Craft Corner - All About Christmas
Here at YTC, it is never too early for the C word. That’s right…CHRISTMAS. We love everything about the festive season, whether it’s finding the perfect gift for loved ones or decorating your house with Christmas spirit. Every family has different Christmas traditions, which I think makes Christmas so special. This year, we have a new tradition for you to introduce to your family, crafting! You could even make something to gift as a present, a handmade present is so much better as you can see that person has spent their time and effort in making something that they know you will like. We have lots of ideas for you to make by yourself, with a partner or with children.
As always, anything that is underlined is a link to the product so you can click the link and add things to your basket as you go along.
Polystyrene cone forest
These polystyrene cones make the best base for a Christmas tree. They are so versatile to decorate aswell. We have chosen to wrap different things around them, but you could paint them, cover them in layers of Christmas fabric or ribbons (in store only), you could cut bits of Christmas paperchain paper up and fold them onto the cone and attach them by gluing them or pinning them, cut bits of felt squares and make petals/ leaves or make some tiny green pompoms and cover the cone with them and then add coloured pompoms for baubles. To make your own forest of trees, you will need polystyrene cones, I used one is each size, double sided tape, something to wrap around them, I used jute string, bakers twine and wool and decorations, I used mini pompoms, gem stickers and dried fruit.
Start by sticking on the double-sided tape. I went around the bottom of the cone first in little sections, half on the cone and half on the base. I then stuck strips going up the cone so whatever I am wrapping around the cone will stick as I go up. When all the tape is stuck on and the backing is peeled off (I did this is in sections for the bigger size cones, so it was still sticky), I got the bakers twine (this process is the same for anything you are wrapping around) and stuck it on the base of the polystyrene cone. This is so when you start to wrap it around the cone, you are starting right on the bottom of the cone, and you don’t have a gap. Continue wrapping the twine around the cone, trying not to leave a gap as you move up the cone. Once you get to the top, cut your length off from the roll and glue the top of the cone and wrap the twine all the way to the top so it is all covered. Once the cone is all covered, you can start to decorate them. I have chosen to make 3 different, but complimentary, styles.
On the bakers’ twine tree, I have used some red gem stickers. These come in self-adhesive strips, I have broken them apart to use as individual berries or baubles, but you could keep them in the strip to stick on like tinsel.
On the jute tree, I have used mini pompoms. I finished it off by using a star anise to go on top of the tree. I picked green so it would match the green from the bakers’ twine. You could use multi coloured pompoms instead or a mini light garland would look good with the different colours.
For the wool tree, I have used dried fruit. I think the fruit works well as it is quite subtle, and I didn’t want to use something that would distract from the flecks in the wool too much. You could leave this one plain if you wanted. I have attached them to the cone with pins. With the pieces of fruit been larger, attaching them with pins made it easier when deciding where to place them, in case I wanted to move them around. Once they are decorated, all you need to do is decide where you are going to display them! the wonderful thing about these trees is that you could wrap anything around them, you could use different shades of green wool or white wool for a snow covered tree. I found using a chunky wool was easier as it wrapped around quicker.
This garland is perfect for any sprout lovers, and it is super easy to make. All you need is some wool, googly eyes, pompom maker, felt squares and something to hang them on, I have used bakers twine. Start by making your pompoms. To do this, I have used pompom makers. I find using these the easiest way of creating full pompoms. If you have never used them before, they have instructions on the back of the packaging. Make however many you need for your garland, I have used 2 different shades of green. Once you have made all your pompoms, you can make the accessories. I have made some Christmas cracker hats out of a felt square. I did this by cutting strips out of a red felt square and gluing each end together to make a circle. I then glued it onto the top of the lighter coloured sprout. I then glued googly eyes on to make a face. I love the way the eyes are stuck onto the wool as each sprout is different and has its own personality. To thread them onto the bakers’ twine, I used a needle and pushed it through the middle of the sprouts and spaced them out along the thread. And that’s it, if you didn’t want to make a garland out of sprouts you could make a hanger for them to go on the tree.
