Christmas Craft Resources, from Family Christmas OnlineTM
The tradition of making decorations and gifts for Christmas is much older than the "tradition" of shopping for them. This page is designed to help you think about, plan, and complete projects that will brighten your holidays, and the holidays of anyone you share them with. In a way, many of the resources we will be presenting on this page are our Christmas gifts to you - such as the free, downloadable craft supplies and plans that "real people" can use to complete worthwhile projects with a minimum of expense or trips to the store. Our hope is that our resources and ideas (and our and links to other people's resources and ideas) will both lighten your load and also help you help someone else enjoy their Christmas.
At the moment this resource may seem a little small, since I prefer to present resources and ideas that we've actually used, or seen in use, and since we don't want to accidentally borrow anyone else's creative work without permission. You may be surprised at how hard it is to come up with a craft idea that 300 other people haven't already published on the internet. In most cases, the hard part isn't having access to ideas; it's having access to ideas that are worth trying, are well-explained, and aren't "dated" by the time they are posted. When we find that kind of idea, we "vet" the link for eventual inclusion in our list of links. But in the meantime, we will be trying mostly to develop original resources that you can use for a wide range of projects, not only this year, but also next year and the year after.
Our focus includes:
- Original downloadable resources you can print off and use in your own crafts. These include the Craft Wrapping Paper" paper page described below.
- Original projects that are practical, worthwhile, and not already published 300 other places. One example is the "Building a Glitterhouse" article described below.
- Links to other useful articles and to useful craft projects, both on our pages and elsewhere. We plan to keep adding to this list at the same time we're working on our own new articles, so stay tuned.
You can help - if you have an original project you'd like to share with your fellow readers, or if you know of an online Christmas craft resource that contains useful ideas and projects, please tell us about it, and we'll review it for inclusion.
Craft Resources from Family Christmas OnlineTM
The following craft instructions, suggestions, and resources are all on our site or related sites.
- Vintage Wrapping Paper Patterns - Color-coordinated, vintage-stye wrapping paper patterns - You can print these on your color printer for vintage-looking craft projects, or to wrap small packages. Click on the picture at the right for more information.
- Simple Paper Ornaments - Patterns and instructions for making classy home-made ornaments with. These crafts are color-coordinated with our Craft Wrapping Paper, so you can use them as package-toppers, or you can use the Craft Wrapping Paper to make your own color-coordinated ornaments. Kid Friendly! Click on the picture at the right for more information.
- Traditional Home-Made Ornaments - This is an article about how many, if not most, North Americans created most of the ornaments they used before World War II. It's not a craft article, per se, but should get you thinking about Christmas crafts you can do with the resources available to you.
- "Ready-to-Roast" Marshmallows - How to use a hunk of used styrofoam, a couple of sticks, and an old hole saw to add charm to a winter fireplace display. Admittedly, we've seen similar crafts elsewhere, but ours are the first round "marshmallows" we've seen.
- Building a Glitterhouse - Our sister site BigIndoorTrains.com is offering our readers brand-new, illustrated, step-by-step instructions on building vintage-style, glitter-coated pasteboard houses like those that graced our Christmas villages fifty years or more ago. This article is a "best-in-class" on this subject by a master builder.
- "Tribute to Tinplate" Articles - Here are several new, inexpensive, easy projects that will help you build a whole Christmas village that looks like it came out of 1910. The BigIndoorTrains.com "Tribute to Tinplate" projects are based on the tinplated-steel buildings and accessories that made up most "Christmas villages" a century ago. Free downloadable commercial-grade graphics and instructions will help you inexpensively add an authentic vintage look to any indoor railroad or Christmas display. We have more on the drawing board, so be sure and check back.
- Christmas Building Textures - If you want to design your own buildings for a Christmas village or railroad, check out this brand-new addition - roof and wall patterns for making your own holiday-themed structures. The Christmas Building Textures page includes brick, siding, and roofing tile patterns in colors that are ideal for Christmas and other midwinter decorating. Patterns are available in three scales for all of your "big train" and Christmas village needs.
Links to Other Crafts
The following links describe practical crafts that require fairly little resources, but produce useful, attractive results. Again, if you know of an online Christmas craft resource that contains useful ideas and projects, please tell us about it, and we'll review it for inclusion.
- Kids' Crafts - We tried to pick things that you could supervise without necessarily having to run to the store first. We have also tried to list the most important requirements, so you can tell before you download the instructions whether it is likely to work out for you today.
- Pine Cone Christmas Trees by Janet Lake - Requires a dried, open pine cone, a cap from a 2-liter or water bottle, green paint and materials for decoration.
- Salt Dough Christmas Gift Toppers - requires salt, flour, little Christmas cookie cutters, toothpicks, acrylic paints, ribbon, cookie pan.
- Paint Stirrer Snowman - requires a paint stirrer, craft paints, a small scrap of wood, and a small strip of fabric for the scarf. This looks very nice when finished.
- Jan Brett Hedgehog Bon-Bon Basket - Requires 8.5"x11" card stock, a color printer, and some cardboard you can make into a small box. This project features Jan Brett's incredibly charming artwork. It's also a good way to get charming "gift" boxes for teachers or friends' small gifts. Making the box will require an older child or adult's help. Also, be certain to click the PDF option to get the highest resolution (best artwork).
- Fabric Angels - requires scrap fabric, thread, lace, ribbon, cotton balls.
- Punched Aluminum Ornament - requires an aluminum pie pan and something that can be used as a punch.
- Printable 3-D Paper Snowman - requires typing paper, scissors, tape or glue, and a computer printer (to print the downloadable pattern). The end result isn't dramatic, but it's a quick way to give a kid something to do.
- Intermediate Crafts - These require a little more skill and may require specialized materials.
Again, we hope to keep adding links, resources, and ideas, so keep checking back. And contact
us with any questions, suggestions, or article ideas you have in the meantime.
Paul and Shelia Race
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