Our 80+ Favorite Handmade Holiday Decorating Ideas

Festive up your home — both indoors and out — with our definitive list of easy-to-create Christmas decorations, crafts and centerpieces.

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December 20, 2018

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Jalynn Baker

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Sam Henderson

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Photo By: Photography by Alexandra Grablewski

Photo By: Picasa ©ten22 studio | Rennai Hoefer

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

Photo By: Marian Parsons

Make Ice Lanterns

Get an assist from Mother Nature (or your freezer) to turn plastic cartons filled with water into magical ice lanterns to display either indoors or out. Make your own with our tips.

Craft a Snowy Wreath

Add faux greenery, flowers, berry sprigs and glittered pinecones to a grapevine wreath then cover with faux snow to give your front door a cheery update during winter months. Learn how to make your own

Craftily Deck Out Your Tree

Put your artful eye and creativity to work to make your fresh or faux tree a real showstopper. Our 10 designer tips will show you how.

Glow It On

Our how-to explains how to create these illuminated grapevine sphere topiaries for your front porch. The waterproof lights ensure they'll brighten up your entry even during stormy winter weather. 

Steal a Smooch Under Felt

Turn craft-store staples into a modern take on a centuries-old holiday tradition. Best of all: Unlike evergreen kissing balls, this felt version requires no upkeep and can be used year after year. Craft your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Fake a Roaring Fireplace

Apartment dwellers and urbanites: this project's for you. Get creative to craft a spot to hang your stockings and lend a little Christmas cheer to any room. Our step-by-step instructions show you how to turn a canvas dropcloth, drapery hardware and chalkboard paint into this clever faux mantel wall hanging that you can simply roll up and store when the holidays are over.

Put Candy Canes Under Your Tree

Add a sweet touch to your decorations by gluing or stitching up this playful felt Christmas tree skirt. Felt is perfect for this project because it's inexpensive and doesn't fray when cut. Learn how to easy it is to make one of your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Don't Forget to Dress the Mantel

Head outside with some clippers to gather an assortment of greenery to craft this traditional (and gorgeous!) evergreen garland. Watch the short vid or read our tips to get started.

Or the Banister

Decking out your entryway is a sure way to add holiday cheer to an area of your home that both you and your holiday guests are sure to see. Decking out the banister adds a beautiful, Christmas-y touch and is easier than you may think. Just start with a long section of wired faux evergreen garland. Wrap it around the banister as a base, then tuck small sections of fresh-cut greenery into the wrapped loops. Finish with a few springs of fresh or faux berries.

Fold a Mini Forest

Use a circle punch or scissors to cut card stock into various size circles, then accordion-fold the paper to create the look of swagging evergreen boughs. Stack the folded rings and attach to a small wood dowel or cut log slice to easily whip up a whole forest of firs.

Craft an Upholstered Banner

Cheerfully issue a Christmas greeting to all who enter your home with this DIY upholstered holiday banner. Swap out the letters to easily craft more banners for birthdays, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter or any other occasion worth celebrating. 

Creatively Display Stockings

Give an old coatrack a glossy coat of red paint to turn it into a cheery and space-saving spot to hang your stockings. For a fun finishing touch, paint a wooden plaque with chalkboard paint to get the Big Guy's attention.

Turn a Toy Into Holiday Decor

Add a little glitz to any area of your home with an inexpensive plastic deer figurine covered with basic white glue and glass glitter. Check out the how-to for our tips and tricks. 

Or, Pine Cones Into a Mini Tree

A foam cone, wired floral picks and gathered pine cones are all you need to create this mini table top tree that adds a big dose of woodsy charm. Craft your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Make 3-D Upholstered Trees

Basic upholstery materials and techniques are all you need to craft these fabric-covered trees that fold flat so they're a cinch to store between holidays. Learn how to make your own with our step-by-step instructions

Or, Go Mod With These Upcycled Versions

Our step-by-step instructions make it a snap to turn old sweaters and other festive fabric into tabletop trees you can display year after year.

Craft a Woodsy Banner

Cut wood slices are a trendy material you can find at your local craft store or source (for free!) in your own backyard. Add letters to spell out a holiday saying and string together with colorful baker's twine. Get crafting with our step-by-step instructions

No Tree? No Problem!

A vase filled with evergreen clippings is a handy stand-in for a Christmas tree in small spaces. Make it festive by wiring ornaments onto the branches and piling presents beneath. Like any cut centerpiece, change the water ever few days to keep the greenery looking its best. 

