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It’s Christmas crafts time! Yay!
I have always wanted to decorate a tree with all handmade ornaments. So this year I decided to do it with Aislynn. She loves Grandma-time and fun projects. Is there a better way to spend a snowy weekend afternoon? I think not.
I searched Pinterest and the interwebs for some of the best ideas for Christmas crafts and I was not disappointed. The hardest part was narrowing it down. There were so many cute ideas but I wanted things that were kid-friendly. I did the prep work the night before so everything had a chance to dry or cool down and was ready to go the next afternoon.
Oh my goodness, we had a blast! It even inspired a new catchphrase – “Everything is better with glitter!” We also got a big surprise with the first snowfall of the year. It was only supposed to flurry but it ended up snowing for most of the day. Between the snow and homemade hot cocoa, it was a perfect day for decorating the tree.
Kid Friendly Christmas Crafts and Ornaments
She enjoyed all of it but her favorite part was painting the clay ornaments. I found a recipe on Pinterest here. I liked this one better than the salt dough recipes I found because the color was white. The salt dough seemed to have more of a brown color. I thought the paint and accessories would show up better against a white background.
Homemade clay for ornaments
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup baking soda
- 3/4 cup water
Mix it all together in a medium-sized pan and cook until dough forms.
Once the dough is cool enough to handle, you can roll it out into any shape you’d like. I used regular cookie cutters and it worked out great.
I got about 24 ornaments out of a batch of dough so one batch was plenty for decorating. Don’t forget to make a hole at the top for hanging (I used a straw). Lay them out to dry overnight and voila! By the next day, they’ll have hardened and will be ready to paint!
Here’s some of her handiwork. As you can see, marshmallows were a popular design choice. Which was great until we hung them too low on the tree and the dog tried to eat them.
One of the other things I did the night before was to make the Borax snowflakes. I stumbled across a pin on this and thought it was cooler than the flip side of the pillow.
We have extra mason jars (always) and I had Borax already so I only needed to buy pipe cleaners. I’m more of a purist so I bought white pipe cleaners. But if you’re adventurous you could get any color you wanted. Or you can add food coloring to the water mixture for more colorful snowflakes.
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1/3 cup Borax laundry detergent booster
- Mason jars
- Pipe cleaners
- Popsicle sticks (or some other mechanism to suspend snowflakes from)
Form your snowflakes from the pipe cleaners. You can get as fancy or as simple as you like. Tie a piece of string or yarn to the top of the snowflake and the other end to a popsicle stick. (You can use anything for this as long as it fits across the top of the jar and you can hang your snowflake from it). Place your snowflake in the jar with your hanging mechanism across the top.
Add Borax to the boiling water and stir until completely dissolved. Pour mixture into jar making sure snowflake is completely covered and there’s space between it and the jar. Walk away.
By the next day, it will have cooled completely and the Borax will have formed crystals all around your pipe cleaner snowflake. Awesome! I felt like I was doing science and stuff. The best part is that if you reheat the mixture to boiling you can use it again for more snowflakes!
There wasn’t much decorating to do with these but Aislynn had fun hanging them on the tree. We tried to put them near a light so it was sparkly and happy.
Twine ball ornaments
I also made up the twine ball ornaments ahead of time because they needed to get really dry in order to hold their shape. There is a good tutorial on Pinterest here but I’ll give you a high-level overview.
- Jute or another type of twine
- Mod Podge (or the homemade variety using Elmer’s glue and water)
- Clothesline or area to hang while drying
Whether you’re using Mod Podge or Elmer’s, it’s the same ratio – 2 parts glue to one part water.
I ran out of Mod Podge and used Elmer’s glue the second time and it turned out just the same. I may stop using Mod Podge altogether now because Elmer’s is a lot cheaper!
Mix your glue and water in a large mixing bowl. Soak the twine in the mixture until fully saturated.
Blow up your balloon to a size bigger than what you want for the final product. Release enough air to get it to the size you want. You’ll end up with a shape that’s more round than balloon-shaped.
Start winding your twine around the balloon. Continue wrapping the twine around the balloon until it’s covered. If you’d like to add yarn or ribbon, now is the time to do it.
Hang the twine balls to dry. I’d suggest not hanging them without something beneath them because the excess glue will drip off. I strung an extra piece of twine between my kitchen cabinets and let them dry over the sink.
Once they’re completely dry, pop the balloon and remove it from inside the twine ball. They should hold their shape and are ready for decorating, although they’re cute just the way they are too.
Popsicle Stick Snowflakes
Finally, what Christmas crafts post would be complete without a mention of popsicle stick ornaments? I can’t believe I did this, but I bought a box of 1000 popsicle sticks from Joann. 1000!!! We’re set for the next fifty years of Christmas crafts and any other kind of crafts we want to do. Yikes!
- Popsicle sticks
- Glitter, paint, buttons, ribbons and anything else you can think of
- Start by gluing 2 popsicle sticks in a cross shape. Once dry, add 2 more sticks diagonally until you have 6 total sticks.
Once completely dry you can paint, add glitter, glue on buttons or ribbons (or marshmallows. We like marshmallows). Glue a piece of yarn or ribbon to the top of the snowflake and hang from the tree!
I forgot to take pictures of our popsicle stick snowflake while we were making them but you can see one on this shot of the tree below. How cute is that?
It was a great day and we had so much fun hanging out together. This might be my favorite tree ever. I smile every time I walk into the front room and see it. Kids love to get involved and so often want to “do” everything adults do. Other than the prep I did beforehand, she was able to take part in everything and she loved it!
I have to admit that one of my favorite things is when the house is all decorated and the lights are out except for the Christmas lights. *Sigh* Is there anything better?
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