'Tis the season for retail stores to stock an amazing array of shiny baubles, all vying for a special spot on your tree. But as pretty -- and plentiful -- as they are, store-bought ornaments lack the personal touch you give when you make your own. If you're feeling a bit crafty this Christmas, you don't have to look beyond your own home to find great raw materials for a bit of holiday DIYing. Using everything from popsicle sticks to beer cans, you might be surprised what you can make when you let your creative instincts take charge.
In Awe of Straw
Here's a holiday ornament that feels both rustic and modern. Using just straw and string, you can create an impressive geometric shape. These distinctive ornaments are made from natural straws, but you can certainly use plastic or paper straws instead. Get the tutorial at Elsie Marley.
The base of this tiny hanging snow globe looks like a light bulb, but it's actually a clear plastic ornament that you can pick up at craft supply stores. Drop in tiny embellishments like a miniature tree or small figurines from around the house, add a few dabs of glue to secure the scene, then pour in glitter "snow." NoBiggie has the step-by-step.
Rusted to Rustic
Beautiful barbed wire... it's not an oxymoron! This rusty star ornament was made using real barbed wire from an old barn. If you don't have any barbed wire lying around (who doesn't, right?) you can order small rolls on Etsy. After that, the rest is easy: Simply cut to length to create a star shape and secure the overlapping ends with jute string.
Cookie cutters have graced many a Christmas tree, but this clever version kicks it up a notch with the addition of a festive little jingle bell. Loop red-and-white baker's twine through the bell and around the cookie cutter to create a ready-made hanger for your new holiday decoration.
Whether your holiday message is "Let It Snow" or "Ho Ho Ho," you can spell it out with Scrabble tiles. After you've arranged your letters, trace the shape of your phrase on a paper plate to serve as the backing for your ornament. A finishing touch of white texture paint adds the look of freshly fallen snow. Crafts by Amanda has the details.
Frosty the Corkman
Instead of tossing out old wine corks, transform them into small snowman ornaments like these. Three corks form the snowman's top, middle, and bottom; a colorful scarf and shiny top hat complete the look. Hang a few from your tree, or use them as gift tags on bottles of wine for family and friends.
RELATED: New Things to Do with Old Wine Corks
A Glass Menagerie
Turn an ordinary child's toy into a "glass" collectible! After being treated to several light coats of Krylon Looking Glass Mirror-Like Paint, this plastic polar bear appears to be made of delicate mercury glass. Before painting, add a small screw eye to the toy to hold decorative ribbon for hanging. Learn more at Create Craft Love.
With the exception of some strategically placed glue, this miniature sled is made entirely of popsicle sticks. Stability comes from a couple of sticks that are broken in half and glued crosswise to the bottom. After you apply a coat of cheery red paint, lightly sand your sled to give it a naturally weathered look.
Now, this is recycling! These beer can ornaments have been carefully cut and folded along the edges to avoid sharp areas. To hang, stamp with a mini hole puncher and thread with some string or ribbon.
Why make just one when you can make Santa's entire fleet of reindeer in a snap? The materials for this kid-friendly craft are easy to find: bottle caps, goggly eyes, red buttons, a few twigs, and ribbon. All you need to pull it all together is glue.
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