Chalk It Up

Welcome holiday guests with this trendy chalkboard sign. To make it, trace a reindeer silhouette onto a 24" x 24" piece of plywood, cut it out with a jigsaw and apply two coats of chalkboard paint. Add screw eyes and a wire to the back so you can display your finished sign either indoors or out.

Go Au Naturel

Head to the grocery store to source the deliciously scented elements for this beautiful tree. Dried orange slices, bundles of cinnamon sticks and strands of cranberries and caramel corn make this tree the best dressed (and tastiest looking!) around. Learn 5 more unique ways to deck out your tree.

Help Kids Count Down to the Big Day

Our step-by-step instructions show you how to upcycle assorted old sweaters into cute mini mittens and toboggans you can fill with small trinkets and treats for a fun take on a traditional advent calendar. 

Craft a Unique Wreath

If you want to brighten up your front door for the holidays but a traditional evergreen wreath isn't your style, this clever project is for you. Just coat a ceiling medallion (available at your local hardware store) in green high-gloss spray paint then loop through some colorful holiday ribbon for hanging.

Add Some Sparkle

These gorgeous, glittering votives only look expensive. Using glitter, glue and an empty jar, you can easily craft them yourself on the cheap. 

Craft a Candy-Licious Pillow

Assorted red ribbons and fabric glue are all you need to give a plain white pillow a candy-striped update for the holidays. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions

Invite a Snowman to Dinner

Turn fresh or silk white carnations into a fanciful centerpiece for your holiday table. Our tips and instructions make this a fun family project you can complete while watching your favorite holiday movie.

Upcycle Old Molding Into Rustic Holiday Decor

Repurpose an old weathered board or piece of molding as a rustic backdrop to a live holiday swag or garland. Just tack evergreen and holly branches to the board then wire on a few glittered pinecones and a ribbon in the center. Voila, beauty on a budget!

Easily Deck the Entryway

Put leftover wrapping paper to work to create this cute space-saving Christmas tree that's sure to brighten up small spaces like a foyer, guest bath or kids' room. Ribbon and double-sided tape keep the paper in place while presents piled underneath complete the look.

Upcycle an Heirloom Quilt

Upcycle a past-its-prime family quilt, that's hidden away in a closet or trunk, into charming Christmas stockings you'll be proud to display year after year. Get sewing with our step-by-step instructions.

Make a Snow-Free Snowman

A sturdy wooden support + 3 faux evergreen wreaths = a friendly outdoor snowman who won't melt, making him the perfect decoration for snow-free climates. Plus, using faux wreaths, rather than fresh, means you can display him year after year. Get started with our tips and step-by-step instructions.

Personalize Seating

Give your dining room chairs a holiday update by whipping up these chair swags — no sewing required. Just cut red felt into a notched banner shape, then cut gray felt into the same shape just 1 inch shorter on all sides. Center then glue the smaller gray felt onto the red using fabric glue. Spray-paint wooden letters white and let dry. Attach them using wood glue to the gray felt. Punch holes in the swag's upper corners, slide ribbon through, and attach to the chair backs with ribbon.

Freshen Up the Fireplace

Add a natural touch to your mantel with a preserved or fresh topiary and wreath. They're easy to assemble and can be left plain or embellished with holiday ornaments and trim. An occasional misting with water will keep them hydrated and looking their best. Make your own with our boxwood wreath step-by-step instructions and boxwood topiaries step-by-step instructions.

Craft Playful Button + Yarn Trees

Here's a fun holiday decoration the kids will love helping you craft. Just glue yarn to inexpensive foam topiary forms then add buttons in assorted colors and sizes. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions and check out our fave holiday kids' crafts.

No-Sew Felt Tree Skirt

This year, forgo the usual holiday colors and embrace kicky bright hues and swirling patterns inspired by traditional Scandinavian designs. Felt, yarn and fabric glue are all you need to make this colorful Christmas tree skirt.

Light Up Your Entryway

Create a warm and inviting entry for guests during the Christmas season. Fill mason jars with Epsom salt for a snowy, winter look, then add small votive candles and line the walkway leading to your front door.  

Craft This Cute Wreath

Create a wintry forest scene for your front door by adding bottlebrush trees and mini ice-skating figures to a foam wreath that's been wrapped in holiday fabric. Our step-by-step instructions will make crafting this cute wreath a snap. 

Stack a Gifty Centerpiece

Impress your holiday guests with a stunning (and easy-to-make!) centerpiece that will add a festive touch to your table all season long. To create it, just wrap foam bricks in Kraft paper and sheet moss, stack, then glue them together. Finish off the entire set with ribbon and decorative embellishments. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Arrange Your Own Mini Trees

Bring holiday cheer to any room by turning boxwood clippings into a miniature Christmas tree. Fill a teacup or small container with oasis foam, then arrange boxwood clippings to form a tiny tree. For added sparkle, attach silver dragees with hot glue. This simple accent is perfect for a holiday table, an entryway vignette or as a festive small-space accessory. 

