Friday, December 19, 2014

DIY Retro Christmas Crafts
Fill your home with mid century cheer this holiday!

Have you been thinking of adding a little retro charm to your holiday season this year? Here's a list of authentic Christmas crafts from the 50s and 60s that range from super simple, to slightly complex. So break out the scissors and glitter (and possibly a jigsaw) and let's get started!

Glamorize Your Christmas Candles (1953)

Candlelight adds a glow to the holiday season. Here's how to add an additional glow to your candles easily and inexpensively.

Items you'll need
Pillar Candles and almost any material at hand can be used to decorate candles that have an otherwise drab appearance, including stickers, ribbons, buttons, foil, sequins, beads, and old jewelry. The scrapbooking section of your local craft store would be a great place to look for decorative pins and adornments.


This is a great project for kids! Choose the candles you wish to use, thick pillar candles are best because they tend to melt inwards and they don't break as easily. Decorate your candles however you wish with the materials you have. Items can be affixed to candles using a glue gun or simple sewing pins. Remember, do not leave your candles burning unattended, especially if you decorate them with ribbons or other flammable materials. 

Easy Mini Christmas Trees (1953)

Production-line decorations are fine if you're in a hurry, but making your own is a lot more fun. When the whole family gets together to make its own holiday spirit, that's when real Christmas memories are in the making!

Items you'll need

Tinfoil, cranberries (or red beads), feathers, 12" tall Styrofoam cone and 4" x 4" Styrofoam rectangle, apple, evergreen branches, feathers, glitter, gold or silver ribbon, sequins, white glue, and a glue gun. 


Tree #1 - Cut a tree shape out of thick tinfoil. Let kids decorate them with cranberries or beads of their choice. Decorations can be affixed with a glue gun, but if you're worried about young kids burning their fingers you can use standard white glue.
Tree #2 -  Start by covering your rectangular Styrofoam base in a thin layer of white glue and then covering it in glitter. Dip the quill of each feather in glue and stick them into the cone with the underside of the feather up. If quill is weak, make a hole first using a needle. Make one row around the bottom of the tree with feathers 3" long. For the next 3" use feathers 5" or 6" long. Then finish with shorter feathers, using tiny ones at the top. Affix tree to glitter base using a glue gun. Decorate with sequins and glitter if desired.
Tree #3 - School-age youngsters can make this tree without any help. Short branches of fir are stuck into a cored apple and dotted with gold or silver bows. Tie the ribbons into bows directly onto tree branches (or let them decorate it however they want!) Nice for your coffee table!

Simple Christmas Tree Window Decor (1958)

Large, floor-to-ceiling windows offer wonderful opportunities for the "artist at home" to go to work.

Items you'll need

colored masking tape, paper, pencil.


These stately trees, each topped by a star, were inspired by the exciting array of masking tapes now available. Keep your design simple, sketch out your design roughly on paper (if you wish) then make it come to life on the window using strips of masking tape. 

Atomic Christmas Starburst (1958)

These easy to make wall decorations will make your home sparkle this holiday season.

Items you'll need

Wooden paint stirrers, wooden plant labels in different sizes, paint, glitter, glue, flat foam or wooden disk.


Another great craft for kids! Wooden paint stirrers and plant labels, available at any hardware store, are used to shape these smart wall decorations. Just paint the stakes any color you wish and decorate with glitter is desired. When dry, glue them to foam or wooden disk. If you can't find these materials at your local hardware store your local craft store will carry an array affordable wood working pieces in different shapes and sizes.

Miniature Decorative Tree (1958)

A festive coffee table center piece for added holiday cheer.

Items you'll need

12" Styrofoam cone, 4" Styrofoam disk base, green pipe cleaners, small piece of satin, small Christmas ornaments of your choice, glue gun, wooden stake or dowel. 


Using the wooden stake or dowel, affix the Styrofoam cone to the Styrofoam base. Wrap the base in satin (or any fabric you desire) and attach it with a glue gun. Attach the pipe cleaners vertically along the cone with your glue gun until it has been completely covered. Attach ornaments of your choice around the tree with your glue gun for added cheer. 

Festive Christmas Wrapping (1955)

Add to the gaiety of gift-giving by dressing up your packages with bouncy bows and funny faces.

Items you'll need

Wrapping paper, scotch tape, ribbons, bows, scissors, candy, tissue paper, stickers, buttons, old Christmas cards, and anything else you can think of!


Begin by wrapping your gifts the way you normally would. Use different sized bows, ribbon, old Christmas cards, candy, and anything else you can find to embellish the gifts and personalize them for each family member.

Open Circle Tree Centerpiece (1958)

This open-circle tree is light enough in scale and appearance to be used on your dining room table. 

Items you'll need

Heavy cardboard 36" long, mailing tubes, toilet paper tubes, gold foil or gold paint, colored paper, single and double-faced tape, glue.


1. Cut three strips of heavy cardboard, 36" long and 1.5" wide. Cut six strips 34.5" long and 1.5" wide. Cut three strips 9" long and 1.5" wide. 

2.Tape together one strip of each length to form a tall triangle.

3. Repeat step two, making three identical triangles.

4. Cut three strips heavy cardboard, 16" long, 1.5" wide. 

5. Mark these strips into 4-, 8-, 4- inch sections; score, fold, and tape into base of each triangle to form lower "shelf".

6. Cover completed triangles neatly with foil paper or gold paint.

7. Tape remaining three  34.5" strips together to form a 3 sided tube to which the three triangles can be taped in standing position to form a tree.

8. Cut tubes into 1.5" wide rings. Tubes can also be made in a variety of diameters from poster board.

9. Cover rings with colored paper and fit them into triangles. Fix in place with double sided tape.

10. Add folded paper or glass star to the top. Hang ornaments in some of the rings as desired

Spiky Starburst (1958)

This three dimensional star is as much fun to make as it is beautiful see.

Items you'll need

Several sheets of sturdy posterboard in colors of your choice, stapler, double sided tape, light weight paper sized 15 "x 30", lightweight cardboard 30" x 30"


1. Fold lightweight paper in half to make a square, as in fig. 1, and diagonally to make a triangle as in fig.2. Bring one folded edge to the other folded edge, keeping point sharp, as in fig 3.

2. Unfold paper, the creases should divide it into eight triangular sections meeting at the center of the bottom edge.

3. Make a dot 15" from center, left and right, on bottom edge, and on creases 2, 4, and 6 in fig. 4.

4. Make a dot 7.5" from center on creases 1, 3, 5, and 7 in fig. 4.

5. Connect dots to form half of an 8-ray star, fig. 4.                                                                  

6. Cut out star. Use this paper pattern to make a complete 8-ray star from the 30" x 30" cardboard. Cut out complete star.

7. From paper pattern, cut off two half rays (A in fig. 5), leaving three points.

8. Make eight tracings of this three point pattern on colored or white posterboard, marking each tracing at the point where creases meet on the original pattern.

9. Cut out the eight tracings. Using a ruler as a guide, make a long fold down the center of each of the three rays in each section. 

10. Fold each section around to form a 3-pronged arrowhead, as in fig. 6. Staple or glue the overlap.

11. With double faced tape, fix the eight sections onto the cardboard star, with points meeting at center. Hang on wall from star point with string, wire, or ribbon. 

Happy Crafting!


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