These pinecone trees would make a perfect decoration on your Christmas tree or you could use them as a name card holder for your Christmas table. All you need is some pinecones, glue and decorations. We have used mini pompoms (multi-coloured pack is only available in YTC stores), string lights and wooden slices. Start by gluing your decorations onto the pinecone. We have glued the pompom onto the pinecone but the lightbulb garland is just wrapped around. You could also twist some double ended berries around the pinecone. These come in 3 different colours, red, white and gold.
Next you need to decide how you are going to display them. if you wanted to hang them on your tree, you will need to glue a hanger onto the bottom of the pinecone. For this, you could use thread, wool, jute, bakers’ twine. You could even glue a double ended berry stem to the bottom of the pinecone and twist it around your branch. If you are going to do this, I would use a glue gun to make sure it is secure.
If you are wanting to use them as name card holders, you can glue it again a wooden slice, to make them more secure so when you place something against them, they don’t fall over.
This decoration is so versatile. You could either add decorations onto it, use it as a Christmas card holder or simply add some lights to it, like we have. To make this beautiful tree, all you need is some twigs, jute string and decorations. We have used some wire string lights. To start, you will need to go on a winter walk and find some fallen twigs. It doesn’t matter if they are all the wrong size, you can trim them down to the correct one when you get them home. If they are wet, its best to let them dry for a few days. Once they are dry, start to lay them out in out in a tree shape and then you can gauge which twigs need trimming down. Once you are happy with the shape of your tree, you can start to tie them together. We have used natural jute to give it a more rustic look. We started at the bottom on one side and have gone upwards and when we got to the top, we have left a bit at the top to make a hanger and then tied it to the top twig and carried on moving down the tree until all the twigs are tied together. Next you can decide how you are going to decorate it. We have just simply wrapped some lights around the outside of the twigs so you can see the shape when it is lit up.
You could wrap them around each twig in the middle so you can see each part of the tree. You could add some decorations to the twigs, like berry picks, poinsettias, dried fruit or cinnamon sticks to give your room a lovely Christmassy smell. You could even make some decorations to display on it (ideas coming next) or make some little pouches and use it as a refillable advent calendar.
Felt square decorations
We love felt squares. You can make a decoration out of them for every theme and occasion. Whatever you want to make can be easily adapted for beginners or experts. You can stuff them or just double side them. You can add a hanger onto them so they can hang on your tree. To make these felt square decorations, you need felt squares, scissors, thread, toy filling and decorations. We have used buttons, beads, sequins and ribbon. The beads, sequins and ribbon are available in our YTC stores only. Just head to our habby departments. Start off by cutting out your base shape. To use the stocking as an example, the base shape would be the red stocking. You need 2 of these shapes, one for the front and one for the back. Next cut out your extra pieces. So for the stocking, these would be the white trims and the green holly leaves. We have only decorated the front of our decorations but you could do both sides. Once you have got your felt cut out, lay them out how you want your decoration to look and then when you are happy with the look, stitch them together. This could be by machine or hand. We have used different methods of stitching by hand*. If you are stuffing them with toy filling, make sure you leave a gap for the stuffing to go, then completely stitch the shape together. If you are added any decoration onto the front of the shape (like the gingerbread house, owl and gingerbread man) make sure you do this before you stitch both sides together. Things like the sequins, buttons, ribbon, wings and holly can be added after they have been stitched together. Then you can add a hanger, if you want to use them as a hanging decoration or you could create a garland. There are lots of different ideas you could do, Christmas puddings, Christmas dinner garland, with a turkey, pigs in blankets and all the veg, lights, robins, presents, Christmas hat, candy canes, happy Christmas letters and loads more. Instead of stuffing them, you could stitch them together and leave a gap at the top to create a refillable advent calendar.
