Decorating the home is one of the most enjoyable tasks of Christmas preparations. But the cost can add up and put a strain on an already stretched budget.
However, with just a few cheap materials, which you may already have, you can create handmade decorations at a minimum cost and in very little time.
Make your own Christmas crackers using a sheet of coloured A4 paper, such as wrapping paper, and a cardboard cylinder from a kitchen roll.
Cut the cylinder into three parts (the middle one should be larger) and lay them on the paper, spaced evenly leaving a small gap between each. Glue a cracker snap (available from craft stores and large supermarkets) to the paper, then roll the paper around the cardboard and glue. Before tying the two outer sections with ribbon, pop in a tiny gift.
Stockings hung on the mantel or by the tree are a traditional sign that Santa’s on his way and are often treasured for years.
Make your own by downloading a pattern to follow, or cut out a shape on old paper, place it on a length of fabric or felt, and cut around it. (Felt doesn’t fray and is easy to stitch together).
Add a name to the stocking and decorate with ribbons, sequins, craft pens, paints and glue. While working on the stocking, slip a sheet of card inside so you don’t stick the two sides together by mistake!
Garland to go
A retro-style paperchain garland is fun and cheap to make. All you need is a left-over roll of patterned wallpaper – wallpaper shops often have cheap rolls which have been returned or are end-of-line ranges.
Cut the paper into strips and seal the end of each “link” with wallpaper paste or a stapler. Wrapping paper is often too thin to work properly – but brown paper from the post office is a rustic alternative.
Give old baubles a new lease of life by spray-painting them with acrylic paints in a new colour, then glue on ribbon bows as a finishing touch.
Eco-unfriendly light bulbs, which have blown out, can also be recycled into baubles. Clean with glass cleaner and spray with acrylic enamel paints or glass paints, using fishing wire for a loop. Check out detailed instructions on how to make your own baubles by searching online.
Bend a wire coat hanger into a circle, and cover with sheets of scrunched up newspaper to make a padded base. Glue or tie on decorations, such as ribbons, foliage, feathers or fir cones.