Lately, we’ve been sending you all over town in search of fun holiday activities, and you know what that means–photo opportunities! Today, we thought we’d show you a few quick crafts for transforming your holiday (or anytime) photos into fun cards and keepsakes for you and your loved ones.
Speaking of cards, you’re likely about to be swamped with season’s greetings. So we’ve got some clever ways to corral all that good cheer.
And we couldn’t stop there. When Mandy took a trip to Trader Joe’s and found a very special grocery bag (more on that later), we were inspired to create the last segment: Grocery Store Décor. Curious? We thought so. Read on and enjoy!
PART 1: Photo Cards & Crafts
Check out some of our favorite photo crafts. To duplicate your photos for these projects you can either order extra prints, print them at home on your own printer, or even make a copy with a regular ol’ copy machine.
For more information and instructions click on the pictures.
1. Bordered Holiday Photo Card
2. Pop-Up Card
3. Ornament Card
4. Photo Strip Card
5. Cookie Cutter Ornaments
6. Picture Block Ornaments
7. Photo Frame Ornaments
Here, Mandy took one photo craft for a test drive:
Now that you have your children’s picture with Santa, turn it into a fun holiday decoration or Christmas tree ornament. I picked up this mini picture frame from Michael’s, wrote the year on the matting, and added some festive ribbon with my handy dandy hot glue gun. Voilà – an easy picture ornament.
PART 2: Creative Ways to Display Holiday Cards
You know they’re coming. Get ready with some stylish options for stashing all those holiday wishes.
The wire card holder gets an upgrade with all sorts of seasonal shapes. Click on the photos for more information.
If you’re feeling crafty, you can also make your own version of a wire card holder. Follow these instructions from HGTV.com.
I took the idea for a test drive and came up with my own simple version. I used 16 gauge aluminum wire, and I found I could twist it with my hands and cut it with a scissors–no needle-nose pliers or wire cutter required.
I just used one long piece of wire, made a little loop on the top to hang it from, and then twisted my card-holding loops on alternating sides. The key is to make double loops on each side with the second loop slightly smaller so that it can fit inside the first loop. This will ensure that the wires will really “grab” your cards. Also, be sure to twist your loops front to back at least once. This will tighten the loops so your cards won’t slip out.
Here’s what it looked like when I finished. (I usually have a picture frame hanging on this wall, but for the holidays I took it down so I could slip my new card holder onto the picture hook.) A special thank you to my on-the-ball friends who have already sent me holiday cards. Without you, I would not have been able to display anything!
My only regret is that I should have made it much longer! Also, using a stiffer wire might have yielded tighter loops. I did have to fiddle with the loops a bit to get them to hold the cards properly.
Here’s another crafty card holder. Click on the photo for the instructions.
I decided to simplify this idea by making a “garland” instead of a wreath. I spray painted plain wooden clothespins, added some berry-colored beads from the craft store (both pins and beads are from JO-ANN). I used the leftover wire from my project above to string the clothespins and the beads, alternating the direction of the clothespins. Twist the wire into a loop on the top (for hanging) and on the bottom (so the beads/clothespins don’t slip off).
1. Put the clothespins flat on some newspaper to spray paint them. Once the three exposed sides dry, you can flip each pin over and paint the bottom. However, make sure you move the pins to a clean section of newspaper (or whatever you are using as a drop cloth) right after you paint them. Then let them dry there. Otherwise, they could end up sticking to the newspaper (which is also covered in paint). As it turns out, an unpainted clothespin makes a great tool for moving painted clothespins without getting paint all over your hands.
2. I bought some glitter spray paint too, thinking I would paint half the pins flat green, and half glitter green. The glitter spray paint was a disaster. At first it was runny, then it was clumpy. It was impossible to get a good coating on the pin. I was able to salvage some of the paint by using it over an existing coat of flat green paint to add a little sparkle, but it certainly was not worth the $8 can for that. If you are going for a glittery look, I would buy plain old glitter and sprinkle some over the flat green paint while it is still wet. Same look. Less mess.
While I was at the craft store, I also picked up some of these mini clothespins.
I painted a few of these green too thinking it would look neat to clip some holiday cards right to the garland I’ve got hanging on my mantel. You could use this idea with a wreath too. If you want to get really fancy, you could adorn the pins with faux berries or something sparkly.
I got the idea from our recent pine cone crafts post. I just coated the pine cones in gold spray paint, hot-glued them to ribbon and tied everything up with a bow. I think gold spray paint is the best decorating secret ever. You can cover just about anything in gold paint and it will look like a million bucks!
Want more craft ideas for card displays? Click on the photo below to see ideas from Family Fun Magazine.
If you’re looking for additional creative ways to display your holiday cards, click on the photo below to see more than a dozen great ideas from Better Homes & Gardens.
PART 3: Grocery Store Décor
Why not? It’s the one place you know you’re going to have to go. Try these festive projects.
1. Trader Joe’s Grocery Bag Garland:
Shop for some yummy treats, then turn your bag into a festive decoration. It even comes with directions! Below, Mandy walks you through step-by-step with her bag.
2. Tissue Box Sleigh Candy Holder (click on photo for directions):
3. Oatmeal Canister Vase:
It’s the ultimate blank canvas. You can cover it with just about anything! For a festive holiday centerpiece, I used, what else, wrapping paper! Try it with different sized canisters too. Of course, you can’t put water in a paperboard container, so you can slip in a skinny glass vase. If you can’t find a water-tight vase that will fit, you can soak floral foam in water, place it in a shallow tupperware container inside your canister vase, and use that to keep your flowers fresh. For my project, I actually found that my plain old kitchen glasses fit the bill perfectly.
Some tips for making canister vases:
1. Cut your paper to leave at least an inch above the top of the canister. Cut 5-6 vertical slits from the top of the paper to the top of the canister. Then you can easily fold the excess paper over the rim of the canister and secure it to the inside.
2. You can use any flower you want to, but inexpensive carnations look great in a big monochromatic bunch. To fill an oatmeal container, you will need about 20 to 24 stems. (I was short a few, which is why mine looks a little thin here.)
3. Try grouping a few different sized/differently adorned canister vases together for a cute display. Stylists always seem to suggest groups of three, so that should be a good place to start.
4. Don’t limit yourself to 2-D decorations. You can use beads, mini ornaments, jingle bells, buttons, bows, faux flowers, real leaves, tree bark, or pretty much anything you can attached with hot glue.
Check out this video from Live Well Network for some really chic ideas.
Do you have a favorite holiday craft? Tell us about it!
Next week we’ve got more holiday fun, including two FREE activities the whole family will enjoy.