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Top Holiday Craft Ideas From Philadelphian Artists

'Tis the season for crafting. Crafting your own holiday decorations can save you cash to spend in other areas of your budget or for other holiday novelties. It also gives you an opportunity to spend memorable time with your family and friends. If you have kids, you can get them involved in making personalized gifts or decorations you will have for holidays to come. And it’s not just for kids, the holidays offer up a time of merriment to be shared with your creative friends, too.

Carolyn Capone Designer
Moorestown Flower Shoppe
65 E. Main St.
Moorestown, NJ 08053
(856) 234-0660

The Gift-Wrapped Holiday Tree

Holiday artist extraordinaire Carolyn Capone professionally decorates homes in Moorestown, N.J., every holiday season by wrapping stair banisters with pine, lights and flowers. She also uses a technique that involves taking beautiful holiday fabrics in golds, silvers and reds to wrap around the inside trunk of a tree. This not only looks festive, it can also hide bare spots. "Tree wrapping adds unique class to a typical evergreen," said Capone.

The volume of the fabric may dictate how many additional ornaments you will want to add; this is an especially good technique if you have a small selection of ornaments.

Holiday Cards from Kids
Megan Dolan certified K-12 Art Teacher

Artist, teacher and mom Megan Dolan, of Megan Dolan Studios, suggested ideas for crafting during the holidays with your kids. These include adding personal touches to glass ornaments, such as tiny hand prints of glitter. Another idea was in the making of holiday cards: "We use fancy scissors with the jagged edges to make Christmas trees," said Dolan. "All you need is construction paper, glue, glitter, small candy canes."

Children ages 4 and older may participate in and construct the cards by themselves under supervision with the scissors of course. Create a tree by cutting out a triangle, and then glue a small square to represent the trunk. The tree itself may be decorated with glitter glue or a glue stick with colored glitter. Then write out your message and tape on a small candy cane. These are great for kids to hand out at school or to family.

Related: Philadelphia Live art Festival of Local Artists

Yule Log

Ah, the warmth of the yule log. It is one of the original winter celebration traditions that have transferred over into modern times. The holiday "Yule," which was celebrated as part of the Winter Solstice originates from northern European tribes. Part of the tradition included burning a log for 12 days. You may make your own decorative yule log with a birch log, holly, glue, a flat piece of wood, a drill and candles. You should use a birch log about six inches in diameter that is about a foot long to have a nice decorative size. You may then choose to either flatten the bottom of the log so it doesn't roll, or mount it on top of a small flat piece of wood. Next, drill two holes large enough to fit tapered candles. Glue some holly around the base of your yule log to cover the flat wood piece and add your candles.

Snowflake Window Decorations

A festive and simple winter-themed decoration for children or adults is creating snowflakes for your windows. All you need is dimensional fabric paint such as Scribbles Glittering Crystal, waxed paper, a cookie sheet, paper and a pencil. All of these tools can be purchased at most art supply stores. Draw on paper the snowflake design of your liking and place it on a cookie sheet. Cover the design with waxed paper (a resealable bag will also work). Next, trace the outline with the fabric paint, making sure all of the lines connect. Your fabric paint should be about an eighth of an inch thick. Allow it to dry overnight. In the morning, peel this off of the waxed paper and place on your windows, where they will cling.

Christmas Ornament Decorating Party

There is nothing wrong with finding an excuse to have a party, and the holidays offer some of the best. Gather your friends and family, serve up some holiday goodies, and get them making ornaments for your tree and for them to take home. All you need are plain ornaments, glue, glitter, felt and typical crafting materials such as cotton balls and googly eyes. Set work stations around the table for your friends, pour the wine, and let the creativity begin. Some ideas include making personally identifiable ornaments that represent your friends, such as a music note ornament to represent your friend the musician.

Related: Philadelphia Holiday theater preview

Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here
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