Sunday, December 4, 2011

DIY holiday keepsakes {Guest Post}

Today we are welcoming Jessi,  
She is going to share some fun DIY Holiday Keepsakes with us!  
Take it away Jessi!
Crafting Holiday Memories That Will Last a Lifetime
One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the day I first pull out my “Christmas” box. Even though most of the items in there have been around for a long time, the excitement of opening it up doesn’t diminish as time goes on – in fact, in seems to grow. If your family is anything like mine, that box is full of hand-me-downs; decorations, ornaments and other items that I probably wouldn’t keep if they weren’t attached to a special memory. Regardless of how many I have, I’m always on the lookout for ways I can add to my collection in hopes of handing it down to my own children some day.
Holiday keepsakes don’t have to be extravagant and they certainly don’t need to be expensive. Creating something that will carry memories forever is not only easy to do, it can be done by you, right at home.

Hand-painted glass or ceramic ornaments

Hand-painted ornaments are a great gift or keepsake. In my family everyone made one ornament the last Christmas we were all together. When we celebrate the holidays separately our ornaments hang on our own trees. When we are together again, we will each hang our ornament when we arrive.
You will need:
    • 1 each undecorated glass or ceramic ornaments (these can be balls that will hang from the tree, or figurines that can be placed on the mantle)
    • Variety of bakeable ceramic paint
    • Paint brushes or sponges
    • Rubber stamps
    • Rubbing alcohol (for clean-up)
Clean the ornaments with a soft cloth? and rubbing alcohol to remove any debris from packaging or tags. Paint your chosen ornament with a background color the night before. Allow the paint to dry over night so that the decorations you want to add will not run and bleed into the background. You can use holiday colors, or your favorite color. These paints can be mixed for colors that you cannot find.
After the background has dried you can start painting the embellishments. If you want to paint free hand, paint something with personal meaning. These ornaments will be with you for years, and it is fun to look back at your creativity. You can paint your favorite holiday activity or gift. You can list the names of the people you are sharing your holiday with, or the names of those who couldn’t make it this year. Just make sure you use colors that will show up on your background color.
If you want to have a simple ornament, find some holiday themed rubber stamps. Lightly dip them into an accent color. Make sure there is only a little paint on the stamp, you want your design to show clearly. Gently press the stamp on the ornament. Be careful not to smudge. You can use the same stamp with the same color for a repeating pattern, or different stamps with different colors. If you want to use one stamp for two colors make sure you rinse the stamp with water between colors to prevent mixing. If you have time to spare before baking the ornaments, layer the stamps. Stamp a pattern with one color, let it dry overnight and stamp a pattern over top in a lighter color the next day.
Once the painting is done, and you’ve let the final coat dry overnight you can bake the ornament according to the paint maker’s instructions. Remember that your ornaments will have to cool in an unopened oven for several hours, to prevent cracking and breaking.


Gingerbread Keepsakes

Baking Gingerbread cookies and houses are a time-honored holiday tradition. The only downside is that the gingerbread we bake often get eaten before we can make them into decorations. If you want to have gingerbread that lasts forever, try using polymer clay. It bakes in the oven just like cookie dough and you and the kids won’t be tempted by the smell of gingerbread coming from the oven.
You will need:
·        2lbs terra-cotta colored clay (if you can’t find terra-cotta you can use another color and paint the baked cookie)
·        Various 2oz packages of colored polymer clay
·        Ginger bread people cookie cutters (or any shape will do)
·        Rolling pin or pasta machine for conditioning and rolling clay

Check out this video for help with conditioning your clay. Once it is softened roll it until it is about ¼ inch thick. Cut out the gingerbread shapes as you would cookie dough. Condition the colored clay and form it into buttons, facial features and other decorations for the gingerbread village. Press the decorations carefully into the “dough”. If you press too hard you can damage the shape of your decorations and ginger bread people. Bake according to the manufacturer’s directions. Now you will have gingerbread that will last a lifetime.



Personalized Decorative Tiles

There are many paints available in craft stores that can be baked onto ceramic in a domestic oven. White tiles with personalized designs can make great holiday decorations!
You will need:
    • White ceramic tiles (found at most hardware stores) one tile for each person
    • Ceramic or porcelain paint in the colors of your choice (found in craft stores)
    • Paintbrushes or sponges
    • Rubbing alcohol  (for cleaning up)
    • Masking or double sided tape
    • Holiday themed stencils
    • Felt (enough to cover the backs of the tiles)
    • Adhesive glue or strips

Feel free to try this free hand. If you do, you will not need the masking tape or stencils. If you are using the stencils you can use a sponge instead of a paintbrush.
First you will need to clean the tiles off using the rubbing alcohol. This will remove any residue that could be left behind from packaging or price tags.
If you’re using stencils, attach them with masking tape, then grab your paint and allow your creativity to take over. Once your design is complete, allow the paint to dry for 24 hours, touching up to increase color if necessary, and then bake in the oven according to the paint maker’s instructions.
When the tiles have fully cooled, cut out squares of felt to cover the backs of the tiles. Apply an adhesive to the entire back of the tile, and smooth down the felt. After it dries, cut off any excess felt. The felt backing will prevent the tiles from scratching surfaces, so that you can display your tiles anywhere.
These are only a few ideas to get you started, even more inspiration can be find with a quick internet search or by spending some time on Pinterest (if you haven’t already discovered this gem of a website, you’re welcome). As beautiful as each of these projects are, it’s not the items themselves that make them so special. It’s the memories attached to people who created them, what they’ve been used for over the years and the times spent enjoying the season together! Happy holidays!

Jessi is a do-it-yourself enthusiast who loves to write and is relatively new to the blogging world. She spends her time writing and helping homeowners over at, online source for DIY support and JennAir parts distributor.
Thanks Jessi for sharing with us today! 


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