Design & Decor - Crafts

Personalize your Christmas tree with kids

Making ornaments from nature is child's play!

What nature-loving kid can resist pocketing such treasures as new-fallen acorns and pine cones, lichen-covered twigs, and bright green moss? A fun way to encourage your child's interest in nature is to help him transform his bounty into holiday decorations. Just gather promising materials as you clean up your garden, walk around your neighborhood or hike in the forests. The supermarket is a source of other natural materials such as apples, oranges, cranberries and popcorn. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Spruce cones make great mice to hide among the branches of your Christmas tree. From one cone, remove enough scales to make ears for each of your remaining cones. Glue two ears on each head, then add googly eyes. Glue a 15-centimetre yarn or felt tail on the back end.

Stars made of twigs look pretty hanging on a tree or in a window. Using pruning shears, cut five 15-centimetre lengths for each star. Tie one pair of twigs together near the ends with string, winding it around and between to form a V-shape. Repeat with the remaining twigs, arranging them to form a five-pointed star. Cut five 15-centimetre lengths of raffia; tie a double knot over the thread on each point. Attach a loop of raffia to hang the decoration.

Styrofoam balls covered with moss look wonderful on a tree or collected in a bowl. Simply coat the surface of a five-centimetre Styrofoam ball with white glue; roll it in moss, then press firmly until it adheres. To make a string hanger, drill two holes in an acorn top, pull string through and tie. Glue cap to ball. Decorate with hemlock cones, rose hips, dried flowers, berries or dried poppy heads.

Gilded pine cones with sparkling tips are beautiful hung on a tree, in a window or over a doorway. Spray pine cones with gold or silver paint and let dry. Using paintbrushes, apply glue on the tips of the pine cone scales. Shake on glitter or sparkles; let dry overnight.

For tree ornaments that also look festive mixed in a large glass bowl with painted, round ornaments, soak some pine cones in a bucket of water until they close up. Dry the outside of the pine cones with rags. Spray or brush on craft or glitter paints. When the pine cones are dry, they will open and only their tips will be coloured. To make hangers, tie a 15-centimetre length of fishing line around the top of each cone.

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