Decorations Post

There's something about Christmas that just makes you want to make stuff. And home-made stuff is great: it's way easier to recycle, it's more proactive than watching TV, and you can impress everyone you know with your mad arts and craft skills.

So we thought, why not do a How To with Christmas decorations? And in we went, bright eyed and enthusiastic, only to realise with crushing disappointment that what we'd actually made were more like a series of Pinterest fails than things we'd want to decorate our living rooms with.

Then we realised that most people who share their creations on the internet are arts and crafts geniuses; they have glue guns, spray paints, craft knives, wire cutters and many other things that most people just don't have lying around.

So we've taken the everyman's (or everywoman's) route and gone for decorations that are ridiculously simple. All you'll need is your imagination and a few bits and bobs that you can buy in the supermarket; not a glue gun in sight. Scroll on through to view our creations, and have heaps of fun making your own!

Jam Jar Lantern Post

You will need:

  • An old jam jar, preferably a small one so it's not too heavy
  • Some salt
  • String
  • Tealight candles

These are super easy and a great way to reuse old jars. To make the hanging part, cut a long piece of string and tie it round the neck of your jar, as tight as you can.

Jam Jar Lantern Post 2

Then loop the ends and tie them at the other side of the jar, and bring one end back around to your original knot. Thread the string through just next to the original knot, on either side depending on which has more space so your lantern will balance evenly.

Jam Jar Lantern Post 3
Jam JarLantern Post 4

Then knot both ends of the string together to finish off the lantern. Fill the jar with salt, or glitter, or anything that looks a bit like snow, then you can just light a candle and drop it into the jar.

Jam Jar Lantern Post 5

Wreath Post 3

You will need:

  • A wire coat hanger
  • A reel of cotton
  • Some sort of evergreen tree offcuts/twigs/ribbons/whatever else you can find to decorate your wreath

This is one of our favourites because you can get super creative, and it's pretty much impossible to get wrong!

Wreath Post

Firstly, take your coat hanger and bend it into a circular shape, then tie the ends together, or twist them around each other to keep the circle together.

Tie the end of your cotton reel around the wire, place your first lets say, sprig of pine where you want it to go, and fix it in place by winding the cotton around it. Place your next bit slightly down from the first bit and wrap that in place, too. Carry on like this, adding in a few twigs as you go until you've gone the whole way around.

Wreath Post 2

It's quite likely that once around with the cotton won't feel sturdy enough so go around again, and add more pine sprigs where your wreath looks a bit thin. You might need to go round with the cotton a few more times just to make sure it's really sturdy. Tie the cotton when you've finished and if you have some, add a bit of glue to keep it stuck together.

If you want to put some sort of decoration on your wreath, you can be super creative with ribbons, Christmas tree baubles, dried fruit (see number 5), pretty much anything you can find. We found some raffia string in a stationary shop to make this bow, and jazzed it up with baubles and ribbon.

Balloon Lantern Post 3

You will need:

  • some balloons
  • a freezer
  • a tap

These are perfect for decorating your garden or front porch, especially if you live somewhere really cold, and they're super simple.

Fill a balloon to about half capacity with water then pop it in the freezer (or outside if it's cold enough) and leave it in there for about 12 hours. The idea is that the outside freezes first, so you'll be left with a hollow shell.

Balloon Lantern Post

When your lanterns are ready, take them out of the freezer and remove the balloon. Poke a hole somewhere in your lantern and drain out the rest of the water, then just put it outside with a lit candle for the ultimate mood lighting.

Ballon Lantern Post 2
Paper Chains Post 3

You will need:

  • Coloured paper
  • Scissors
  • Glitter
  • A stapler
  • PVA glue/a glue stick

Paper chains are super easy to make, but ho ho ho are they time consuming. If you have a guillotine (which you will only have access to if you work in a school) this will make cutting your paper into strips much quicker and easier. If not, scissors will have to do. It's always a good idea to do a few test strips to check that they're the right length and fit together properly before going to crazy, we speak from experience.

Paper Chains Post

You can decorate your paper strips pretty much however you like, we've gone for glitter and this super cool snowflake confetti we found in the supermarket. If you have a whole day free, try doing some pinhole snowflakes for some really sophisticated looking ones. Snowflake templates are readily available on the internet and you can Blu-tac them to your paper strips and and then make pinholes along the lines of the template.

Paper Chains post 2

When you've finished your paper strips and waited the appropriate time for the glue to dry, shake off the excess glitter and use a stapler to fasten them into a chain for record completion time.

Orange Slice Post

You will need:

  • Oranges
  • An oven
  • Baking paper/foil (not essential)
  • Some string (optional)

These are by far the easiest thing on the list. All you need to do is slice some oranges so they're about 1cm thick (if they're too thick they will take ages to dry out), lay them on a baking tray and put them in the oven at about 65 degrees.

Leave them in there for about 4 hours, by which time they should have dried out and become shiny and hard.

Orange Slice Post 2

If you want to make Christmas tree decorations you can use a small knife to make a hole in the orange slices and thread a bit of string through. You can also leave them as they are and use them to decorate wreaths and garlands. Easy peasy!