It’s that time of year again, and what better way to get in the holiday spirit than to freshen up your decor with some holiday DIY projects? Anyone that knows me or my home decor and DIY blog, A Little Kooky, knows how much I love to renovate, decorate and otherwise update my home. It’s what I do. But what I love even more is saving money while doing so. So in the spirit of saving and sharing, here are three simple projects I’ve done for my own home—and that anyone can do—to spice things up this holiday, without spending mucho holiday dinero.
3 Holiday DIY Projects Anyone Can Do!
Clothespin Card Wreath
We all know the feeling. Opening up yet another holiday card from a friend or loved one, and thinking to yourself…. Now what in the world am I supposed to do with this?! The cards stack up, and the guilt of doing anything but keeping—slash hoarding—those cards does, too. So in an effort to control the chaos, I created a super cute (and eh hem, super cheap) wreath that keeps the crazy in check.
- Wreath form—I opted for styrofoam, but you could use wire, cardboard, etc.
- Burlap (or other material to wrap your form)
- Clothespins (between 50-100)
- Hot glue gun
- Green spray paint (optional)
- Ribbon or other material for bow
- Wrap your form in burlap, securing the ends with hot glue. One word of warning: Be careful not to use so much glue that you melt your styrofoam. You only need enough to secure the burlap.
- Glue your clothespins to the wreath, making sure the “clip” ends are facing outward. This is what will hold your cards, and you want those cards surrounding the outside, not the inside. As for the spacing of the clothespins, it’s purely subjective. I preferred a little peek of burlap between my pins, but this would look beautiful if they were perfectly side-by-side as well.
I should also note that I fully intended to spray paint my clothespins green to give my wreath a true “evergreen” appearance, but once I wrapped it in burlap, I loved the natural look so much, I scrapped the spray paint on the spot. Plus, no paint = less time = BONUS. Do whatever works for your space and your personal preference, and if you do decide to spray paint, using a shoebox to do so is my best advice.
- Loop a piece of twine around your wreath so you have something to hang it from. You could also use a thicker piece of burlap, a decorative ribbon, or a million other things. I opted for twine to keep with the natural aesthetic I was creating.
- All that’s left to do now is add a bow, or other embellishment, to trim it out. I chose a bow using some of my leftover burlap, and a glittery red ribbon to add a touch of holiday.
Sharing the steps to create the perfect bow is an entire DIY post all its own, so I’ll simplify with a basic breakdown of what I did. I started by cutting a couple pieces of both burlap and ribbon, and then I glued them into loops. Then I took three of those loops, stacked them together and secured it with glue. Gathering them in the middle, I then wrapped another piece of ribbon around the center and tied it tightly in the back. That’s essentially it, aside from gluing longer pieces to the back and then determining the positioning of the finished piece.
Use this clothespin wreath to keep your holiday cards from overwhelming your home! Hang it on the wall, add your cards and enjoy your handmade project this holiday.
Keepsake Invitation Ornament
The only thing I hate worse than holiday cards cluttering up my house, is wedding invitations, baby shower invitations and other completely random invitations that I can’t bring myself to part with, cluttering up my house. What always ends up happening (at least to me) is these so-called “keepsakes” see the inside of junk drawers, storage bins and generally dark and scary places, rather than living up to their “keepsake” name. If this sounds familiar, consider yourself saved, because I have a simple project to declutter, and class up your holiday tree, at the same time.
- Clear glass ornament
- Invitation (I used my wedding invitation)
- Exacto knife
- Cutting mat
- Coordinating ribbon
- Cut your invitation into thin ¼” to ½” strips using a ruler and an Exacto. If you’ve got a steady hand, don’t worry about guidelines, but if you’re known to be a little nuts-o with anything exact-o (sorry, couldn’t help myself :), do yourself a favor and measure/mark first and cut second. Just a friendly tip.Take care to capture special details like names, location, date, etc. These will be the bits you can read through the ornament, so make sure you preserve the proper ones.
2. Wrap each strip tightly around a pencil to give it its spiral shape. Cardboard hold its shape better than thinner paper, so just make sure you are wrapping tightly.
