Festive on the Cheap: A Last-Minute Guide to DIY Holiday Decor


Have you finished decorating for the holidays yet? If you’re planning to deck the halls last-minute this season, don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered with fun DIY projects that’ll add a dose of cheer to any home. A quick trip to the craft store and household objects are all you need to fashion a winter wonderland out of cardboard, top the tree with a sweet felt star, or spruce up a bland wall with a lovely, Christmas carol lyrics-adorned banner. Pop open a bottle of wine and unleash your inner Martha Stewart with our roundup of simple holiday home decor projects.

Christmas Lyrics Glitter Banner

If you want to add a DIY touch to any room this season, but aren’t artistically inclined, fear not, dear reader! Katie’s Pencil Box has put together a simple tutorial for creating gorgeous banners featuring classic holiday song lyrics that only requires you to glue, cut, and glitter. Get the how-to and lyric templates here.

Shimmering Stacked Trees

If there’s one time to watch Martha Stewart, it’s during the holidays. The craft maven and her team of DIY elves have a slew of magical crafts, tips, and dishes to enliven your celebrations. Plus, they’re all handmade, like this stacked tree fashioned out of newspaper, felt, Sculpey clay, and glitter glass, which you can learn how to make here.

Chindi Reindeer

The blog Honestly…WTF fashioned their own version of Anthropologie’s pricey Chindi Reindeer using repurposed cotton and jersey shirts, which they cut, twirled, and wrapped around a papier-mâché figure. Get your glue gun warmed up and see how they did it here.

Christmas Crackers

A holiday tradition overseas, these gorgeous paper crafts keep candy, notes, and other surprises safe, while looking mighty pretty on any side table. Place these party favors around your living room, after making a batch with the help of directions from Design Sponge.

Can Lid Christmas Card Diorama

Every year, we all face the same dilemma: what to do with all of those holiday cards piling up on the side table? Trashing something someone put time and thought into seems kind of heartless. While cutting and decoupaging them into a collage is a viable option, Better Homes and Gardens has a, well, better idea — transforming the cards into diorama ornaments using can lids. Learn how to recycle your seasonal greetings over here.

Eccentric Christmas Stockings

Boho clothing label Free People has created a killer Christmas stocking that strays far from the typical red felt and mundane knitted versions hanging from most mantles. The imaginative stockings only require you to dig through the craft chest or make a trip to the craft store for playful embellishments — trims, pom-poms, glitter, really, whatever your heart desires — to glue-gun, sew, and embroider with. Check out the Free People blog for some inspiration and instructions on how to doll up your old stocking.

Homemade Gingerbread House

Gingerbread houses have been a Christmas staple for centuries. We’ve already explored the pop culture-inspired creations artists and bakers have produced by manipulating gingerbread, so, instead of picking up one of those pre-made gingerbread-in-a-box kits, why not fashion your own house from scratch? Not only will it taste better than that graham-cracker kit you can buy at the drug store, but you’ll be free to put your own creative stamp on the building. Add a touch of edible decor to your home this season, with the aid of Globe Trotter Diaries’ recipe.

Homemade Snow Globe

Did you know you could fashion snow globes out of Mason jars? The Hairpin’s Lucia Martinez put together a helpful guide on how to add glittery, shakable cheer to your home this Christmas. Although the process of making them is tedious — have fun peeling the membrane off of a hard-boiled egg shell — the results are killer, and customizable since you can place any figurine inside. My Little Pony snow globe, movie-character snow globe, abstract design snow globe… so many possible snow globes!

Clay Lollipop Ornaments

If you want to add a unique, personal touch to your Christmas tree, making your own ornaments is a great idea. Not only will your tree will be loaded with personality and homemade love, but ornament-making this year can pave the way for a new holiday tradition. We were drawn to Creature Comforts’ tutorial on clay lollipop ornaments because, well, they’re adorable, but also totally customizable! If swirly candy symbols are too saccharine for your taste, you can recreate the clay base and paint the circle with geometric patterns, illustrations of loved ones’ faces, tiny typography — the options are endless.

Book Pages Wreath

Depending on where you stand on the issue of transforming books into art, this next project might make you squeal in delight or cringe. We’re of the book-lovers-who-enjoy-repurposed-art variety, so breathing life into an old paperback seems like a wonderful idea for quirky holiday wreaths that abandon the pine needle and florescent-hued tinsel aesthetic. Also, this is insanely simple to make — paint the edges of an old book and remove and roll the pages before glue-gunning them onto a styrofoam wreath, attaching ribbon, and hanging. Get the step-by-step instructions over here. Bonus: an avant-garde yarn ball wreath.

Pine Cone Garland

Pine cones serve as holiday decor throughout autumn and winter, lending a cozy, earthy vibe to walls and shelves. Cake created a pine cone garland how-to guide that entails picking, spray painting, and tying the seasonal staple to twine.

Glittered Tree Door Mat

Generally, the holidays entail a revolving troupe of family, friends, and loved ones visiting your home, and what better way to greet them at the door than with a festive mat to brush the snow off their shoes? Unlike cheesy, mass-market holiday rugs, this mat created by A Beautiful Mess is artsy and easy to make.

Rustic Snowflakes

With the abundance of snowflake projects on the interwebs, we thought we’d stray away from the usual suspects — paper, yarn, felt — and bring something more rustic to the table. Little Things Bring Smiles created this guide to creating lovely snowflakes out of twigs, before decorating them with pine needles, twine, and — the best part — red buttons that symbolize berries.

Christmas Tree Star

Now that you’ve created ornaments, adorned mantle pieces with garland, and spruced up walls with banners and snowflakes, it’s time to put the finishing touches on the decorating festivities with a star. The Purl Bee created this fantastic three-dimensional star out of felt, which can be placed atop of trees, hung from the ceiling, or placed in window displays. It’s reminiscent of the felt creations seen in The Science of Sleep , no? Learn how to sew up a holiday star of your own here.