12 days of crafting: paper punch christmas tree

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 12: Paper Punch Christmas Tree


Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Well, here we are on day 12! I’m going to leave you with this sweet little tree that only took 15 minutes or so to make. If your kiddo is old enough to safely craft with straight pins, this would be a fun craft for them – it doesn’t need to look exactly like mine, there are lots of ways that this festive little tree can be made!

PPaper Punch Christmas Tree

Supplies:

  • 1″ circle paper punch
  • styrofoam cone (whatever size you want)
  • straight pins with some sort of head to them – I had these fun colored ones, but the white ones could look pretty too!
  • scrapbook paper, light cardstock, or re-purposed Christmas cards

This is seriously easy. First punch a bunch of circles, then start pinning them at the base of the tree. I pinned my circles right in the middle, and I started the first row so that it overlapped the bottom of the sytrofoam cone.

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Then you just keep working up your tree, overlapping the circles so that the whole thing is covered.

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

My cones were flat on top, so I pinned a row of circles right at the edge, then I put a small wad of paper towel (hey, it was handy) in there and pinned the last row to it.

IMG_5815 Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Once that was done, I finished it off by taking a few circles, bending them and sticking them in the top center of the tree to fill it out a bit (and hide that chic paper towel).

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Make little adjustments as necessary and ta-da! You’ve got yourself a little tree!

Paper Punch Christmas Tree

Thanks so much for joining me for 12 days of crafting! It’s been so fun to share some ideas with you, and a special thanks and shout out to Laura, Janelle, Carrie and David for their contributions as well!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree
Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards
Day 8: Paper Dot Notecards
Day 9: Simple Sewing Projects
Day 10: Stamped Candles
Day 11: Little Man Workbench

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12 days of crafting: little man workbench

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 11: Little Man Workbench

Little Man Workbench

Today I’m bringing you something completely different, something that is a bit outside my realm of crafting but may be right up your alley! Remember Carrie from the previous post about the wooden message boards? Well, her husband David happens to be quite creative as well (not to mention that he is an ISTJ, like me!). Anyways, he makes awesome furnishings for their house and yard with stuff that they find on craigslist. Seriously, it seems like sometimes he pops out a project every weekend – a cute play kitchen for their kids, a wardrobe for their daughter, he just whips stuff out! So I asked him to give a little insight into one of his projects, and he decided to share about the workbench he made for his son, Miles, so that he could participate in the projects they worked on. It looks like his daughter Brelyn (above) enjoys using it too! Here he is to share the details…

Supplies (if you can call it that…)

  • Old night stand
  • Some pegboard (cut to size)
  • Scrap wood (Big enough to be the top work surface)
  • Nails or screws…whatever you are most comfortable with
  • Paint if so desired

Instructions

  • First step is to find the right nightstand or equivalent. Basically craigslist, garage sales…even side of the roads are all great places to find inexpensive ones. Just make sure the basics parts work…like the legs.
  • Next thing is to paint. Depending on the current finish you might need to sand it or put on a primer first, but in the end go with whatever color the wife wants… Also, don’t paint it on the driveway unless you protect the ground as I wondrously discovered. 🙂

workbenchpaint

  • Then grab your scrap wood, sand it if needed and affix to the top of the work bench. Generally it is a safe bet to go a few inches past the current top to give more work surface. Depending on your table, you can use screws, nails or both. Just make sure it is secure.

workbench4

  • The peg board is flimsy stuff so it needs support. The easiest way to do this is get some skinny but solid boards to act as braces attaching to both the table and the peg board. Something that is ½” thick and maybe 2” wide by however tall you need it should do just fine. Nail or screw the boards to the back of the table on the legs of the table, bringing the top above the table as high as your peg board goes. Once done, screw the peg board to them on top and it is now nice and solid.workbench2
  • The final step is to enjoy! 🙂

workbench3

Isn’t that fun? I just love the idea of repurposing furniture in new ways. Is there a little guy in your life that might need a workbench for Christmas this year?

Thanks for sharing, David!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree
Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards
Day 8: Paper Dot Notecards
Day 9: Simple Sewing Projects
Day 10: Stamped Candles

12 days of crafting: stamped candles

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 10: Stamped Candles

Stamped Candle Tutorial

I’m so excited about today’s tutorial! Janelle is back to teach us how to make stamped candles – who doesn’t love a fun candle? Here she is…

“The craft I’m showing you today is a really simple stamped candle. It’s an easy way to give a little homemade touch to a gift, without spending too much time or effort on it.