Cottage Up Your Christmas Tree Skirt

A hand-me-down quilt may be too fragile or old to use as bedding but holds too many sentimental memories to simply throw away. Preserve the best part of the quilt, giving it new life as a charming Christmas tree skirt. Our step-by-step instructions make this repurposing project a snap — even for beginning sewers.

Turn Felt Into Trendy Ombre Trees

Cover foam topiary forms with layers of felt in a fashion-forward ombre pattern to create these colorful tabletop trees. Choose felt in shades that complement your holiday decor then display them anywhere you need a cheery pop of color. Get crafting with our step-by-step instructions.

Stocking Hangers With a Twist

Rather than relying on storebought stocking hangers, designer Marian Parsons combines poplar boards, chalkboard spray paint and coat hooks to create personalized pieces to spruce up her holiday mantel. Craft your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Personalize Place Cards

Looking for a unique take on holiday place cards? Designer Marian Parsons places a glittered chipboard letter in a pinecone to create personalized place settings for each guest. To get the look, use an artist brush to apply school glue to both sides of a traditional chipboard letter. Then sprinkle silver glitter on the letter until both sides are entirely covered. Marian suggests adding adhesive magnets to the back of each letter for inexpensive and practical party favors.

No-Knit Sweater Stockings

Don't toss that old sweater. Instead, repurpose it as custom stockings for the entire family. This project requires no sewing machine or knitting needles and can easily be completed in an afternoon. Learn how to make your own.

Freshen Up Your Wreath

Incorporating just a few natural materials is an easy way to take an evergreen wreath from blah to beautiful. Designer Marian Parsons recommends, "Adding fresh fruit and collected pinecones to an artificial wreath lends a more natural look. When hung outside, cold weather will keep the fruit fresh for a couple of weeks."

Creatively Count Down the Days

To help her family count down to the big day, blogger Jessica Wilcox fills a handmade chicken-wire cloche with small wrapped gifts, colorful ornaments and ribbons. As a finishing touch, she adds printed tags to note how many days are left till Christmas. Each day, the kids can unwrap a gift and remove a tag to tide them over till the main event. Download the advent tags and more (free!) holiday printables.

Craft a Rustic-Chic Table Runner

Our step-by-step instructions teach you how to sew your own table runner then customize it with a pretty, pleated ruffle trim and hand-painted detail.

Get Creative With Gift Wrap

Holiday gift wrap isn't just for pretty packages; you can also put it to work to give everyday items, like serving plates, a holiday makeover. Just cut the paper to size and use it to line the serveware for a festive look on the fly. 

Make a Modern Wooden Tree

We all love decor we can keep from year to year, especially artificial trees that look like the real thing. Unfortunately, artificial trees don't hold their form forever, but here's a tree that will. Using thin wooden rails, a small saw, a glue gun and white paint, Paul Lowe of the Sweet Paul blog forms a modern miniature holiday tree that's perfect for any sparkling vignette. For a topper, he hot-glues a glitter star on top. 

Build a Shelf That Doubles as a Mantel

No mantel? No worries! Our step-by-step instructions will show you how to construct a wide shelf with sturdy hooks so you can hang your stockings in time for Santa's arrival. 

Craft Beachy Trees

Try a new twist on traditional holiday topiaries by covering cone-shaped foam forms with found or purchased shells (check your local craft store) in assorted colors and sizes. Attach them with hot glue, starting at the bottom and working your way up.

Scandinavian-Inspired Plywood Stockings

Design blogger Erin Loechner and husband Ken struggled to find Christmas stockings that reflected their home's crisp, Scandinavian style. So they decided to take a creative and modern approach to traditional stockings by creating a pair out of plywood. The wood instantly warms up their all-white brick fireplace surround. For added convenience, the stocking boxes are magnetic, so you can easily remove them to fill with gifts or treats. (Now, there's a great Advent calendar idea!)

Upcycle an Advent Calendar

Turn an assortment of past-their-prime men's shirts with pockets into a colorful holiday countdown the kids will love. Our step-by-step instructions explain how to stitch it up then just hang on your bannister or mantel and fill the pockets with candy or small toys.

