20 Modern Handmade Holiday Decorating Ideas

If modern design is your thing, decking out your home for the holidays with faux greenery and plastic elves just won't do. Achieve a seasonal look that's sleek and sophisticated with our 20 ideas for Christmas decorations you can craft.
Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
June 15, 2015

Root, Root, Root for the Home Tree

Who says Christmas tree skirts have to be boring? Make a statement this season with a pennant tree skirt featuring assorted vintage team and souvenir pennants stitched together with a needle and thread.

Minty-Fresh Tray

Put a new spin on classic holiday candy with a starlight mint serving tray. To create, simply lay peppermints side-by-side on a cookie sheet then stick into a warm oven until the mints have evenly melted. Remove the pan from the oven and set aside to allow the candy to fully cool. Once dry, the shiny, slick surface is perfect for laying out cheese and crackers or for holding cocktails.

Cozy Up By the (Faux) Fire

No mantel? No worries — Santa will be sure to stuff your stockings when they're hanging from this clever faux-mantel wall hanging made from a drop cloth, drapery hardware and chalkboard paint.

Take It From the Top

Add midcentury-modern flair to your tree with a Sputnik-inspired tree topper. All you need are our complete instructions (below), wooden dowels, a foam floral sphere and spray paint.

Merry, Merry Menswear

Menswear stockings are a great way to add a tailored touch to your holiday decor. To get the look, try a no-sew approach using iron-on adhesive tape, scissors and old sweaters or dress shirts. Those less likely to tackle this as a project can drop old shirts and sweaters off at their local dry cleaner or seamstress and have it done for a low cost.

Joy to the Map of the World

Go the extra mile this holiday season with your gift wrap. Instead of grabbing a roll of seasonal paper, use an old road or travel map. For a personal touch, center the most significant city, country or continent on top of the box as a nod to your loved one's favorite vacation destination or hometown.

Tannenbaum With a Twist

Add midcentury-modern flair to your home with a geometric tree mobile that's affordable and easy to make. To create, grab some green poster board, twine and scissors. Cut concentric triangles out of the poster board then string them together. This is a great alternative for small space- or apartment-dwellers who don't have enough room for a true tree; they can just hang the mobile in a corner or above a table, then stack gifts below.

Seasonal Stencils

Instead of typical ball-shaped ornaments, give your tree streamlined, graphic impact by stringing metal stencils from the hardware store onto twine. Create a similar look with cardboard stencils by punching a hole through the top, then hanging with twine.

Hit the Jackpot With a Kitschy Wreath

Get creative to craft an out-of-the-ordinary wreath that's sure to be the talk of the neighborhood. Cover a foam wreath form with layers of playing cards, adding mounting tape between each layer for a three-dimensional effect. For added color, attach red and green poker chips in one corner to resemble a sprig of holly.

Go Streamlined and Sculptural

Create a modern, minimal interpretation of a Christmas tree with all-purpose wire from the hardware store. Simply wrap the wire around a foam floral cone as tightly or loosely as desired. Slide out the cone and — kazam! — instant tree sculptures. Group several together for a quick and easy centerpiece for your dining table, mantel or foyer.

Ombre Gift Tags

Turn leftover paint chips into colorful gift tags by cutting them into tree silhouettes with scissors. Complete the look by adding each recipients' name with stamps or a permanent marker.

All Puzzled Out

Conversation-starters are the best way to get a holiday meal going. Re-invent puzzle pieces as snowflake napkin holders by gluing several pieces together, then attaching to basic rings with twine or hot glue.

Try a New Hue

Forgo the traditional red-and-green holiday palette and opt for bold, sophisticated colors this year. For a dramatic look, spray-paint old ornaments in fashion-forward colors like bronze, purple and brown then display your handiwork on an all-white tree.

The Name Game

Who says gift tags shouldn't be just as much fun as the gift they're attached to? Hot-glue wooden game tiles or kids' wood blocks to twine to create gift tags that can double as ornaments.

Ring Around the Cocktail

Put last year's holiday cards to good use as this year's cocktail markers. Use scissors to cut circular shapes from cards, concentrating on areas with lots of color or an attractive design element, then cut a small hole in the middle for the glass's stem and a slit so guests can easily slide the markers on and off. Vary the markers' colors and patterns so guests can easily tell which glass is theirs.

Go Retro

Fans of midcentury-modern design will love this table setting that proves you can't go wrong with classic color combos. Robin's-egg blue, cherry red and white was a popular palette in the '50s and, paired with a playful, vintage tablecloth, it looks just as fresh today.

Clothespins + Paint = Beautiful Snowflakes

In just a few steps, turn wooden clothespins into oversized snowflake tree ornaments. This is a great project for older children to tackle on their own or for small kids with a little help from a crafty adult.

Moose on the Loose

A sculptural porcelain or resin mount adds a playful twist to any room. For the holidays, select an animal we typically associate with snowy weather, like reindeer, caribou or moose.

Old Bulbs for the New Year

Reinvent old light bulbs as tree ornaments by spray-painting them with metallic paint, then grouping together in clusters with ribbon. Smaller light bulbs work best grouped in odd numbers, while larger lightbulbs are best as single ornaments.

Souvenir Tree Garland

Don't toss old Christmas cards. Instead, cut them into circles and glue onto twine to add a sentimental touch to your Christmas tree. Best of all, you can start your garland small and add onto it each year.

Shop This Look

More from:

Handmade Holidays