Cosy up inside and get creative with these stunning festive craft ideas. We’ve selected projects that are suitable for the smallest of hands, as well as some that will keep older children absorbed for hours, too…
Cork penguins & snowmen
Cover the table with newspaper. Paint corks with white acrylic paint. Leave to dry on the newspaper, then apply a second coat. Once dry, use black and orange permanent markers to draw faces and bodies on your snowmen and penguins. Cut out strips of green felt for scarves and glue into place. Help little ones screw an eyelet screw (the kind you use to hang pictures) into the top of each figure, then thread a stretch of ribbon through each eyelet hook and hang your finished figures from the Christmas tree.
Cookie cutter baubles
Gather together ribbon, festive gingerbread cutters and old Christmas cards or a pack of Christmas scrapbooking paper. Trace the shape of each cutter onto different cards (or sheets of scrapbooking paper) with a pencil, then cut out the shapes. Glue around the edge of each cutter (a hot glue gun or tube of strong glue with a nozzle is easiest for this), then stick the cut-out card in place. Leave to dry. Find a needle with an eye big enough to thread your ribbon through. Use the needle to carefully poke a 1cm horizontal line in the card along the top of each bauble. Thread the needle with a strip of ribbon and pull through the hole of your first bauble, then remove the needle and tie a knot with the ribbon. Repeat with the rest of the baubles, then hang them from your Christmas tree.
Salt dough modelling clay
Get the family in the festive spirit by making salt dough letters or simple shapes and figures. To start, heat your oven to its lowest setting and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Mix 125g plain flour with 150g salt in a large bowl. Add 125ml water and stir until the mixture comes together into a clean ball. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Use your hands or cookie cutters to shape the dough into snowmen, Christmas trees, letters or any other designs your children fancy. Arrange the shapes on the lined baking sheet and pop in the oven for 3 hrs, or until solid. Leave to cool, then paint and varnish with craft varnish and a sprinkle of glitter. Read our full guide to making salt dough.
Toy-box table place settings
Raid the kids’ toy box for little plastic animals and toy cars to decorate your Christmas table. Write the names of your friends and family on labels and assign each person a toy. Wrap old raisin packets in scraps of wrapping paper to look like miniature presents, then tie to the top of the cars with twine. Alternatively, top the cars with miniature bottle brush Christmas trees. Make easy Father Christmas hats for the toys from white cupcake cases: draw a solid red circle on each wrapper, leaving about 1cm border at the edge, then fold in half and halve again. Wrap into a cone, glue into shape and stick a little white pompom to the top of each hat, then pop on the toy animals’ heads. If you have any corks left over from making cork snowmen (see above), you can make photo name place settings, too: cut a slit in the top of each cork and slide in a name tag and photo of each of your guests.
Handprinted wrapping paper
Paint the palms of your child’s hands with red paint and their fingers with white paint, then press onto brown paper to make Father Christmas faces. Leave the designs to dry, then add details with a black marker. As well as handprints, you can also create festive designs with thumbprints: try white thumbprint snowmen (using a black pen to draw on eyes and mouths and coloured marker pens for noses and scarves); black and white thumbprint penguins (using an orange pen for noses); or brown thumbprint Rudolphs (using a red pen for noses and a black pen for eyes and mouths).
Pine cone Christmas trees
Collect pine cones on a wintry walk with the kids. Cover a table with newspaper and spray the cones with metallic silver paint. Cut little stars from card for the top of your pine cone trees and spray these with silver paint, too. Once dry, sit the pine cone trees in little glasses or pots and surround with used matchboxes or raisin packets covered in off-cuts of wrapping paper to look like miniature presents. Use to decorate a shelf or festive dinner table. Alternatively, place in your child’s dollhouse so that the dolls have a Christmas tree, too.
This sleeping angel makes a lovely keepsake or gift. To make the bed, cover a large, empty matchbox in snowflake-patterned wrapping paper and cut out a rectangle of green felt to fit inside the box. To make the angel, paint ¾ of a wooden ice lolly stick with white paint (for her dress), then decorate the top of the stick with yellow paint (for her hair). Use marker pens to draw on eyes and a mouth, then varnish the angel with simple craft varnish. To make her halo, fold a silver foil twist tag (the kind that comes with sandwich bags) around her head and snip away the excess at the back. Cut wings from a scrap of fabric and glue in place. Glue buttons or little wooden decorations in place on your angel, if you like. Find a matchbox-sized bag to hold the finished gift and decorate with ribbon or buttons. Cut out a festive message from a Christmas catalogue or magazine and stick it onto a gift label, then attach to the gift bag.
Sewing box Christmas cards
Give the kids a selection of fabric ribbon, fabric off-cuts and buttons and let them make their own cards. Use glue to stick the ribbon and buttons in place. You can make a Christmas angel card using the lolly stick angel from the matchbox craft project above. Alternatively, make mini versions of these cards as gift tags.
Christmas song lyric tapestry
Tweens and teens can make a tapestry of their favourite Christmas song. Start by writing the lyrics on a piece of plain A4-sized cross-stitch canvas with a pencil. Use contrasting colours of cross-stitch cotton thread to sew your design in a simple neat backstitch. Frame your finished embroidery and give as a gift or keep to display on Christmas mantlepiece.
Peg doll & cardboard nativity
Make nativity scene figures by decorating plain wooden peg dolls with craft paints and marker pens. Varnish with craft varnish and leave to dry. Use a small pile of shredded paper for the manger. Create a backdrop of a stable scene with two sides of a used cardboard box – cut out the shape of a stable from one flap, then cut out a window and door from the same flap. Fold at the box’s natural crease to form a supporting base. Cut out a small piece of baking parchment and tape over the back of the window and door. Place battery-powered fairy lights behind the baking parchment to light up the stable. You can tape the cardboard base in place on a tray or shelf once finished and use the battery pack from the lights (or something else with a bit of weight to it) to prop it up at the back. We added a little glue and white glitter along the roof of our stable for snow, as well as a simple star of Bethlehem.
We’d love to see your creations at home! Tag us @bbcgoodfood and use #bbcgoodfood and we’ll share some of our favourites.
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