You will need:

  • A pillar candle, any color
  • A hairdryer
  • Something to press into the candle
  • Optional: craft paint and a paintbrush

Stamped Candle Tutorial

Let’s talk about materials for a minute. In the candle on the right, I used metal letterpress type to spell out a word. Very cool, and looks great just as an initial also. But most people don’t have metal type in the house, so for this tutorial, I wanted to try out other objects to see how they worked.

I dug around in my jewelry box and sewing kit and here’s what I found:

  • Buttons, both plastic and metal
  • A tiny wooden spool
  • A chunky wooden bracelet with carved beads
  • Some charm bracelets
  • A metal brooch with rhinestones
  • Some kind of button cover from the 1920s with a cameo-like face on it
  • Rubber stamps

I also considered a hair elastic with a metal bird on the end and a thin silver necklace, but as you will see later, these didn’t work as well.

Stamped Candle Tutorial

The most important thing to consider is the amount of contrast on the piece you’re going to stamp. Of these three, the wooden bracelet is best. The deep ridges show up more than the tiny detail on the silver bracelet. But unlike the bird, most of the surface is the same depth, so you don’t need to press as hard into the candle to get the detail to show up.

It’s easier to stamp with items that are small. Big things need to curve around the candle, which is tricky.

Let’s get started! I’ll wait here while you raid your own jewelry box and craft cupboard.

Ready? Here we go!

Stamped Candle Tutorial

Once you have your stamp ready, soften the candle wax so you can press your stamp in. I used a hairdryer on high, held pretty close to the candle. Watch carefully; it doesn’t take long to see the top layer of wax start shimmering. If you’re doing a deep stamp, try holding the heat further away so it penetrates further before totally melting.

And be careful! Hairdryers are HOT!

Stamped Candle Tutorial

Quickly press your stamp into place. If you’re doing a design around the border, for example, you can usually do about half the candle at a time. The wax hardens up, but depending on how deep the melt went, you may have enough time to do a larger design.

Stamped Candle Tutorial

If you used a white candle, like me, you may be tempted to quit at this point, as your design won’t show up too well. This is the cameo brooch I mentioned earlier.

Get out your acrylic paint and a brush. I used gold and silver paint, but any color would look nice. The foam brushes at Michael’s are great for this craft because they squish the paint into all the little crevices.

Stamped Candle Tutorial

And here it is after a little painting. Much better! I probably should have rotated the brooch a bit, but you can get the gist here.

Stamped Candle Tutorial

Here are some finished examples:

  • Wooden spool on the top row
  • Plain plastic button
  • Woven metal button
  • Flower-stamped metal button

Stamped Candle Tutorial

  • Rubber stamp of a kitchen whisk
  • Pattern made from the rhinestone brooch. This reminds me of champagne bubbles. I think it would be a fun all-over pattern.

 Stamped Candle Tutorial

  • Wooden beads from a bracelet. I didn’t space these out too well, but I love the plaid-like look they give. You could wash these with a red paint and do little stripes with a thin brush for extra credit.

And, at the top of the post, you can see the little deer I used from a charm bracelet. This may be my very favorite. Doesn’t it look like Rudolph?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tutorial, and have fun experimenting!”

Thanks Janelle! I love the little deer too, but the the rhinestone “bubbles” are so fun too! Love this idea so much. Happy crafting everyone!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree
Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards
Day 8: Paper Dot Notecards
Day 9: Simple Sewing Projects

12 days of crafting: simple sewing projects

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 9: Simple Sewing Projects

IMG_5650

Man, that little face just melts my heart!

Okay, so today I don’t have a specific project for you, but I have some great ideas for you – of the sewing variety.

Now, I’ve  mentioned it before – I am not great with the sewing machine. There was a pretty funny/horrific incident yesterday between me and my machine that resulted in a lopsided, crinkly, weird fabric box. Yeah. So when I say easy, I mean it.

Here are some great go-to books with easy sewing projects:

I own the Lotta books (I know I’ve mentioned before how much I love her style) but before I owned them, I checked them out from the library – so that’s what I recommend. Isn’t the library great? If you only like one pattern in the book, you can just check it out for that and not worry about buying a book you don’t really want!

The type of sewing project I like is one that can be done in a couple hours or maybe a couple evenings. Like Janelle’s neck warmers. I just don’t have the patience for more.

See the adorable hat and scarf Luke is wearing in the photo at the top? Well, one fall morning I decided he needed a hat that fit him, and by the end of his nap that afternoon he had a new hat and scarf. For reals. That pattern was from Lotta’s Simple Sewing for Baby.

I’ve also made some stuff from her original Simple Sewing book – I made a fun yoga mat bag for my mom one year, and I whipped up a couple checkbook covers for her and myself one afternoon when I needed a break from remodeling a couple years ago.

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The bag I’m using as my purse right now is actually from the diaper bag pattern in Simple Sewing for Baby. I think it took me a couple evenings when I made it last fall.

