It’s easy to spend a fortune on Christmas house decorations during the holiday season. Don’t buy decorations this year — save money and DIY them instead. Simple, affordable decorating ideas can be just as effective as costly store-bought holiday gadgets.
Fireplace mantels are the perfect place to showcase handmade Christmas house decorations.
Start with a wire wreath frame, which you can find at hobby and craft stores. Get a string of large bulb lights and weave them through the frame. Bulbs don’t have to be evenly spaced or even stuffed inside neatly; a little sloppiness actually makes this DIY project look more festive. When plugged in, the lights will brighten up any fireplace. To make the design even more interesting, replace the clear bulbs with lights in different colors.
False Ceramic Vase
Splurge on a few real ceramic vases from the home store and you may not have much money left for gifts. The better option? Make your own vase.
Get a plain glass vase (or a large drinking glass), a tube of silicone sealant, frosted spray paint and white spray paint. Clean the glass inside and out. Using the silicone, draw a design on the glass to make it look like tree bark. Correct mistakes with a cotton ball as you work. The good thing about this DIY is that it should be a little imperfect to make it look even more like natural tree bark.
After the entire outside of the glass is decorated, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. Once it’s fully dry, cover the decorated glass with frosted spray paint. Allow this to dry for at least two hours before applying the white spray paint. Once the white paint has dried, you’ll have an inexpensive faux ceramic vase. Fill it with twigs, berries, feathers and winter flowers.
If You Build It…
A single sheet of 1/2-inch plywood can be transformed into a variety of holiday DIY decorations. If you have a jigsaw, a printer and some tracing paper, you’ve already got everything you need for this project.
Find pictures or stencils online of classic Christmas characters. Snowmen, Santa Claus and religious characters are all very easy to find online. Download the images you like. Resize them using imaging software and print them out on tracing paper. For large images, it may be easier to purchase stencils at a craft or hobby shop. This DIY allows you to add any character to your Christmas house design.
Lay the tracing paper out flat and even on the sheet of plywood. Make sure it’s positioned perfectly before you trace the image directly onto the wood. Using a jigsaw, carefully follow the lines to cut out the image. Only the outline is important, but you can get more intricate with your cuts if you wish.
Once the wooden figures are cut out, they can be painted. Cover them with black to turn them into silhouettes. If you’re more artistic, use a full-color palette to paint the wooden figures and make them as lifelike as possible. Use the remaining plywood to cut out small triangles. Use these on the back of the figures, at the bottom, to provide support. Attach the triangles with standard L-braces or angle braces. With the supports attached, the figures can be stood up inside or outside.
Cutting your own plywood figures is more affordable that purchasing those big, expensive nativity scenes — and you have the added advantage of customization. Maybe instead of a wise man, Santa Claus will bring gifts to the baby in the manger. Or, you can even build Santa with his sleigh and reindeer (though you will want to get more plywood if you plan to make eight reindeer).
You don’t have to be a great artist to create great-looking decorations this holiday season. Use elbow grease (and your tool box) to craft your own Christmas — and make something more personal and meaningful than what you might find in a store.