When we bought our first home our Christmas decorations took up one small box, it’s now four boxes full of things we’ve collected over the years. I like to treat myself to one new thing a year, and usually buy something from a trip away as a little Christmas memory.
I also now have lot of things made by my son to add to the collection which will no doubt go on the tree every year from now on. I’m going to have to start a cull soon, but the problem lies with my inability to throw things out. So this year I’m going to reuse and upcycle the decorations that I’ve grown tired of, save money and make some myself. So, I tried out the following projects:
Barn stars date back over a hundred years and are thought to have originated in Pennsylvania as a mark of the builder who built the barns and homes. They are considered lucky and people often use them as lucky charms, hanging them above doors. Often made of wood or metal they are usually distressed over time or rusted naturally. They’ve now become a bit of a home staple, especially at Christmas time.
There is a way to make these for yourself that wont cost you a penny! I’ve used cereal boxes but you could use any thin card and any paint you have left over. I created, and printed out a star template but you can find free templates for them online. Next I traced onto the card, cut it out, then scored and folded.
For the green star, I painted a coat of Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Emerald underneath, then Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Winter Grey over the top. Following this, I lightly sanded the edges and folds to achieve a distressed look.
For the red ones I painted a coat of Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Fire Brick then used a dry brush technique to brush on Winter Grey over the folds to create the distressed effect without sanding.
You could use these as display stars or thread ribbon through a small hole to create hanging decorations.
You will need: Empty cereal boxes, star template, Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint, fine sandpaper.
Stags are everywhere and I don’t mean grown men in fancy dress the week before their wedding. You can’t browse a Christmas department without seeing at least two stags and Rudolph. This is an easy way to create your own unique stag. I used an old picture frame, some scrap black felt and Rust-Oleum Metallic paint in Gold. There are endless possibilities with this one though, you can use any fabric you have to show the stags head through the stencil.
Firstly I painted the frame to create an aged effect. I used Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Emerald followed by a light brushing with Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint in Graphite. I then finished with Rust-Oleum Furniture Finishing Wax in Dark. I left some of the original frame colour underneath to add depth.
Secondly, the stag. I printed off a stag template from the internet, cut it out and stuck it lightly to the fabric using Rust-Oleum Low Tack Adhesive. I then dabbed on the paint around the stencil edge, being careful not to move the stencil or slip underneath. I chose a halo effect but you could paint the rest of the fabric revealing just the stags head once you peel off the stencil.
You will need: Picture frame, Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish Furniture Paint, Rust-Oleum Furniture Finishing Wax in Dark, your choice of fabric cut to the same size as the glass, stag template (printed off to the size required), craft knife to cut out.
I’m always looking for alternative ways to use old baubles or create quirky new ones. I like to use charity shop baubles and redesign them using string or fabric. Traditional glass baubles are making a come back but can be quite pricey so you could try this version instead. I used some old bulbs and a couple of new ones that we have stashed away but don’t tell my husband! You can buy them really cheap from discount shops if you don’t have a supply at home. Remember you’re not looking for light quality, just the shape and hanging potential.
Rust-Oleum Metallic Leafing Pens are great as they work on wood, metal, paperboard, glass, unglazed ceramic and some plastics. They go on quite thin and transparent but they dry opaque so don’t worry. I created different patterns then turned them into baubles by wrapping string round the fitting with double sided tape and creating a loop for hanging.
You will need: Lightbulbs, Rust-Oleum Metallic Leafing Pens and coloured string.
Tin cans are perfect for upcycling. They have so many different uses. Desk tidies, plant pots, tea light holders, all great ways to reuse old bean tins. I’ve been wanting to try this one for ages.
Clean out your tins and pierce a small hole through the end with a nail and hammer. Spray them outside in your paint choice and go for 2-3 thin coats rather than trying to cover in one go. I used Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch in Heirloom White.
Once dry I used a gold polka dot decorative tape that I had in my craft box that by lucky fluke was the same height as the tin – so felt like it was tape destiny. I left half of the tins in the Heirloom White and covered the other half with the tape. After that I threaded the wire through the tins overlapping each tin as I went. Pull tight to hold the shape, twist together the ends to keep it tight and finish with a hessian bow.
You will need: Eight empty tins all the same size, Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch in your colour choice, stiff but bendable wire, hessian or ribbon to finish with a bow.