3. Remove the top of your ornament and place the strips inside. There is no right or wrong way to do this, but I sort of rotated between colors when placing them in.
4. Add any decorative details to the outside. We had a silver ribbon around our invitation, so I used that, as well as another ivory ribbon to capture our main wedding colors.
That’s it! Hang it on your tree, or gift it to a friend—I’ve done this a few times, and take it from me, people LOVE this—and admire your holiday handiwork!
CHICKEN WIRE DEER HEAD
I want to preface this final project with one thing: This was NOT my original idea, but when I saw a fellow blogger I admire post a DIY deer head, I had to try it for myself. And I have to admit, even if I DID have this idea, there is no way I would’ve given it much thought. That’s because the mere notion of forming a deer head out of basic chicken wire seemed not only impossible, but also a little cray cray to me. Boy was I wrong. Thank you, Rebekah at Charming Imperfections for helping me—and with any luck, some of you—create a holiday showstopper.
- Chicken wire
- A protective pair of gloves
- Wire cutters
- Pliers or other tools to manipulate wire
- Patience (mandatory), and a full-bodied bottle of red wine (optional)
Before I jump in, it helped me to first think about the basic building blocks of this piece. It’s essentially made up of a bunch of cylinders (or cones) twisted together to form a deer head:
1 large cone = neck
1 medium cone = head + nose
2 small cones = ears
4+ long, skinny cones = antlers
Start by Google image searching “deer heads” and “deer head profiles.” Choose the one that most appeals to you. Take note of the neck shape, ear placement and antler style as those are the biggest pieces of this project to tackle.
The Neck: Once you have your “style” selected, start by cutting a large cone for the base, the neck. Try for about a 12-inch diameter on the bottom, and a 6-inch diameter on the top. Twist the ends together (which is the MOST tedious part of every step), and you’ve got your base. Warning: Don’t forget to wear your gloves or it’ll look like you’ve been attacked by an animal. I’m speaking from experience here.
Once you’ve got your neck “cone,” take a step back and you’ll realize it doesn’t look realistic with its straight edges. To give the chest the curvature it needs, crimp your wire toward the neck little by little.
Then, hold your neck up to your wall, and you’ll notice that it juts straight out at a 90-degree angle if you keep the bottom as is. To fix this, snip the bottom at an angle, matching the angle you want it to sit on the wall. Check out my pictures for reference.
This is what it should look like once you snip the bottom to the proper angle:
The Head: Like the neck, the head is just another cone, but this time it’s about half the size. See first picture below for reference. Also like the neck, the head needs some crimping and shaping (so does the nose, for that matter) to make it look realistic, so use your reference image as your guide, and get to shapin’. In the end, you’ll be left with your two main pieces—the head and the neck—so now all you have to do is twist them together.
The Ears & Antlers: Same story here, but the ears are obviously much smaller than the head, and the great thing about the antlers is that they can be whatever you want them to be. Real antlers are far from perfect or symmetrical, so don’t get too hung up on making them just so.
Here’s an example of an ear:
And here are my antlers:
Now all that’s left is binding the ears and antlers to your head, and finding the perfect spot for your showpiece! I embellished my deer head with some holiday greenery, but the sky is the limit!
Thanks again to Rebekah at Charming Imperfections for giving me the inspiration, original tutorial and most of all, confidence, to tackle this project. I think in the future I may add more “cones” to my antlers to make them look more robust, but for now, I’m simply admiring my deer head in all its chicken wire glory.
I hope you all rock out these DIY projects this holiday, and check out my blog for daily doses of kookiness and decor inspo. Happy holidays!
About the Author
Morgan is a full-time writer & associate creative director for a downtown Milwaukee ad agency. And full-time mom & wife for an uptown home. (How’s that for a job title?) She began her love affair with writing at UW Oshkosh, but honed her craft at Miami Ad School. She’s worked everywhere from traditional Mad Men-esque agencies to branding firms to digital shops. When she’s not writing for her clients, she’s writing, DIY-ing and doing lots of other-ing things for her design blog: Alittlekooky.com. The rest of her free time is spent eating, sleeping, traveling, running, practicing yoga and attempting NOT to instill in her toddlers the colorful vocabulary that she has.