Friday, December 16, 2016

DIY Holiday Gift Boxes

What's the first gift they'll want to unwrap? The one in a box that looks extra special! Here's how you can take generic gift boxes from the dollar store and transform them into something magical.

Materials you need:

• Plain cardboard boxes of various kinds and sizes
• Figure or object for the box top (a little house, an animal-let your imagination be your guide)
• White acrylic paint
• Acrylic paint in a color of your choice for the body of the box
• Paint brushes
• Quick-drying craft glue
• Glue gun and glue sticks
• Glitter (optional)
• Epson salts (for the snow)
• Ribbon

For this first set of boxes, I used plain brown cardboard boxes of various shapes and sizes.

Step 1: Paint the body and the side of your box lid with acrylic paint in a color of your choice. I pulled the color red from the little houses I planned to use on the box tops.

Step 2: Paint the top of the lid with white acrylic paint. 

Step 3: Next attach the object, figure or animal onto the top of the box lid. (The little snowman was found at Walmart by the way.)

Depending on the object you choose, you may or may not require a glue gun to attach it securely. White glue alone wasn't going to hold this snowman, so I resorted to hot glue. 

Step 4: You could leave the box top with just the white paint and that would look fine, but I wanted my lid to have the sparkle of snow. 

Warning: This is where this project gets a little messy! I recommend you lay down some newsprint for easy clean up. 

Once your object or figure is dry on the box lid, spread a generous layer of quick-drying craft glue on the remainder of the lid (I used a popsicle stick to spread the glue). Sprinkle epsom salts over the surface of the glue. Add a few glitter sparkles as well, if you like. Press down the epsom salt and sparkles into the glue with your fingers. Allow the lid to dry.

Once the salt and glitter is set, turn the lid on its side and gently knock off any of the surplus salt and glitter that did not adhere.

Step 5: Attach a ribbon to your box. I used a bead of white glue under the ribbon to keep it in place. 

This box had a deep lid, so I used a plaid ribbon and ran the ribbon around the centre of the box. (You can find similar vintage Christmas houses at Michaels craft store.)

On the two round boxes, I used a narrow gingham ribbon and wrapped it around the circumference of the lid.

To create this box topped with a church, I painted a plain cardboard box sage-green. Next I stenciled some snowflakes in a slightly lighter shade of sage. 

To finish off the box, I ran white ribbon all the way around the lid (a fine bead of white glue under the ribbon secured it in place). Then I topped the white ribbon with a narrow band of gold ribbon (again a fine bead of glue holds the ribbon in place). At the front, I attached a bow in the same gold ribbon (I used hot glue to attach the bow).

This next group of boxes were even faster to create. These dollar store boxes already came with a nice silver print. 

To top this box, I used a reindeer and some mini-Christmas trees (which mirrors the theme of the silver print on the box). All I did was paint the lid white. Then I attached the reindeer with some hot glue. 

The next step was to add the epsom salt and glitter (see method above for attaching the salt and glitter).

To secure the trees, I twisted off each tree from its cork base. Then I used the wire at the bottom of the tree to poke a small hole in the top of the box lid. 

Next I applied a little hot glue to the base of the tree and inserted the wire trunk back into the hole. On the underside of the lid, I reattached the cork with a little hot glue.

Isn't this bear sweet? I think this box would make a great gift for a toddler or a baby's first Christmas.

Again my box had a nice silver snowflake pattern, so all I did was fancy-up the lid (see working method above). Around the lid, I ran a pretty, baby-blue ribbon with a bow at the front (again see notes above about securing the ribbon and bow).

I hope you've found some inspiration to make your own gift boxes extra special this holiday season!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Diamonds & Pearls

This little craft idea couldn't be any easier! In fact these ornaments are so simple to make, you could easily do this project with the kids or grandkids. (When working with kids just make sure to choose large stickers that are easy for little hands to work with.)

The list of materials you need is pretty short in all my examples.

Materials you need for these DIY snowflake ornaments:

• a box of ornaments with a pearl finish 
• snowflake stickers with a diamond-like finish on a transparent backdrop (I found my snowflakes at Michaels)
• a sheet of individual blue diamonds (not shown- also available at Michaels)
• pair of scissors
• ribbon or a metal hook to hang the finished ornament

Step 1: Detach a snowflake sticker from the transparent backing paper. Place the sticker on the face of the ornament, but don't press it down just yet! When a sticker is roughly tacked into position, it is still easy to lift and move. As you build your design on your ball, you may need to lift and adjust the spacing of your stickers. 

Step 2: The fun in this project is creating your own snowflake pattern on the surface of your ornament. Once you are happy with the layout of your pattern, press the snowflakes down with your thumb to secure them in place.

Let your imagination be your guide in creating your pattern. 

To create my ornament, I placed a row of snowflakes around the middle of the ball. On the bottom centre of the ball, I put a full snowflake. At the top of the ornament, I used fan-shaped sections, which I created by cutting up full snowflakes with my scissors.  In between the snowflakes, I filled the empty space with individual blue diamonds. 

For this next group of ornaments, I used small individual diamonds and diamonds in a wave-like swirl.

Materials you need for these diamond swirl ornaments:

• a box of clear ornaments 
• stickers with diamond swirls on a transparent backdrop (I found these at Michaels)
• a sheet of individual diamonds (to fill in any gaps- also available at Michaels)
• pair of scissors
• ribbon or a metal hook to hang the finished ornament

There are an amazing array of stickers on a clear backing available. You can find stripes and swirls as well as individual diamonds and pearls to personalize any plain ornament. 

Materials you need for this ornament with bands of pearls:

• a box of ornaments with a pearl finish 
• stickers with bands of pearls (I found these at the Dollar store)
• a sheet of individual pearls (to fill in any gaps -again from the Dollar store)
• pair of scissors
• ribbon or a metal hook to hang the finished ornament

For this ornament, I used a band of different sized pearls. Around the middle of the ornament I ran one long stripe of pearls ( two bands pieced together). Then I cut the band into smaller sections and used it to add v-shaped lines of pearls that run from the top and bottom of the ornament to the middle. If you have any gaps, fill them in with individual pearls like the ones you see on the righthand sheet.

Letters are a great way to tailor an ornament to a gift recipient. For the next ornament, I used a sheet of pearl letters. 

Materials you need to make the ornaments with a recipient's name:

• a box of ornaments with a pearl finish 
• letter stickers with a pearl-finish
• pair of scissors
• ribbon or a metal hook to hang the finished ornament

To frame the name, I used pearl swirls (see an example of one of the sheet of swirls later in this post).

If you don't care for the pearl letters, there are glittery options as well.

Place your finished ornament on a colorful napkin along with a sprig of fresh greenery and you have a keepsake guests can take home after a holiday meal.

Materials you need for these ornaments with a pearl swirl:

• a box of pearl ornaments 
• stickers with swirls that have a pearl finish (I found these at the Dollar store)
• a sheet of individual pearls (to fill in any gaps)
• pair of scissors
• ribbon or a metal hook to hang the finished ornament

I found that the complicated swirls could be become a bit of a nightmare to deal with once you pulled them off the backing paper, so I cut the swirls into smaller sections with my scissors and pieced the sections back together on my ornament.

Super easy and really pretty, these ornaments are a snap to make!

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