Thursday, 13 December 2012

Crafty decorations from an old Advent calendar

I have a bit of a problem with Christmas tree decorations. I can't stop buying them. FAR too twinkly and tempting. My all time favourites are some Gisela Graham ones from years ago, bought in the days before her decorations lost a little of their magic. I think. You can still get the earlier ones, like her beautiful fairies, on ebay....
But I'm trying really hard not to look this year - and as we've been doing a fair bit of Christmas craft, I thought we'd have a go at making our own, using the plastic tray from inside last year's chocolate Advent calendar. I'd tucked it away with this in mind.

You'll also need some plaster of paris (I used a packet from an old model kit), thread, paint, metallic spray (optional), glue and glitter.

First cut some decent lengths of thread for hanging the decorations - make a loop and tie a knot at the end. Trim the loose bits quite close to the knot.

I put the threads into the moulds before pouring or spooning in the plaster, but you could do it after, if you're quick, and use the end of a teaspoon to push the knot in.

Two parts plaster to one part cold water, is what you're after - having looked up mixing tips, we poured the water into the plaster - and somehow missed all the instructions that advise adding the plaster gradually to the water! This probably would have been better, because ours was thick and lumpy - ideally you want the mixture to have a smooth, creamy consistency, like pancake batter. The backs of our decorations were a little bumpy (if this happens let them start to set and when still softish, wet your finger and smooth over)

Leave overnight if you can, and then carefully pop them out - do watch though, as some of ours flew out, with one or two little accidents. Pick off any extra unwanted bits.

Then decorate them any way you like. My 5 year old painted hers and I sprayed a few, using the leftover gold on the newspaper to add some highlights.

When they were dry we got out the glue and the glitter. Yay! The house is covered in it at the moment. Anything taken out of the kids school bags seems to leave a sprinkly, sparkly trail, and the carpet is glinting at me, no matter how often I run the hoover over it.
It is the time to give in to glitter...

A quick varnish or a coat of clear nail polish would help protect the decorations, and give them some extra shine.

Linking up with Kids Get Crafty over at Red Ted Art where there are loads of fun ideas,
and The Gallery - the theme this week is It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!


  1. You are so resourceful! Bet the children loved painting those! :) x

    1. They did! Thanks Emma. I like resourceful - makes me feel better about hoarding stuff from the recycling pile! :) x

  2. Very cute idea! Love this.

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!


  3. Do you know, these are brilliant, but homemade Christmas tree decs are the one thing that I have a total aversion to - years of the blown and hand 'painted' egg shells, loo roll father christmases and paper chains that my mum brought out year after year have left me with a total and utter inability to apply homemade decs to the tree now that I have my own in my own home. It's tasteful silver all the way. Isn't that dreadful!

    1. no it's not...they're not everyone's cup of tea! Have to say I do have a problem with paper chains, and I'm sure that's down to paper chain overload when I was a kid. I've a friend who always has a colour themed tree and it does look fantastic. What do you do with the stuff that comes back from school? Mine have a tree (branch more accurate) for all their colourful, glittery things!
      I could always spray something silver for you?....

    2. actually, so far nothing has come back from school this year - I don't mind garish decs in other parts of the house, anyway, and they have a 'playroom' so their stuff always goes in there. It's just the tree that I must have as I want it - I don't buy new stuff each year for it, but when I do get new bits and bobs I must know that it's going to 'fit'

    3. I bet your tree looks gorgeous - do you do clear glass as well as silver? Love glass icicles and have a beautiful string of glass bells my dad gave me years ago.
      I have a ridiculous amount of decorations, you can hardly see the tree. Definitely bright! But I haven't bought any this year. Yet.
      I'm sure there'll be a few shiny things coming home in school bags this week x

  4. That's a fantastic idea and so simple. I'm stealing it to use for my Guides next year!