If you’re feeling crafty this holiday season, check out these simple decorating hacks sure to brighten up any home. Cassie Freeman, creator of the DIY blog Hi Sugarplum , shares her favorite projects.
Festive (and fresh) cranberry wreaths
Looking to spruce up your front door or kitchen window? Try putting a unique spin on an old holiday staple. Instead of hanging a ho-hum traditional wreath, spice it up by creating one made with fresh, vibrant cranberries.
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The shopping list is as simple as it gets. All you need is a straw ring, a bag of cranberries from your local produce stand, and a hot-glue gun. From there, glue the cranberries one by one around the front and sides of the wreath. (Tip: leave the backside alone so that the wreath rests nice and flat.)
The finished product typically lasts a few weeks. If you’re after something with a longer shelf life, Freeman says that cinnamon-scented pinecones make for a fragrant alternative.
“Those are lovely and stay scented for a long time,” says Freeman. “Plus pinecones don’t rot or dry any further, so that’s something you can keep indefinitely.”
Cinnamon stick candleholders
This quickie DIY lighting project spotlights one of the season’s signature scents: cinnamon. It’ll also add a rustic, natural touch to your holiday décor. To get started, you’ll need a glass votive. Any size will do, but Freeman especially likes a larger glass cylinder – perfect for creating a bolder statement piece.
After that, swing by your local craft store for a bag of cinnamon sticks. The trick is to cut the tips to match the height of the cylinder. (Tips that are slightly uneven will look even better.) Then simply hot-glue the sticks together so that they line the outside of the container. It’s best not to glue the cinnamon sticks directly to the glass. Instead, apply a smidge of glue to the sticks themselves so that they adhere to one another.
Run a thick ribbon around the finished product, pop a candle inside, and you’re done.
“It really doesn’t get much easier,” says Freeman. “It’s a nice way to make your home smell like Christmas because as the candle heats up, it releases a little more of the cinnamon smell.”
Polished tie-dye ornaments
If you’re giving your Christmas tree a color scheme this year, you may want to perk up for this one. All you need to get going are clear ornament balls and two or three bottles of craft paint to match your theme. Pop the top off the ornament and squeeze one of the paints inside, gently rolling the ball around the tabletop as you do so. Next, add in another color and repeat the process until the inside is fully coated. The result? Glossy, tie-dye style ornaments.
“It allows you to create the color scheme that you want using any combination of colors,” says Freeman, who advises not going too crazy with the paint. “The paint’s inside, so the less you use, the better the coating will be.”
This project also makes for a great activity for kids home from school during holiday break.
Blingy decorative balls
For those decorating on a budget, this super-simple project is easy on the wallet. All it requires are Styrofoam balls of varying sizes and a box of thumbtacks from any dollar store.
“You can use gold or silver thumbtacks, which have a nice little bling factor,” says Freeman.
Begin by pushing in the pins one row at a time, slightly overlapping them as you do so. This will create a scaly, metallic look. Once the entire ball is covered, you may notice a stubborn pin or two that refuses to stay in place. No biggie – just hot-glue those stragglers back in, and you’re good to go. You can set these little decorative balls on candlestick holders or even hang them with clear string from the ceiling so they look like they’re floating. Alternatively, group them together in different sizes to create a holiday centerpiece.
“With them being so reflective and textural, they make a big impact,” says Freeman, “I ended up leaving mine up year round because they look great.”