Holiday gifting and decorating doesn't have to mean hours in boring big box stores. These clever holiday craft ideas are easy enough for the most novice crafter and make great, affordable gifts. These talented DFW artists' holiday craft ideas include affordable, easy-to-make gifts and cleverly upcycled decorations perfect for any holiday home.
Award-winning Dallas sculptor Lottie Minick's work is featured annually at the State Fair of Texas and in galleries around the metroplex. For Minick, walking her dog nets more than a happy canine, it's a chance to gather found object treasures from the bulky trash. Her craft ideas are a mixture of found objects and upcycling that would surprise most any crafter.
On one walk, she spied snowmen instead of discarded balustrades. Minick used waterproof acrylic paint for the snowmen's heads and faces. Then she made their scarves with strips of fabric. As her collection grows, each unique balustrade adds more interest and fun.
Minick's shoe wreath craft idea showcases her whimsical sense of humor along with her love of shoes. "You can use a hula hoop or any circle. Shoes with rhinestones help add sparkle." While pointing out her quick design example Lottie said, "I wired the shoes with fine wire, then covered the wire by running a gold ribbon through the shoes and circle." Those with Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin and Vivienne Westwood's shoes could be in the best holiday wreath winner's circle.
Minick's red velvet pillow is perfect for costume jewelry collectors who love rhinestones and bling. "Simply pin or tack jewelry to a pillow in the shape of a tree for serious sparkles," Minick said.
Upcycled Fabric Art
Minick's next idea is so simple it can be a craft project to do with a young child. After hemming her blue jeans, she used the strips of fabric to create a modern Christmas tree work of upcycled art. Glue the fabric to illustration board found at any craft store, and frame it with pride.
Artist Jacque Forsher is known for her fine art sculptures and paintings, however her fun craft side is also a hit at art festivals. Her work is on display at The Art Hotel Gallery in the Dallas Cedar's Art District and The Bath House Cultural Center at White Rock Lake.
Forsher's FlowerPower Headbands are made with stretch cloth headbands, a silk flower and a button sewn on by hand. They are easy to make and create a retro, fashion-forward look. She suggests experimenting with different colors and shapes, and finding fun buttons to make them unique.
Forsher's cigar box ring holders are made from cigar boxes, and sweaters or sweatshirts accordion folded and glued into the bottom of the box.
Bleach Pen T-shirt
Forsher's bleach pen shirt requires a solid T-shirt, chalk, waxed paper and a bleach pen. After washing and drying the T-shirt, she places waxed paper inside to prevent it from bleeding through in the back. Then she sketches a simple design on the shirt with chalk. After shaking the pen to make sure there is a good flow, she outlines the design. After about 20 minutes to two hours, the bleach begins to create a negative design. When Forsher's design has the desired look, she washes the shirt by itself and dries it.
Magic Santa Keys
For children without chimneys for Santa to climb down, Forsher creates Magic Santa's Keys to hang on doorknobs during Christmas Eve. Inexpensive and easy to make, they are a perfect project for parents and children. Use ribbon, bells, a ring wrapped with holiday trim and then tie the magic key to the decorated ring.
Related: Best Up-&-Coming Artists in DFW
Andie Comini is a sculptor and found object assemblage artist who now working with glass art. Her work is on display in galleries around DFW including the Texas Visual Art Association Gallery at the Plaza of the Americas in downtown Dallas.
Comini's first craft suggestion is to upcycle fresh wreaths or decorations after they dry and are usually thrown away. To refinish the wreath, she uses acrylic paints mixed with Liquitex Gloss Medium & Varnish. The gloss medium protects the leaves and helps secure the wreath by gluing pieces together. It brightens colors and is non-yellowing. Best of all, the entire wreath is water resistant when dry. When mixing her paint, she uses shades of greens, yellows and browns to give the branches and leaves a natural look with highlights and shadows. Her wreaths work well indoors and outdoors.
Vintage Ornament Display
Among Comini's extensive collections are her holiday ornaments. Her next suggestion is to find one-of-a-kind, vintage Christmas tree ornaments on Ebay, at estate and garage sales. Instead of placing the ornaments on a tree, she displays them in a clear glass jars or large clear glass vases with vintage ribbons tied at the neck or decorated with a fabric bow. Especially charming are her mid-century modern ornaments with vintage fabric giving her home the cool "Mad Men" look.
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