6 delightful DIY decorations to deck your halls

These pared-back decorations celebrate an Australian Christmas in style.
Cath Muscat

There is nothing quite like a hand-made treasure to help make your home feel warm and welcoming at Christmas time. Ensure the most wonderful time of the year is even more joyous with these six handmade gifts and decoration projects that will bring instant seasonal joy to your abode.

1. fabric gift wrapping

Remnants of fabric, partnered with natural touches, are the ideal solution for gift wrapping with a carefree, sophisticated style.

Materials Needed: Fabric scissors, pieces of fabric in assorted fibres and colours, selection of flora.

To Make: Cut fabric to suit size of gift. For a square- shaped gift, lay fabric flat and shaped like a diamond. Place gift in centre. Fold one corner over gift. Fold opposite corner over the top. Bring together the other two corners of fabric and tie in a knot to secure. For unusual-shaped gifts, experiment with size and shape of fabric. Decorate gifts with leaves, small branches or handmade name tags.

Tip: Select soft, natural fabrics such as linen or cotton for a touch of elegant simplicity.

2. personalised name tags

Made from white air-dry clay, these personalised keepsakes can be used year after year. Position a tag on each place setting at your Christmas table, hang them on your tree or use them as gift tags.

Materials Needed: Rolling pin, air-dry clay, cookie cutters in Christmas shapes, damp sponge, letter stamps, pin, scissors, white cord.

To Make: Using rolling pin, roll out clay on clean surface. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Set aside. When clay is slightly hardened, smooth edges with sponge. Gently stamp names into centre of shapes. Use a pin to pierce a small hole near top of each tag. Cut and thread a length of cord through each hole. Tie to make loops. Leave to dry for 24 hours.

Tip: Display handmade name tags atop linen napkins and decorate your Christmas table settings with a fresh-cut olive branch.

3. advent calender

As you near December 25, add to the excitement of Santa’s arrival by starting each day with a lovely message or small gift.

Materials Needed: Pen, C6 white envelopes (25), printer (optional), scissors, white cord, sticky tape or pins, white-painted pinboard or similar, paper or card (for handwritten notes), small gifts, small wooden pegs (25), selection of flora.

To Make: Using pen, neatly write numbers 1–25 on bottom right-hand corner of each envelope. Alternatively, print numbers with your home printer. Measure and cut five 1m lengths of cord. Tape or pin cord to a white- painted pinboard or similar, spacing each one to suit.

Place handwritten notes or small gifts inside each envelope. Working from the top row, left to right, peg the envelopes onto the string in numerical order. Decorate the calendar with sprigs of flora on randomly selected envelopes. Starting December 1, take turns to open an envelope until the big day.

4. eucalyptus and bells garland

Ring in the season with a gorgeous garland featuring mini golden bells and sprigs of softly scented eucalyptus. Drape it anywhere you please.

Materials Needed: White cord, scissors, small golden bells, 10cm- long sprigs of eucalyptus.

To Make: Measure cord to desired length – add an extra 50cm. Cut cord to suit. Tie one end of cord to one bell. Tie a sprig of eucalyptus up against bell. Wrap cord around length of sprig, then attach another bell. Continue alternating between bells and eucalyptus until all of the cord is covered. Hang garland from walls or stair rails, or use as a table decoration.

5. festive half wreaths

Hang a display of striking wreaths on your front door or around your home for a contemporary spin on the season’s decorating.

Materials Needed: Selection of fresh- cut flora, secateurs, steel rings in 200mm-dia (2) and 300mm-dia (1), florist wire, fishing line, scissors, self-adhesive removable hooks.

To Make: Cut flora to manageable size and lay it over one ring – leaving half of the ring exposed – to determine what arrangement looks best. Once happy with the look, secure one stem at a time using florist wire. Continue until all stems are attached, ensuring foliage conceals wire. Tie a length of fishing line to the top of the hoop. Repeat for remaining two hoops. Hang wreaths from self-adhesive hooks.

Tip: Choose hardy fresh-cut foliage that will dry beautifully – try olive, eucalyptus and rosemary.

6. make a wish light jar

This magical, twinkling jar is the perfect spot for kids to place notes for Santa or their best wishes for the Christmas holiday.

Materials Needed: Battery-operated string of lights, jar with lid, pen, paper, eucalyptus sprigs.

To Make: Place lights inside jar – keep battery pack outside of jar. Write a note or wish on a strip of paper. Place paper inside jar and put it in a special place. Turn lights on at night for the ‘Make A Wish’ jar to work its magic! Decorate with eucalyptus sprigs nearby.

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