Takeout Box Advent Calendar

Everyone loves participating in a holiday Advent calendar, and this one is especially fun and easy to make. All you need are 25 white takeout boxes, red and green construction paper, white number stickers and gift filler. Fill each box with gift filler and small toys and treats, then use tape to seal the box shut until it's time to be opened. Design by Layla Palmer. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Craft Pretty Paper Ornaments

Turn patterned card stock into three-dimensional ornaments in just 7 steps. Match the papers' colors and patterns to your home's decor or choose holiday-specific patterns and use the paper ornaments, instead of a traditional bow, to top wrapped gifts.

Go Mad for Mod

Retro-inspired Christmas decorations from the '60s have come back in a big way, making them a big-ticket collectible. Add space-age style to your tree for less by crafting your own modern tree topper with a foam sphere, dowels and our step-by-step instructions.

Crafty Front Porch Updates

When decking out your home for the holidays, don't forget the front porch. Spread holiday cheer outdoors with just a few festive touches. Check out our 8 easy front porch decorating ideas.

Turn Beach Treasures Into a Garland

Mix summer memories in with your holiday decorations this year by stringing sand dollars, starfish and shells onto narrow rope or twine. To attach the starfish, carefully drill a small hole near the end of one arm then slide the twine through. Just loop the twine through the hole on each sand dollar and attach shells either by tying them on or with a dollop of hot glue.

Add A Whimsical Touch

Most people forget to look up when decorating their table for the holidays. Marian Parsons incorporates the chandelier into her silver-and-white tablescape by suspending glittered birds and plastic snowflakes from white yarn. She hangs them at varying heights to create a whimsical, eye-catching display.

Snowy Setting

Give your tabletop some wintry flair with a felt snowflake table runner. The natural burlap and white snowflakes will tie in perfectly to any rustic and cottage-inspired holiday theme. Design by Layla Palmer. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Yarn-Wrapped Pinecones

If you have evergreens around your home, mounds of pinecones are a familiar sight. Put nature's castoffs to good use by simply wrapping brightly colored yarn around the scales, keeping the yarn tightly tucked toward the pinecone's center. Secure the yarn's end with a dot of glue. Design by Camilla Fabbri

No-Sew Ruffled Tree Skirt

No Christmas tree is complete without a skirt to hide its base or stand. Rather than using a traditional store-bought tree skirt, Marian Parsons transforms a piece of canvas into an elegant, ruffled linen skirt using only cuts of linen, scissors and glue. Whip one up with our step-by-step instructions.

Deck the Windows

It may not be snowing in your neck of the woods when Christmas rolls around, but you can certainly bring that traditional wintry feel into your home. Layla Palmer uses plain white copy paper and printable snowflake templates to string together cut-out snowflakes, creating a chilly curtain for any size window inside your home. Get crafting with our step-by-step instructions.

Embrace Industrial

Janell Beals opts out of a traditional red-and-green palette when decorating for the holidays. Instead, she uses silver, gold and copper to create a shimmery, metallic entryway vignette. To get the look, use paper-mache letters, silver metallic paint and rust-colored paint to spell out a holiday phrase and give it some industrial charm. Get step-by-step instructions.

Turn Mittens Into an Advent Calendar

Fill toddler-sized mittens with small toys and treats to create a cute way to help the kids count down to the big day. Get crafting with our step-by-step instructions.

Winterize an Old Mirror

Add natural sophistication to any room with the addition of a rustic twig-covered mirror. A few twigs gathered outdoors, white paint, a glue gun and an old mirror are all you need to add a wintry touch to your holiday decor. Give an old mirror a makeover with our step-by-step instructions.

Craft a Monogrammed Doormat

Spruce up your entryway with this personalized budget-friendly doormat that looks like a pricey catalog find but is actually an easy DIY project that also makes a thoughtful handmade gift. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Kids' Craft: Game Piece Ornaments

Get the kiddos crafting to make a few of these playful ornaments that are a snap to make using Scrabble letters glued onto a strip of colorful ribbon. Use the letters to spell out holiday sayings or family members' names. Get crafting with our step-by-step instructions. Plus: Check out even more more kids' craft projects.

Gift Box Mantel Decor

Give your holiday mantel a beautiful and unique twist. Simply use a variety of empty food boxes and wrap them in three or four different kinds of fabric that all coordinate with one another. Then finish off each package with decorative ribbon — like fabric, satin or twine — and hair flowers for embellishments. Arrange the wrapped "gifts" among ornaments, pinecones, candles and other glittery holiday decor for a fun and festive vignette. Design by Layla Palmer. Get step-by-step instructions.

