straight twigs to the correct size, then glue gun onto the base stick. Make a star out of small sticks and glue to the top. Make a twine loop and glue to the top of the back of the base stick. Watch your hands when using the garden clippers, trust me!
Swirl watered-down, clear-drying, craft glue inside a clean clear glass ornament and drain out excess. Pour in a healthy amount of glitter, hold your finger over the opening, and give it a good shake until the glitter is completely covering the inside, discard excess. Let dry and hang! It’s very important to keep the glue thin or else it will take forever to dry! My first attempt I used undiluted glue and after three days they still weren’t dry!
Sheet Music Ball:
Print holiday sheet music onto parchment paper and cut into strips. Roll strips loosely around a pencil and insert into a clean clear glass ornament.
Paint and Shake Ornament:
Easiest ornament ever! I call this one “Chewed Up Candy Cane”. I just added a glob of red paint, a glob of white paint, and a tablespoon of water and gave it a shake until all areas were covered. Then drained out the excess and let dry. Done!
Fails! Puff Paint Tree, Glitter Letter, and Dark Noel Star:
We all make mistakes, I make many, or things just don’t turn out in real life they way they looked in your head. Here are a few ornaments that are not making the tree this year…but your version may turn out much better! So if you like the idea, try it and I hope you have a steadier hand than I did!
Gift Wrap Ideas
I love to coordinate my gift wrap with my tree decorations either with the same color scheme or the same style family (rustic, traditional, Disney, etc.). If I’m doing a silver and gold tree, then my packages will also be wrapped in silver and gold with hints of burgandy to match the tree skirt. If I’m doing a Disney tree, then I’ll coordinate the gift wrap to match the (most likely) bright pops of color on the ornaments. I also like variety in my gift wrap, so no two presents are wrapped exactly the same. I usually use a total of two or three coordinated wrapping paper rolls and four or five different coordinated ribbons. I wrap each present in a different variation and voila! a lovely, coordinated yet interesting, set of presents that add to your overall holiday decor!
This is what I used for this year’s gift wrap materials:
- Plain red wrapping paper (no pattern)
- Plain kraft wrapping paper (no pattern)
- Dark brown burlap
- Jute rope/twine
- 2.5″ Tan cloth wired ribbon with a brown pine cone and dark green pine needle pattern, light glitter
- 1.5″ Tan cloth wired ribbon with a brown twig/stick pattern, no glitter
- 1.5″ Ivory satin wired ribbon with a slight gold musical note pattern with gold edges, no glitter
- 1.5″ Red cloth wired ribbon with gold glitter pine cones and pine needle pattern, heavy glitter
- Faux red berries
- Faux pine needle branches with pine cones and berries
- Faux gold berry picks (if you used gold with your Thanksgiving decorating, reuse on the gifts for Christmas!)
- Large gourmet candy cane
- Large peppermint marshmallow pop
- Alphabet stamps and black ink
Large Kraft Box with Pine Cone Ribbon and Greens and Large Candy Cane:
Brown Burlap Ball with Stick Ribbon, Greenery, and Berries:
Red Box with Ivory Ribbon and Gold Berries:
Small Kraft box with Twine, Red Berries, and Stamped Name:
Red Box with Red/Gold Ribbon, Greenery with Pine Cones, and Large Peppermint Marshmallow:
Kraft Box with Stick Ribbon, Greenery, and Red Berries:
Have fun making your own ornaments and wrapping presents this season and Happy Holidays!