Homemade Christmas decorations
Have yourself a merry homemade Christmas and take inspiration from the DIY exploits of MSE HQ and friends. By making their own wreaths, baubles, cards and other decorations using foraged or recycled materials, these MoneySavers cut down on a little of the waste and a lot of the expense of Christmastime. (And it's fun too.)
We want to see your DIY creations. Pop a photo or two in the Show me your homemade Christmas decorations Forum discussion.
Once you've whet your appetite, continue the festive frugality with our 44 Christmas MoneySaving tips guide and our 20 free (or very cheap) ways to sprinkle some Christmas magic blog.
🎀 Good g'wreath! 🎀
The left-hand wreath is the work of MSE Stephen B's wife. All the foliage was free and foraged from her workplace. The right-hand wreath was handmade by one of MSE Clare's friends.
Just about every year, MSE Carol and her daughters make a Christmas garland (pictured below left) using leftover bits from the Christmas tree. They forage ivy and pine cones, and glue the whole shebang onto a piece of string. "You can also get tree bits from your local garden centre for free," she says.
The elegant door wreath pictured below right is one MSE Rhiannon whipped up last year. Made out of offcuts from her garden, it was 100% biodegradable.
🌟 Decks the halls like MSE Holly 🌟
MSE Holly spotted garlands online costing £30 for 1.8 metres. She'd have needed five of them to deck out her stairs, and there was no way she was paying £150 for the privilege, so she bought the separate components and made her own. The breakdown looks approximately like this:
- Almost 9 metres of garland – £17.97
- 4 boxes of lights from B&M – £16
- Decorations – roughly £25
Total = £58.97
By going all Blue Peter on the task, she saved herself £91.
🎄 Tree-mendous effort 🎄
MSE Bernadette is a skilled craftsperson and likes to make things for friends and family. Here are a few of the things she's magicked up over the last few years, all of which she says cost practically nothing but her time.
The large-scale standing tree is made from pallet wood and required a lot of sawing, sanding, staining and buffing. As for the '12 Days of Christmas' ornaments, Bernadette got the inspiration from similar items on Etsy.
Most of these double up as gift ideas too.
🎁 Wrap party 🎁
This incredibly professional-looking bauble was made by MSE Rebecca at an art café. She bought the plain ceramic piece and decorated it herself, then handed it over to staff to be glazed and fired. Now it's pride of place on the Christmas tree.
Rebecca's also a dab hand at making her own wrapping paper. The bottom set of images show the plain brown parcel paper she bought last year and embellished with Christmas washi tape. The paper is the cheapest you can get and the washi tape was a pack of 10 designs from Amazon, so she has plenty left over for this year.
"The tape is also perfect to close envelopes for Christmas cards instead of licking them (hello, Covid), " she says, "and they make your envelope look fancy shmancy".
🦶 Mistle-toes and more 🦶
As well as the door wreath earlier, MSE Clare's friends and family members have made all manner of DIY Christmas decorations and gifts over the years. A few of them are pictured here, including:
- Painted tin can plant pots (for planting Christmas poinsettia, perhaps)
- Kids' hand and footprint cards
- Personalised wooden bauble
- Large wooden Christmas tree
❄️ Snowflake it 'til you make it ❄️
Paper doily snowflakes are fun, quick and fool proof. Fold up plain paper into a thin triangle, cut shapes into it and unfold. The trick to making a really detailed one is cutting into it as much as possible. Crack out the hole punch too, if you've got one. Once they're done you can stick them to your window panes or hang them from the ceiling with white thread.
The reindeer silhouette is made from black foam (originally packing material saved from an online order). Stuart (the boyfriend) and I found an image online to use as a template, then taped the foam cut-out to our (existing) moon light.
Below are MSE Laura B's paper snowflakes. Displayed on the window, they look awesome in contrast when it's dark outside. When making your own snowflakes, try to make them as varied as possible by cutting out different shapes in each one, and starting with a smaller 'pizza slice' to make teeny snowflakes as well as big'uns.
🕯️ Be a little Advent-urous 🕯️
Kudos to MSE Lea's boyfriend, who whipped up a bespoke Advent calendar for her. So far she's opened doors containing a candle, gin, anti-bac, chocolate, sweets, a voucher for a massage and a 'free pass' voucher that lets her choose a piece of furniture for their new flat that she loves (and he hates).
🎨 I didn't know you card 🎨
The snowman card on the left was made at school by a young friend of MSE Sarah Monro. "I've kept it in my decorations box," says Sarah, "I'm going to keep putting it up on display until she's 18."
Sarah's brother's girlfriend created the card on the right. Every year she knits little Christmas decorations and turns them into cards.
Then there's my artistic friend Sophie, who paints Christmas designs, adds appropriately festive puns, then scans and prints several copies onto card to create Christmas cards. How good are these?
🎄 Incredi-bauble 🎄
My creative pal Chloe makes her own Christmas tree baubles and they look really high-end. She buys polystyrene balls from Hobby Craft for the base and pushes dressmaking pins into them. Each pin holds a bead and a sequin. She uses a longer pin to attach a ribbon. It takes ages, Chloe says, but she has fun doing it.
📚 Fifty Shades of Sleigh 📚
10/10 for effort here. This book-based Christmas tree was created at MSE Tony's wife's workplace. It could double up as a giant game of Jenga.
🍾 Gin-gle bells 🍾
If you've mastered homemade Christmas decorations, maybe it's time to level up and attempt a homemade Christmas tipple. MSE Carol's sister makes her own sloe gin, limoncello, bourbon and more, which she keeps in recycled glass bottles. Sometimes, if Carol's been very good, she gets a bottle as a present.
For further inspo, visit the 'Make Your Own Christmas Booze' thread on the Forum.
Always be Drinkaware.
Ahead of Christmas, MSE Sarah Monro turns plain gin into sloe gin. She combines three ingredients (gin, sloe berries and sugar) in jars and leaves them to marinate until they're ready. The berries infuse the liquid with colour and flavour.
There are heaps of other options for making your own flavoured gin by replacing the sloe berries with things like rhubarb, plums, apple, mulling spices or rosemary, or even a combination of complementary ingredients.
From the craftspeople of MSE HQ, have a very happy homemade Christmas.