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DIY holiday décor: One-of-a-kind crafts, on a budget

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    DIY projects can be as simple as wrapping a roll of ribbon around the tree instead of garland or tinsel; framing a chalkboard to create your own customized holiday art; or spray painting the cheap plastic pot that comes with store-bought poinsettias to match your home’s color scheme.

Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 1:00 pm

Editor’s Note: After running a story about master DIY blogger Carrie Waller this summer, we couldn’t resist asking her to start contributing to The Burg. This is a monthly feature highlighting various do-it-yourself projects you can try at home. See box below for links to past stories and her blog, Dream Green DIY.

Holiday décor shouldn’t have to fall by the wayside because of time or budget constraints.

I’m on a mission this season — a mission to share the glad tidings of do-it-yourself Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa) décor.

No longer do you need countless hours and a bottomless budget. As with most things in life, it really just takes a bit of planning to make the most of those little stolen moments leading up to the big day.

This year, for example, I decided ahead of time to tackle four projects in particular: decorative paper trees, patterned tape wall art, hand dipped ornaments and a DIY holiday card display.

Even with our standard budget of next-to-nothing, I’m excited to report that each went off without a hitch, and our inventory now boasts holiday themed décor that can be used for years to come.

Not a single project took me more than 30 minutes to complete, so you could try tackling one or two an evening, or simply knock them all out this weekend. You could even invite your friends over to make a night out of holiday crafting.

Other DIY projects can be as simple as wrapping a roll of ribbon around the tree instead of garland or tinsel; framing a chalkboard to create your own customized holiday art; or spray painting the cheap plastic pot that comes with store-bought poinsettias to match your home’s color scheme.

All in all, seasonal décor doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Throw on your favorite Christmas tunes, slip on a pair of fuzzy socks and before you know it, your living room will be filled with one-of-a-kind crafts.

Framed kraft paper and patterned tape tree art


Frame with glass

Kraft paper

Washi tape in various patterns

Mini ornaments

Fishing line


Hammer and nail


1. Cut the kraft paper to fit the inside of your frame.

2. Cut a piece of washi tape to fit the width of the bottom edge of the kraft paper, leaving about four inches of room on either side.

3. To create the triangular tree shape, cut another piece of washi tape in a different pattern about an inch shorter on each end. Repeat this process using different patterns in shorter lengths until you get to the top of the kraft paper. Try tilting each piece of tape to give the tree an energetic, whimsical feel.

4. Place the kraft paper inside the frame, behind glass.

5. Next, add loops of clear fishing line to each mini ornament and slip a piece of cut washi tape through the loop. Leave a portion of the tape exposed and use that to attach to the glass, placing strategically on top of the tree silhouette.

6. Hang on the wall using a hammer and nail.

Paper hat tabletop trees


Paper party hats

Wrapping paper



Rubber cement


1. Remove one of the party hats from the stack and open it up, laying it flat on top of the wrapping paper.

2. Using the pen, trace the shape of the open hat onto the wrapping paper and cut out using a pair of scissors.

3. Cover the underside of the cut wrapping paper with rubber cement. Don’t worry if you get the rubber cement on the clean side — this type of adhesive is easy to rub off once dry (just avoid getting it on your clothes or other fabric surfaces!).

4. Grab one of the intact hats and gently lay the cut wrapping paper shape on top, sticky side down.

5. Smooth out the bubbles with your fingertips, and trim any of the exposed party hat from the bottom with scissors.

6. Set aside to dry for 20 minutes and repeat on the remaining hats using different patterned wrapping paper, if desired. Try cutting an inch off the bottom of one or two hats so that the heights vary when displayed on a tabletop.

Hand dipped ornaments


Round ornaments (I swear by shatterproof if you’re looking to upgrade)

Gold acrylic paint

A small glass dish or bowl

Wire ornament hooks


1. Fill the glass dish or bowl about ¾ of the way with gold acrylic paint, and then add about 3 to 4 tablespoons of water. Use a spoon to completely incorporate the two ingredients — the consistency should be something like melted ice cream. Runny in this case is good.

2. Add the wire hook to the ornament and dip into the gold paint about halfway up the side of the ornament. Carefully remove from the paint and let the excess drip off.

3. Hang the wet ornaments as you go to the underside of a wire shelf, setting a piece of paper towel beneath to catch the drips. If you don’t happen to have a wire shelf handy, you could loop the ornaments on a plastic hanger hung in an inconspicuous area.

4. The ornaments will take about a full 24 hours to dry since the paint will be pretty thick. Once that time is up, though, you can add them right to the tree.

DIY holiday card display


Old window with the glass removed

Chicken wire

Staple gun and staples

Wooden clothespins

Holiday cards

Hammer and nail


1. Cut a piece of chicken wire to fit the inside of the old window, and attach to the backside using a staple gun and staples.

2. Hang from a nail on the wall and use wooden clothespins to display all of the holiday cards that have probably already begun to arrive. It’s as simple as that!

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