I have a ‘secret’ hobby – one that my family knows about but most of my friends don’t…I absolutely love arts and crafts. I have a trunk of supplies which range from paint to fabric to embellishments to wool. I love to crochet and cross-stitch and I love painting. I have a number of things around my home which I’ve made and which people often comment on, and I really enjoy making things for other people. Seeing the joy of someone receiving a gift that was hand-made just for them is also so much better than giving shop bought presents and in previous years I’ve made a real effort to make as many of my Christmas gifts as time allows.
This year has been really last-minute though. We only finished lectures a week ago and I’ve still had an assignment and exams to think about as well as my non-uni job. So in this post, I’m going to show you 3 simple Christmas crafts – actually it’ll be 2 crafts and a recipe – which don’t take much time or money but are still really lovely.
Gift Tags – even if you’ve bought presents, it doesn’t take much to make your own tags which are really effective yet inexpensive.
- card – an empty cereal box would be perfect for this (I use plain white card as I have a pack already for printing)
- brown luggage tags – £1.99 for 10 or £4.99 for 100 (I buy these from Rymans but you can get them from the Post Office and from other stationers)
- white glue – £0.99 (any white glue would probably work but I use white craft glue as its quite thick)
- acrylic paints – approx £3 (I buy paints from The Works as its always so cheap)
- sponge – £0.05 (I used one from a pack of Tesco value kitchen sponges I had)
- scissors, masking tape, tray/plate to put paints onto
How to make:
- print or draw your designs onto the card
- cut out the design to make your stencil
- paste glue around the edges you’ve cut out – do this on both sides on the card (this stops the card getting too soggy from the paint so it’ll last longer and you can use the stencil for quite a few tags)
- once the glue has dried, test your stencils on spare card or paper (just to give you an idea of how much paint to put on the sponge, how hard to dab etc)
- then put the stencil over the luggage tag, dip the sponge in your chosen paint colour and dab lightly over your stencil building up the colour on the tag (brown luggage tags have a rougher side and a shinier side – stencil onto the rougher side as the paint dries better)
- let them dry before turning over to write on the other side!
Christmas Cards – I don’t like buying cards as I find them quite impersonal and often pretty expensive. Making your own saves money, shows effort and care, and makes use of scrap paper.
- blank cards and envelopes (I get mine from Hobbycraft but most stationers stock them too)
- scissors, glue, tape
- scrap paper, old Xmas cards, magazines, coloured paper/card, anything else you want to add
How to make:
- totally up to you with these – cut and glue to your heart’s content
- maybe go with a theme – snowflakes or vintage Christmas scenes or red and green
Gingerbread – I love baking and you can get a nice biscuit tin or clear cellophane bags to put these in as gifts.
- 350g plain flour
- 175g light brown soft sugar
- 100g butter
- 1 egg
- 4 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tsp mixed spice (I love using mixed spice rather than just ground ginger – it really tastes like Christmas!)
How to make:
- pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C
- mix flour, butter, mixed spice and bicarbonate of soda with your fingertips under mixture becomes crumbly
- add sugar, syrup and egg and mix into a dough
- roll out to 5mm thick and cut out shapes (use Christmas themed cutters – most big supermarkets will have some at this time of year)
- bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and still a little soft in the middle (these gives them the perfect combined texture of crunchy and soft once they cool down)
Merry Christmas everyone!