Friday, November 20, 2020

10 Easy Christmas Crafts Inspiring Me This Week

I'm glad I'm not the only one gleefully shifting into holiday gear extra early for 2020; that means I get to post even MORE Christmas crafts and decorations than usual, right? [decisive nod] RIGHT.

So let's kick off Tinsel Time with a few of my favorite crafts from around the web: some old, some new, but all relatively easy DIYs that are just super clever and inspirational.

- Christmas Gnome TP Rolls:

When I first saw this picture on Pinterest I assumed it was a toilet paper cover, ala those crocheted doll covers from my youth. (Anyone else have those on the back of your toilet when you were a kid?) These gnomes are *almost* that; there IS a TP roll inside, but the felt & yarn is glued right to the roll. I bet it wouldn't be hard to modify this so you can take the roll *out* again, though!

- Oversized Ornaments From Glass Globes:

I love oversized decor, and you could do so much with these! If your globe is clear you could add a little winter scene inside, or glue a silhouette to the front and back it with color-changing LEDs, oooOOoh.

These globes cost less than $10 at your local hardware store, but I bet a lot of you already have one stashed in the garage.

- Candy Cane Easels:

The easiest DIY ever, but also so cute and functional! Most of us won't be needing name cards this year, of course, but this would be a great way to display favorite greeting cards or little art prints. Tiny easels cost at least a dollar each at the store, so I love using something you probably already have.

- Plastic Wine Glass Bell Jars:

(by My So Called Crafty Life)

This would be a perfect Dollar Tree craft: right now they have all the miniatures, fake snow, and wine glasses you'd need! I love the retro feel, so homey and sweet.

- Fish Bowl Snowman Display:

(By Crafty Morning)

Obviously the hardest part here is finding the three matching bowls - but happily the 2-bowl version looks just as cute, if not a little cuter:

The scarf really makes it, too. LOVE.

- Bamboo Skewer Paper Trees:

(By Lyckoslanten)

I've seen small wood slices like that at Dollar Tree, and then all you need are bamboo skewers from the grocery store and pretty scrapbook or wrapping paper!

Here's a more modern example from Curbly:

 I've seen dollar store crafters hot-glue two Jenga blocks (or "tumbling blocks" as they're called at Dollar Tree) together to form little wood stands like that. Super low cost, and no sawing required.

- Tissue Paper Stained Glass

(via Flickr)

I think we've all done small versions of this in grade school, but LOOK how dramatic it is on a large scale!! No tutorial on this one, but the description says it was decoupaged onto clear plexi, so clever.

- Mickey & Minnie Snowmice:

(By Disney Is My Love Language. No tutorial, but from her photos it looks like she cut up a knit stocking to make the larger accessories.)

I've been in love with Tokyo Disneyland's snow characters since they first came out a few years ago, so I'm excited to see them trickling over here to the States this year, along with the gingerbread line. I'd always rather DIY, though, so these cuties are high on my list!

I'm also thinking we could cut the gingerbread styles from cardboard, and use caulking for the "icing."

This set is from Shop Disney - but we could totally DIY these, right?

Here's another version of a snow Mickey, still looking for the original source:

From what I remember when making our paper topiary tree, Styrofoam balls this big are pretty expensive - at least $10 each.  ... So I guess we better start saving up.  :D

Since I don't have kids I tend to shy away from kid crafts, but this one has seriously cute potential:

The secret is using a clear plastic plate to form the shallow "globe" for the shaker. You could use photos like this, of course, or imagine layering some cute Christmas cards inside!

Click here to watch the tutorial video, since I can't figure out how to embed it from Pinterest. Then grab the free template here on the It's Always Autumn site.

- Oversized Paper Holly Garland

Once again I'm loving all things oversized and cartoony, so this is pure eye candy for me.

Amber also has a separate post for downloading her free (after sign-up) templates for that print-and-cut retro ornament garland, another super cute craft.

I will say that holly garland is more labor-intensive than I expected, so here's an easier version if you need a lot of it:

(By The House That Lars Built)

She uses twisted painter's paper to make the structure under the leaves instead of floral wire, and of course the leaves are only a single layer instead of double with cut-outs.

John and I have 3 trees up so far, but no decorations: even the trees only have their lights on. Honestly I'm loving the simplicity of our bare twinkling tree and our colorful fluffy white one, so I think I might keep the tree decorations to a minimum this year.

With a view like this, who needs ornaments?

Ahhh, and check out our new bedroom tree:

This is the first time John and I've put a tree in our bedroom, and let me tell ya: falling asleep by the light of this dreamy tree-shaped cloud feels like bottled Hallmark channel. We're both so enchanted it's ridiculous, makes us smile every time we enter the room. (This is a Walmart tree we got last January for $20, btw, which makes it that much sweeter.)

This little bitty is pretty boring at the moment; needs more twinkle & decorations for sure.

(For everyone asking about my new Sarah pillow: it's by Belizabeth Guerrero, and I loooooove it.)

We're hoping to squeeze in one more 6-foot tree in our dining room, but this one will have a fun twist. Literally. Stay tuned to see if our crafty experiments work.

