Holiday Crafting Ideas for the Family


Photo of beeswax candle making by Annie MoleCall me perverse, but when I thought of holiday crafts, I remembered “whipped wax.” My mom was one imaginative Girl Scout leader, and she didn’t mind newspapers protecting her kitchen counters and egg beaters coated with wax and empty old coffee cans filled with melted paraffin. From this messy combination, we created block candles covered with white “foamy snow” and embedded with sequins or miniature pine cones.

Beautiful Candles with Less Mess

I thought the combination was magical alchemy, but I have to confess that I don’t have the same tolerance for chaos. When my children made candles for gifts, I provided sheets of beeswax for rolled candles. (Refer to pages 12 to 18 in Create Your Own Candles for beeswax tips.) Another holiday year, the three kids cut decorative shapes from thin sheets of colored wax and stuck the multi-colored designs on white pillar candles. Pages 108 and 109 in Family Crafting: Fun Projects to Do Together cover this technique.

A Stickier Situation .  . .

Speaking of sticking, I’m a great fan of decoupaged vases. All you need is a simple glass vase, a bunch of white glue or Mod Podge and tissue paper squares in pleasing colors. Room Crafts in the American Girl Library series gives some basic ideas on page 34. To take the project up a notch, use intricate Japanese washi paper as an accent. (I bop into Paper Source in Palo Alto or get lost in the Daiso store’s Mountain View location looking for crafting materials.)

Elegant Paper for Special People

I’m a great admirer of paper. Another magical process is making “marblelized” paper for place cards or bookmarks or note cards. Step by step instructions are nicely laid out in the wonderful book Gifts for the Family on pages 80 and 81. I found several stunning projects in this helpful compilation, including decoupage vases and a frosted glass and leaf votive candle.

Resources in the 745 Section of Your Library!

Stick your inquiring eyes into the 745 non-fiction section of your library and find tons of crafting ideas. Make sure the books you select have plenty of step by step photos and detailed instructions. Supplement with online information, and you’re on your way!

Photo credit: Annie Mole


Author Bio:

Arts and crafts have been a big part of Karen Y.'s life, from Girl Scout days to directing a Japanese cultural summer school for grades K-5 (with a huge emphasis on arts projects).

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