*The easiest stitch to do is the running stitch. To start make sure your 2 sides of felt are together and in the position you would like. Take your needle (make sure your thread is through the needle and is knotted at the end) and pull through the felt at the bottom at the back of one side of felt, so the knot is hidden, pull the thread all the way through and then push back down through both sides of felt. Leave a small gap and pull through the needle and repeat the process.
The next stitch we have done is the over stitch. This is very similar to the running stitch but instead of stitching side to side, you are stitching over the top. Make sure you keep moving your needle around the shape as you repeat the stitches.
The last stitch we have done, which is the most difficult, is the blanket stitch. Again, make sure you have both sides of you felt together and in position. Start by pulling you thread through one side of the felt, so the knot is hidden, then push the needle through the back of both pieces of felt (it will look a bit like the over stitch at this point). Pull the needle through the loop of the over stitch. That is called your starter stitch. Next leave a gap and push the needle through the front of both pieces of felt and loop over the thread so that it creates a line along the join of the felt. Repeat the process again, always pushing the needle through the front of the felt.
These decorations are perfect for someone who loves the more minimalistic Christmas decorations. Both decorations are made using macrame wool but in different ways.
To make the tree start by cutting a 40cm length of macrame wool. This will make the middle of your tree. Then cut some 15cm lengths to make the branches. Fold the longer length in half. Leave a loop at the top to create a hanger and then tie a knot. Next take one of the shorter lengths, fold it in half and place it under the long length for the middle, so the loop is pointing to the right. Take another shorter length, fold it in half and then place it under the long length so the loop is pointing to the left. Then you want to slot the end through the loops and pull so that it knots on the longer middle piece. Repeat that step underneath but on this one you want the loops facing the other way around. You want to keep alternating which way around the loops are. Keep going until you only have a little bit left at the bottom for a trunk. Now you need to decide whether you are going to feather the threads out or if you want to leave them as they are. If you want to feather them out, I just used a fork but you can use a comb aswell. After this is done, you need to trim the ends into a tree shape. And that’s it. this tree is a super simple and really effective decoration.
This is probably my favourite decoration we have made. How adorable is this little gonk! All you need to make your new friend is macrame wool, wooden bead ball, wool, pompom and double sided tape. Start by making the hat. I have used an empty toilet roll tube for the brim of the hat. I cut it into about a 2cm strip. Cut some 30cm lengths of wool. Once you think you have enough, take a length, fold it in half, thread it through the tube and loop it around. Repeat this step until the whole tube is covered. Then push all the ends through the tube so the tube makes the fold up of a woolly hat. Gather the ends at together and tie a knot around them so it makes the body of the hat and then trim the ends to make the pompom. Next take your wooden ball and some small strips of double-sided tape and place then around the middle of the ball. Repeat this step but slightly lower down. This is so the gonks beard is nice and full. Then cut some lengths of macrame wool and pull the strands apart so you get individual strands of hair. Next I peeled one of the small lower sections of double-sided tape off and started to stick the macrame wool onto it to create the beard. I folded the strands in half so that it gave a fuller finish. Once the lower level of tape was full, I started on the top layer of tape and did the same thing, peeled off a small section at a time so the tape stayed sticky. When all the tape is covered, you can slide the hat on. It should slide on quite tight so you shouldn’t need to glue it on. It will stick to the tape aswell. Once you are happy with the position of the hat, you could trim the beard, if you feel you need to. I have done the front a little shorter than the back. Lastly, glue a little pompom on for a nose. Depending on what you want to use your gonk for, you can leave it like this or add a hanger. I have threaded a small length of bakers twine through the middle of the hat.
We hope you enjoy making these decorations as much as we have enjoyed making them. Have a very happy Christmas. Don’t forget, we would love to see anything you have made using products bought from our YTC stores or website. Don’t forget to tag us in them on Instagram.