Since our holiday parties the last few years have been so over-the-top, I'm actually looking forward to a quiet season with no expectations. Just me, John, the cats, and whatever we feel like making or decorating with. That's a nice little respite in what's usually a fun-but-stressful time.

Many of you know I've been knocked out this past week with unusual weakness and fatigue, but happily I'm finally getting my old strength back. (We're pretty sure it was all migraines, allergies, & overwork, but we've isolated extra hard anyway, just in case. ) Thank you for the deluge of well-wishes, they helped me while away all those hours on the couch. :)

I hope you're finding rest for yourself through this season, too. Give yourself a lot of grace as 2020 winds down, and remember you really *don't* have to do it all. Survival is enough. Breathing and eating and remembering your meds is enough. Everything else is gravy, so go snuggle your pets and/or housemates and look at some twinkle lights. It helps, I promise.



P.S. If you're looking for more Christmas crafts, check out my Tutorials page

I especially recommend my DIY tree flocking: heavily snowed trees are all the rage this year, so it's an easy upgrade that only looks expensive. I used the same technique on our big tree here; the flocking cost less than $10, looks more realistic, has lasted for nine years now, and doesn't shed AT ALL. So before you spend $40 or more on a messy fake snow kit, go check out that tutorial!


  1. For anyone interested, the Walmart tree is currently $39 and comes in five different color options.

    1. I got it in blue, and it is stunning! I've never had a fantasy tree before (as opposed to a realistic tree), and I'm amazed at how much I love it.


    This should be the link. Finally, being Swedish payed off! 😅

    Thanks for all the inspiration, it was very needed today.

  3. The white tree with the pastel lights for your bedroom looks very pretty. Good to know you're starting to feel better, Jen. Do you know [or does anyone here] know of easy Hanukkah crafts? The last one I know of was making a menorah out of homemade clay in Hebrew school. [I made a pink heart, little rebel that I was.]

    1. Aww, now I want to see your pink heart menorah! When I was a kid we had a beautiful electric menorah that was handmade by an artist from clear acrylic, and each light was a different color. I haven't thought about that in YEARS, I'm so glad your comment reminded me - happy memories. :)

      To your question, I haven't seen many Hanukkah crafts in my wanderings, but I'm going to look for some now!

    2. Sadly after many years of use, it broke. :( But that electric menorah sounds cool! Thanks for keeping an eye out. :)

  4. I've done faux cookie ornaments before with some polymer clay! Textured it with a toothbrush, and used puff paint for icing after it was baked.

    Also omg love all the oversized paper projects! So whimsical and fun.

  5. I am sharing that oversized paper garland with the library fam! We are trying to do special window displays until we are allowed to get back with our community. So cute!

  6. The gingerbread Disney ornaments would be fun to make with cinnamon dough- and it smells so good!

  7. Back when my kids were in kindergarten (and IN school), we made the snow globes! I cut the base and circles out with my Silhouette cutter which made it super easy. We took pics of the kids with winter gear on and gave it to their parents for the holidays. Super fun and super cute!

  8. I bet wine corks would work well for the base of the skewer trees too.

  9. Speaking of trees and cats... We've got a kitten in the house for the first time in 18 years. Any best practices to keep the little bugger out of the tree? Yes, I've seen the 'You hang shiny dangly things on a huge scratching post and then yell at me not to touch it' memes, but I'm hoping for a miracle... :-D

    1. My best advice is to ditch the tree skirt - which we've always found to be a cat magnet - and put your tree in either a large pot or build a box around it instead. That keeps the kitties from getting directly underneath (and then scaling the trunk) and also makes it harder to bat at the lower branches.

    2. This won't keep your little flerken out of the tree, but I highly recommend wiring it to a nearby window or door frame. We used very fine wire tied near the top of the tree, so it was nearly invisible, and thumbtacks in the top of the nearest window frame (easier if your tree is near a door or window), in a V shape (2 wires coming out from tree for stability). That way, when the dog wagged her big tail near the tree, or the cat decided to play hide & seek, the tree might jiggle a little but would not fall over. Also, our tree was small enough (5') that we put it up on top of a milk crate and put the tree skirt over that. That helped elevate the lower branches to make them a little less tempting, and also- bonus!- made it look like we had a bigger tree.

  10. I think you could just glue the yarn to the inside of the gnome caps. That's what I'd do.

    Might be fun to do this with those paper mache wine bottle boxes or jars, too, and glue everything to the lids.

  11. I've now made at least 2 dozen of the paper trees, and it's the best holiday craft ever! I sent 6 to my Mom (with the bases not glued on, they don't need it, and ship flatter that way), in hopes of cheering her up & making it very easy to add a festive touch without dragging out all her holiday decorations. I've also made 6 for a cousin how loves mid-century decor, out of appropriately mid-cen funky paper. It only takes me about 5 minutes or less to make a tree from start to finish (including sometimes painting the skewer to match the paper), and it's easy to cut & fold trees while watching tv. I've got a bunch now on bookshelves behind my actual Christmas tree (which is the blue version of Jen's tree!), and it has finally gotten me in the holiday spirit. I got the birch slab bases for 50% off at JoAnn's (so $2.50 for 24 of them), and discovered that those little paper cups for putting homemade candy in work great as mini tree skirts. Thanks so much for sharing this super easy & wonderfully customizable craft.


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