Stocking Stuffers

These natural burlap-sack stockings are perfect for a cottage-style Christmas. White frill adorns the openings and softens the rough burlap exterior. Stuff the stockings with fresh greenery and ornament balls for a decorative touch. Design by Holly Mathis; sewing by Michelle Fritz

Deck the Front Porch

Using indoor and outdoor materials, Layla Palmer adds a country-style look on the front porch. Rather than using a traditional tree skirt, she removes the lid on a square basket to form a nice, solid base. Burlap garland, metallic ornaments and easy-to-make twig ornaments are added for a touch of rustic charm. Get step-by-step instructions.

Make a Versatile Wreath

Cover a straw wreath form with moss and garlands of fresh cranberries for a colorful holiday decoration that can be used as either a traditional front door wreath or, laid flat on the table, as the base for a Christmas centerpiece. Learn how to make your own.

Vintage Garland Advent Calendar

Dress up your Christmas tree with a fun and festive vintage-inspired Advent calendar. Marian Parsons uses freezer paper fused with linen to print free vintage graphics directly onto the fabric. She paints numbers 1-25 in the corner of each print, then creates and sews pockets to form daily gift bags to build anticipation for Christmas Day. The finished garland is ideal for wrapping around the tree or draping down a stair banister. Get step-by-step instructions.

Make Your Own Mercury-Glass Votives

Silver and gold leaf can transform almost anything into an elegant holiday accessory. Bring a metallic touch to your Christmas arrangement by applying silver leaf to inexpensive glass votives and hurricanes. With just a few minutes, you can create the look of mercury glass without the cost. Design by Marian Parsons. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Grapevine Wreath Outdoor Snowman

Small, medium and large grapevine wreaths stacked, then held together with twine or wire form a woodsy snowman you can make in a jiffy to add holiday cheer — indoors or out.

Wintry Blooms

Create a floral centerpiece that incorporates warm holiday hues and that will instantly liven up your dinner table. Brittni Mehlhoff arranges various red flowers, berries and succulents in a rustic wicker basket. (You can choose any vase that suits your style.) Use floral wire to tame stubborn stems and plants, add pinecones around the base and you're ready to host for the holidays.

Chair Adornments

Create festive dining chair embellishments to coordinate with your tabletop decor this holiday season. Simply wrap and tie a two-loop bow in the center of each chair using two-inch-wide un-wired ribbon in your preferred seasonal hue. Then embellish the center of each bow with greenery, pinecones and berries. Design by Layla Palmer. Get step-by-step instructions.

Holiday Glam

Bring a bit of holiday glamour and charm to your tree, mantel or banister by transforming a traditional party banner into a sparkling beauty using craft glitter. Simply apply school glue to the front of each letter and use a spoon to sprinkle glitter over the letters. Once dry, string letters onto hemp twine and hang the banner somewhere in your home for all to see. Design by Marian Parsons. Get crafting with our step-by-step instructions.

Add Color to Outdoor Topiaries

Festive up your front porch by flanking the door with a pair of faux or fresh boxwood topiaries embellished with wired burlap ribbon and garlands of faux berries.

Restaurant-Style Menu Board

Let your guests know exactly what's for dinner with a restaurant-style menu board made from a DIY chalkboard. For more seasonal and sophisticated flair, apply gold leaf to a large wooden frame. Guests will never know how easy and inexpensive this was to make. Design by Marian Parsons. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Sparkling Staircase

Katrina Giles jazzes up her Christmas staircase with holiday garland, silver ribbon and natural pinecones. She adds silk greenery to the pinecones and coats them with silver metallic paint for a shimmery look that will bring holiday cheer all season long.

Joy to the World

Marian Parsons uses upholstery webbing, glittered chipboard letters, plus sprigs of greenery and red berries to create this vintage-inspired holiday banner and wreath. "German glass glitter makes these letters sparkle and will tarnish over time to give the banner a vintage look," she says.

Musical Trees

Use sheet music to create miniature Christmas trees, perfect for any whimsical holiday vignette. Using Styrofoam cones in varying sizes, glue the cut-and-curled sheet music around the cone. Continue to glue and cover the tree by overlapping the row before to achieve a thicker look. For the best look, use three trees at varying heights in your arrangement. Design by Marian Parsons. Get step-by-step instructions.

Rustic, Layered Centerpiece

Holiday centerpieces don't have to be expensive and elaborate. Layla Palmer proves that you can create a beautiful table display with budget-friendly elements. To make this rustic and layered centerpiece, Layla uses a grapevine wreath, faux berries, evergreen and pinecone picks and faux floral stems to layer around a simple, pedestal-based candleholder. Make your own with our step-by-step instructions.

Warm and Festive

Update an existing candle tray to warm up your holiday dining experience. Janell Beals wraps glittery garland around neutral everyday candles and scatters ornaments among the branches for a bright, colorful look.

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