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There are lots of good sales on fabric at this time of year, so it’s a good time to dust off the old sewing machine. Take a look at your library and see what they have – there may be a bunch of fun sewing books you’d like to check out!

Happy sewing!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree
Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards
Day 8: Paper Dot Notecards

12 days of crafting: paper dot notecards

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 8: Paper Dot Notecards

IMG_5761

As promised, here is another craft that uses the paper circle punch. I think a stack of handmade notecards tied with a pretty bow or some raffia is always a nice gift, and these are pretty simple to make. I’m not going to go into great detail because they are pretty straightforward, but I’ll let you peak in on my card making session, aka crafting with a toddler…

IMG_5762

Supplies:

  • cardstock or re-purposed Christmas cards
  • notecard & envelope (you can get packs at any craft store – plain or colored or patterned. Fred Meyer also sells plain white ones for pretty cheap!)
  • paper circle punch
  • glue or glue tape
  • stamp & stamp pad (optional)

I had to make a couple cards, and I thought it might be fun for Luke to help (he likes playing with the paper circles). So I whipped out the first one, shown at the top. Just a simple card – you can arrange the dots so many ways, it’s hard to go wrong.

While I was making that one, Luke was playing with his little plastic animals in a bit of water in his high chair tray. I say that to explain why he is running around in only a diaper and socks in the following photos. After about 5 minutes of splashing around with his animals, he was ready to move on. So we got started on his card for his GiGi (my grandma).

I punched out some circles and put adhesive on the back, then I handed them to Luke one at a time and asked him to stick them on the card.

IMG_5766

Sorry the photo is blurry, but this kid moves fast and it was the only shot I got. And lest you think that he sat there diligently gluing on his circles, let me assure you that this activity was punctuated with random running throughout the house – often with paper circles or card in hand.

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Eventually we got 5 of the 10 circles on the card (I think 2 are still MIA in my house somewhere…) and I added the “Thank You” part where it seemed to fit best. I think it actually turned out pretty sweet.

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Luke then took some time to examine and nearly destroy his handy work…

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So there you have it, our paper dot notecards.

While we’re on the subject, let me talk a little about crafting and how I fit it into my life as a mom. I’ve had a lot of people express surprise at how much crafting I do these days. I’m here to debunk any thoughts that I “do it all” or that Luke sits quietly by my side while I spend hours crafting each day.

I love to make things with my hands, so of course I find time to craft – just like other parents find time to read, go for a run or play soccer, watch a movie, hang out on facebook, etc. I find slivers of time to do it – before Luke wakes up in the morning or after he’s gone to bed. Luke is full of energy and curiosity, so for most of my projects, it’s not a great idea to work on it with him around – we’d both just end up frustrated. So I just use the bits of free time after my other tasks are completed. Sometimes those times are easier to find, in other seasons it just doesn’t happen as often.

I imagine that those slivers of time will become more elusive as our family {hopefully} expands in the future. And that’s okay. I love making things – it helps me slow down and relax, it energizes me,  and it’s my creative outlet that makes me feel more myself. But it’s a bonus, an extra – it’s not where my joy comes from. I love creating stuff, but it’s just an expression of joy. When I’m fully rooted in who I am in Jesus, that’s when I’m getting filled up. And that means serving him in lots of different ways – raising a little person, working, showing Ian kindness and love, and all the other things that fill my day. It’s not always fun or easy, but it’s what really matters.

So that’s how I do it – I fit it in when I can. If you’re frustrated that you don’t have time for these projects, just chill – seriously, they are just crafts! You’re probably in one of two places – first, you might be in a season where it just isn’t possible to have any free time to yourself – new baby, life transition, busy work schedule, etc. I feel for you! Everyone loves a moment for themselves. But what you are called to do is way more important, so I hope you can experience joy and fulfillment in that. (And whatever you do, don’t compare yourself to others! It’s silly to compare myself to someone who has grown kids, or for a mom of 3 to compare themselves to me. You are called to be where you are at, so embrace it!)

Or second, you choose to spend your time on other stuff – perfectly fine! If you want to use your 15 minutes of down time to read, by all means, go for it! Or maybe you choose to play soccer or watch TV or fill your schedule with activities – it’s your life, and crafting may not make the list. Lots of things I like don’t make my list, like reading for fun – I do love to read, but I can’t remember the last time I read a novel! I could use my time to read, but I choose to do other things, like make a spur of the moment stuffed felt dolphin for Luke. That’s just how I roll.

