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Festive Holiday Crafts

Try some of these simple but special crafts that are perfect for decorating or gift-giving.

By Petra Guglielmetti; Craft Styling by Suzonne Stirling

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Let It Shine Craft
Wendell T. Webber
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Let It Shine

Transform a collection of mismatched vintage brass candlesticks into a dazzling centerpiece.

Here's how: Paint assorted brass candlesticks from thrift shops or flea markets with spray primer and cover with varying shades of metallic spray paint—chrome, champagne, nickel, white gold. Mist one or two in the arrangement with spray adhesive and dust on fine textured glitter in a shade to match the paint.

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Yule-Tied

Little decorative embellishments turn simple packages into wrap stars.

Here's how: Clockwise from left: Paint the lid of a brown papier-mache box with acrylic craft paint, dust with clear glitter, add silver ribbon and top with a cluster of wired pinecones. Layer mesh ribbon over a solid for a textured effect. Cover a box with industrial paper towels and tie up with a thin silver ribbon. String pearly glass beads onto metallic embroidery floss and wrap around package. Tie or tape ends on back. Use a strip of fancy printed paper on a plain box as an inexpensive alternative to wrapping it.

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A Pine Idea

Morph a plain tray into a party-perfect perch for holiday drinks.

Here's how: Spray-paint an inexpensive serving tray a metallic color—we used taupe. To create a stencil, flatten a sprig from an evergreen under a stack of heavy books for a few hours. Coat foliage with spray adhesive. Arrange on tray, pressing to ensure it sticks, then apply a light coat of satin-finish spray paint in a contrasting color—we used silver—over the stencil and entire tray. Remove stencil, let dry, and apply several coats of finishing spray to make the tray durable enough for drinks.

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It's a Snap

Personalized family photos make charming holiday decor or one-of-a-kind gifts.

Here's how: Cover unfinished wood frames with self-priming acrylic paint (smooth the frame with fine-grit sandpaper first, if necessary). Once fully dry, apply adhesive stencils or apply adhesive to the back of regular stencils. Use a stencil brush to stipple on a small amount of metallic paint in a contrasting color. Carefully remove the stencil and let dry. Repeat as needed, creating both light and dark designs.

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Novel Approach

A mini forest of silvery trees made from paperback books adds a shimmering touch to the mantel.

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Step 1: Tear off the front and back covers of a paperback book, leaving the binding intact.

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Step 2: Take the top corner of a page and fold it down to meet the binding.

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Step 3: Then fold the same page down to meet the binding again.

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Step 4: Turn up the resulting triangle at the bottom of the page so that it is even with the bottom of the book. Make the same three folds on the next page.

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Step 5: Repeat the folds on every page until the tree looks generously proportioned—about 150 pages. To make things easier, clip folded pages together as you go. Trim the excess pages off the binding by using a utility knife or box cutter to cut through the spine.

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Step 6: Glue first and last pages together so the tree fans around and stands on its own.

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Step 7: To decorate trees, mist edges with silver spray paint and glue on metallic rickrack "garlands." For topper, stick a toothpick through a rhinestone button shank and into book spine. Or glue bits of glittered floral pick to top. To make silver rosettes, wind small pieces of silver pipe cleaners into circles, gluing a pearl bead in the centers. Glue rosettes onto the tree.

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Soft Touch

Cozy up to a sweater-covered bowl filled with pretty glass ornaments.

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Step 1: Cut a piece from the bottom of a pullover sweater that's long and wide enough to wrap around the sides of a ceramic bowl.

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Step 2: Place the sweater band around the inside top rim of the bowl and affix using hot glue or quick-setting gel glue.

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Step 3: Smooth and glue down the sweater onto the outside of the bowl and under the bottom edge.

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Step 4: If fabric bunches, cut slits and trim excess fabric as needed to help you shape sweater to the bowl.

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Fashion Plate

Serve up something memorable for dessert—a dish decked out in your own design.

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Step 1: Sketch a border, like these scalloped rows of dots, on a plate using a ballpoint pen and transfer paper.

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Step 2: Remove the paper and trace over the faint impression left behind with a Pebeo Porcelaine fine-tip paint pen. The paint is nontoxic and can be used with food, but to be extra safe decorate the rim only. Let dry for 24 hours. Baking the plates following Pebeo directions will make them dishwasher-safe.

Originally published in the December 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.

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