Finance

A crafty Christmas: Save money by making your own decorations 

As Christmas last year was a muted affair, it’s no wonder we’re going all out this festive period.

Research shows that we’re preparing for Christmas earlier than ever, with sales of decorations increasing by almost a fifth compared to 2019, according to notonthehighstreet.com.

Handmade items, in particular, are firing us up.

Merry: Hobbycraft has more than 4,000 festive craft workshops making hats, crackers and other decorations

DIY site ManoMano says searches for how to create wreaths and baubles have increased by 350 per cent and 222 per cent respectively, while online craft retailer Hobbycraft reports visits up by 108 per cent on some festive ranges.

‘Christmas is the perfect time to be creative,’ says crafter Poppy Treffry. ‘Handmade decorations are a chance to make some new family heirlooms and to feel festive in the process.’

Of course, we want to keep it chic rather than like a child’s handiwork, which is where the experts come in.

‘When conjuring up a beautiful Christmas setting, the key is to keep it simple and seasonal,’ says Judith Harris, head of house & home at TOAST. 

The retailer runs workshops, including bauble and wreath making, in some of its stores, while Hobbycraft has more than 4,000 festive craft workshops making hats, crackers and other decorations.

Here are some useful tips . . .

Sew your stockings

The sight of a stocking hanging over the fireplace gives an instant nostalgic hit. You can choose to buy a posh, ready-made stocking, but they are also simple to make at home.

One option is to make a knitted sock: the knitting kit company Wool And The Gang has a free pattern on its website, along with how-to videos, meaning all you have to buy is the wool.

For a fabric version, Etsy.com is awash with sew-your-own kits, but you can also just buy some fabric and design your own pattern.

For designer fabrics at a fraction of the price, try the surplus stock website Haines Collection.

Tilly And The Buttons has an online refresher if you need reminding how to use a sewing machine.

Hand-painted baubles from Toast (£8.50) - the retailer now runs workshops, including bauble and wreath making. Hobbycraft also has hat and cracker making classes

Hand-painted baubles from Toast (£8.50) – the retailer now runs workshops, including bauble and wreath making. Hobbycraft also has hat and cracker making classes 

Festive foliage

Trees are the obvious green item, but a wreath also adds some natural charm. Notonthehighstreet’s research found that wreaths are just one of the things we’re buying early, with sales in October up by 289 per cent since 2019.

‘A homemade wreath is a lovely thing to make as a family,’ says Terri Chandler of the florists Worm London.

Worm has a book dedicated to teaching us how to create wreaths at home: Wreaths: Fresh, Foraged & Dried Floral Arrangements (£14.99).

To up the natural vibe ‘you can even suspend a tree branch above the table which can be decorated with paper stars, copper lights and decorations,’ says Judith Harris. 

‘Add a pop of colour with rosehips and hellebores or whatever you find such as deep red pomegranates or bright clementines.’ Try TOAST’s hand-painted baubles (£8.50).

Paper projects 

Paper chains are the ultimate in easy decorations — something all the family can get involved with. Either buy your own paper and cut it into strips (Hobbycraft has a selection), or there are kits with pre-cut up paper, including Baker Ross, where a pack of 240 strips costs £4.50.

For a Scandi take, try making paper stars. Jo Hill had the idea to make star kits last Christmas. ‘I wanted to design a kit that made it fun and easy to create something beautiful and stylish,’ she says.

‘Getting absorbed in making stuff is such a lovely and relaxing activity,’ she says (from £9, ArtStarLondon on Etsy).

Cheery cards

Handmade notes always bring joy. ‘Making cards has been a brilliant way to channel my creativity over the past few months,’ says Heather Curtis, the designer and owner behind the online stationery shop Heather Evelyn. 

She encourages others to give it a try or you can buy her handmade cards, £5 for five.

Block printing card designs give a reliable result every time. Expert crafter Molly Mahon sells her block printing kits online, along with a copy of her book.

Try her Bauble kit (£38.50).

What your home needs is a… leaning mirror 

The Vigue mirror from Wayfair costs £58.99

The Vigue mirror from Wayfair costs £58.99

The full-length leaning mirror is the latest decor item to move from the hospitality sector into the domestic sphere. 

Hotels use these mirrors to make tiny rooms look larger. It will give any room a sense of space.

Regency chic is set to be a thing in 2022 and the £58.99 Vigue mirror from Wayfair with its carved gilt frame supplies this look for less.

The £99.99 Sophie from The Range has a silver frame. The genuine article, an early 19th century mirror with an ornate gilt frame on the 1stDibs auction costs about £2,969.

There are plenty of contemporary options. Leaner Mirrors has a selection at about £110 each. 

The £110 Paulownia Ceruse from Maisons du Monde would suit a shabby chic interior. Heal’s offers an elegant £299 version.  


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