I’ll wrap up my ramblings now. 🙂 Enjoy your weekend!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree
Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards

12 days of crafting: painted wooden message boards

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards

diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board

This awesome message board tutorial comes from Carrie. We like to say we’ve been friends since we were in the womb, since our moms were in childbirth class together. However, things got rocky (literally) when we reunited at 5 years old – while playing outside together, Carrie threw gravel in my eyes. Not cool. Anyways, back to the craft at hand. I love these message boards because they are super popular in stores and on etsy, but I hadn’t seen anyone make them until Carrie put some up on her facebook a couple weeks ago. Here she is to explain how she makes them…

Supplies: diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote boarddiy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote boarddiy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board

  • wood (my favorite is finding and using scrap wood.  The best piece I ever found was one that washed up the shore at Picnic Point beach.) For these particular boards we bought 1/2″ thick sheet of plywood and had it divided and cut into 6ths.
  • sander
  • paint (I buy little $1 bottles from Michael’s craft store.  Each bottle painted about 2 of these plywood boards.)
  •  paint brush
  • letter stencils (mine were 3/4 and 1″ sizes)
  • spongy things to paint on the stencil (optional, could just use a brush probably)
Instructions: 
1) Sand the wood
2) Apply one coat of paint
3) Sand the edges to give the vintage look
  diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board
diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board
4) So after sanding, painting and sanding again, it’s time for the stenciling.

I used chalk and a straight edge to draw lines on the board to help with spacing.  This is easily wipe-off-able after the paint dries and is a good guide.

diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board

I’m impatient, so I stenciled each letter, wiped the stencil with a wet paper towel and moved on to the next before the first letters or stencils fully dried.

diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board

This created some imperfections of misplaced bits of paint transferred from the stencil.  Some might say it adds to the “vintage” or “homemade” look..

diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board

Isn’t it awesome? Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Carrie! I am a big fan of quotes and Bible verses and song lyrics, so I would love to do one for our own home. I’m just so impressed with how it turns out! Wouldn’t this make such a good Christmas gift? So go make one!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree

12 days of crafting: felt stacking tree

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor  From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree

felt stacking tree

Today’s project is just a cute little decoration that can be made a bunch of different ways.

felt stacking tree

Supplies:

  • old 100% wool sweater(s) or other felted wool
  • fabric scissors
  • about 10″ of wire (I used a thicker floral wire leftover from another project, but it doesn’t need to be that thick)
  • wire cutters (if needed for your wire)
  • tree topper (felt, a bead, small figurine, etc)

If your wool isn’t already felted, you’ll need to do that first. This is great if you have an old wool sweater that you want to upcycle into a fun project, but you can also check out a thrift store. It’s totally fine if the sweater has holes or issues – the felting process shrinks and binds it all together, so if you are buying one, look for the cheaper damaged ones! Also, I only used one color because I only had one sweater that was falling apart and didn’t want to buy more, but the multi-colored trees I’ve seen are super cute. So if you can get more colors, go for it! It’d especially be worth it if you were making a bunch of trees for gifts, so you’d use more of the sweaters.

To felt the sweaters, all you need to do is toss them in a mesh laundry bag (because they will give off lint like crazy!) and throw them in the washing machine on the hot/cold cycle. They’ll shrink up all funny and be super soft and perfect for crafting! Lay it out to dry and it’s ready to go!

felt stacking tree

Making the tree is so easy. First you’ll cut out your circles – I found it easiest to cut the smallest one first, then use that as a template for the next one by cutting just outside of it (maybe about 1/8″ or so). I kept doing that until I had a circle the size that I wanted for my base (it’s about 4″ across).

felt stacking tree

I had 21 circles all together. Then you just bend your wire at the bottom and start stacking them by poking the wire through the center of each circle.

felt stacking tree

Just keep stacking them all the way up…

felt stacking tree

When you get to the top, you can attach your tree topper by bending your wire around it (or, if you are using more felted wool like me, you can thread it right through).

felt stacking tree

And your felt stacking tree is complete! You can bend the wire around to find the perfect position for your tree.

felt stacking tree

My little tree is going to hang out in our entryway, so I’m going to leave him as is. Depending on where he ends up in the future, I may dress him up – maybe a little beaded garland or glue on some beads or pearls as ornaments!

felt stacking tree

A few alternative ways to do this project:

  • Glue the felt circles together. Your tree will just be permanently positioned but will still be cute.
  • Use regular felt. Regular felt is fine, it’s just thinner and cleaner than the fuzzy, thick felted wool. So it will look different but be equally fun. You’ll probably want to cut out more layers, and probably cut out two of each size.
  • Make an ornament by using thread or fishing line and threading that through each layer. My mother-in-law has a similar ornament that has a bell at the bottom of the tree – that is an easy and cute way to secure the bottom layers.

Hope you enjoy this simple little tree as much as I do!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer