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70 Days Till Christmas: 7 Secrets to Christmas Crafting, Part 2

Last Friday, with 77 days left until Christmas, I shared the the first four of my 7 secrets to Christmas crafting. As a craft editor, I know how to decorate for Christmas and create great homemade gifts at a fraction of the price as store-bought. Better yet, I know just how fun Christmas crafting can be, especially when done with friends and family. With a little organization, I can create everything I need for Christmas weeks ahead of time and, once Christmas rolls around, devote my full attention to enjoying my holiday. Don’t forget to check out Part 1 of this article, if you have not already. Here are the last three secrets of my 7 secrets Christmas crafting:

5. Use Natural Materials– Filling your home with lots of greens and reds for Christmas can become distastefully garish. Balance out some of the bright colors with natural materials, ideally collected from walks around your home.  Cover foam balls with dried seeds for display in a shallow bowl or create natural ornaments with the same technique. Use natural dried grapevine as the base for a wreath, garland or door  swag. Then add pops of color with real or crafted poinsettias, made out of craft foam, felt or crochet. You can also spell out holiday words such as “Joy” with craft foam or simply use painted brown bags. I also love the idea of using collected pine cones in your Christmas decorating. For spectacular outdoor decorations in colder climates, try making icicle luminaries by freezing holly berries, pine branches and lemon in water. You can also make an ice wreath with a bundt pan in this same way.

6. Bead Your Christmas Presents- Homemade jewelry makes for an impressive yet surprisingly easy-to-create Christmas present. Invest in a number of good-quality beads and make a number of small beaded projects, such as bracelets, cell phone charms, key-chains and pins. These smaller gifts are great for stocking stuffers, hostess gifts, gift exchanges and party favors. You can invest a bit more time in beaded jewelry gifts for close friends and family, with special techniques such as intricate beading, stamped metal, rolled paper beads or colorful friendly plastic pendants. Stamped metal offers great opportunities for personalization with your recipient’s name but you can also personalize with alphabet beads. If you are ambitious, you can try your hand at making glass beads with home kits using your microwave. Homemade fused glass is especially “hot” right now, excuse the pun.

7. Make Your Own Ornaments- Create a theme for your Christmas tree this year with a set of matching ornaments. Plain glass ornaments can be purchased inexpensively online (especially well before Christmas).  Paint the ornaments or dip in translucent dye. You can even remove the metal hardware and swirl paints on the inside of the glass ornament for an interesting marbeled look.  Throw an ornament-painting party with friends or family for a fun time and lasting memories to display on your tree. Alternatively, you can make a set of Christmas ornaments with foam balls, recycled Christmas cards, yarns or threads. A set of delicate stars crocheted in metallic thread would look fantastic on your tree. Coordinate your ornaments with the rest of your homemade Christmas decorations.

Happy Christmas Crafting!