How to throw a Christmas Craft Party

I love this time of the year, and while some people cringe when the carols come on the department store radios, I relish it. I still get caught up in the magic of the season and I love nestling into the sofa watching favourites like the Grinch and Home Alone once December arrives.

Simple paper-cut ornaments

Christmas crafting

But my favourite part of all, is Christmas crafting. Every year I make handmade ornaments as gifts, and try to make as many of my family's gifts by hand, if possible. I make my own cards and gift tags too. Not because I have to, but because I love to.

Throwing a crafty party at Christmastime is a fabulous way to spend time with friends, make some personalised gifts or ornaments for your tree and catch up before the bustle of the holidays takes over. Want to throw your own crafty party this Christmas? Here are a few tips.

Gold-leafed baubles

Modern pom-pom stockings

Top tips for a successful crafty party:

  1. Choose an appropriate venue. If you don't want to clean up the mess at home, try using a pub instead! I've hosted lots of craft sessions at pubs, either in their private event rooms or just in the main room, at a reserved table. It's a good idea to give them a heads up that you'll be crafting (and promise to sweep up after), and they usually don't charge a fee if you order food and drinks.
  2. Make sure there's food and drinks. Mince pies, mulled wine... whatever festive treats you like best! Enjoy a little pub grub before you start your crafting too.
  3. Gather lots of supplies. Choose 2-3 projects to make that evening, and divide the materials list between everyone. Flying Tiger is my top shop for getting crafty supplies for relatively cheap in London. Hema is also good!
  4. Jump in! Learn a new craft technique, catch up with your friends, spend time together, get a little tipsy and go home with some unique and lovely handmade Christmas crafts. 

Block-printed Christmas Cards

Scandi-Inspired ornaments

Swedish dala horse ornaments

What kind of crafts work best for parties?

Here are a few ideas to inspire in case you're stuck for ideas on what you could make at your crafty Christmas party:

  • Paper-cut or collage Christmas cards
  • Felt ornaments for the tree, perhaps with some embroidered details
  • Decorated baubles (think gems, glitter pens, stickers...)
  • Pom-pom tree garlands
  • Crackers for Christmas dinner
  • Advent calendars
  • Gift tags
  • Block-printed wrapping paper
  • Origami ornaments / table decorations 

If you don't want to organise it, but really want to do some Christmas crafting, get some friends together and get in touch. I'd love to come and coordinate your Christmas crafting event for you! I'll bring all the projects and materials, plus show you how to make them.

How to make pompom peg doll ballerinas

I bet whoever designed the wooden clothes peg (apparently that was Jérémie Victor Opdebec, according to Wikipedia) had no idea they would be used a century later for kids crafts. But they're perfect for making little people... and especially for making ballerinas with fun pom-pom tutus!

Love to make pom-poms? Then you have to get your hands on a Loome tool, our latest craft tool obsession!

What you'll need:

  • wooden clothes-pegs
  • acrylic paints or marker pens
  • yarn
  • scissors
  • 2x pom-pom templates cut out on some thick card (an empty cereal box is perfect for this sort of thing)

Let's go:

1. First, paint your pegs with acrylic paint or draw on them with marker pens. If you're making these with younger kids, definitely go for the marker pens. Don't forget to paint some ballerina shoes on them too! Once you're happy with them, set them aside to dry.

2. Cut out your templates from the cardboard and start to wrap the yarn around both of them at the same time. Keep wrapping until you cover all the card with yarn. If you're using thin yarn this could take a little while!

3. Place your peg doll in the middle of the pompom template and wedge your scissors in between the two pieces of card. Cut the yarn all the way around the pom-pom template. Then, cut a piece of yarn about 20cm in length, wrap it around the peg doll in between the two pieces of card and tie a tight double knot around the peg doll.

4. Remove the card templates and give your ballerina tutu a little haircut. When you're happy with how it looks, you're done!

You could also add a coat of varnish to the peg doll after painting if you like, especially if you know they're going to get a lot of wear and tear. You can also add some hot glue around the bottom of the tutu to make sure the yarn stays in place.

Now, for the dance of the sugar plum fairies!

Crafty inspiration: suminagashi

What in the world is suminagashi you're wondering? It's the fancy Japanese word for "the art of paper marbling." It's the method of aqueous surface design (an even fancier way to explain it!) using paints and inks to produce patterns similar to smooth marble and other stone.

This technique has been around for centuries. The oldest examples of suminagashi in Japan, meaning literally "floating ink," are from the 12th century. The trend hit Europe in the 17th century, and the pretty papers were used to line the insides of drawers and bookshelves. Europeans took it a step further by marblings the edges of books.

These images are from the L'Encyclodedie of Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d'Alembert from 1768. Such fancy rake-tools for creating the patterns!

Whatever you want to call it, it seems to be very in this season with lots of tutorials and inspiration popping up, from pretty stationary to marbled scarves and art work to hang on the wall. Seems like you can marble everything under the sun. This is definitely something I'd like to try.

The VALLARTA scarf by  Scout & Catalogue

The VALLARTA scarf by Scout & Catalogue

Crafty inspiration: fabric collage journals

I can't remember a time when I didn't have a journal/diary/sketchbook on the go. I still do, thought my journals these days are mostly filled with little drawings and ideas for future sewing projects, notes taken at special events. They're filled with endless lists.

Do you remember how special your diary was when you were little? It always had to have the most secretive hiding place, like under your mattress, which turned out not to be a very good place to keep it because that was always the first place my big brother looked! My books were always special though. Carefully chosen from shops while away on family trips or given to me by friends. 

These fabric collaged and stitched journals are so pretty, I don't know if I'd even be able to write in them, or put them through the abuse my notebooks get these days.

Which one is your favourite? Did you used to keep a diary, do you still?

From  RebeccaSower  on Flickr

From RebeccaSower on Flickr

From  VeronicaJenn  on Flickr

From VeronicaJenn on Flickr

From  timssally  on Flickr

From timssally on Flickr

From  Pam Garrison  on Flickr

From Pam Garrison on Flickr

Crafty inspiration: wall weavings

There certainly is a trend for weaving right now. And I want to hop on the bandwagon! I love that traditional crafts are getting their spots in the limelight again, and popping up all over design magazines, blogs and in glossy spreads. I have a lot of extra yarn hanging around my studio in Peacock Yard, I really mean a lot... shopping baskets full of it, stacked on top of each other, but I can't bear to get rid of it because I know as soon as I do, I'll regret it and have some project that needs a lot of yarn.

I may need to pick up with this weaving thing, just to use it up! 

These are some of the weavings that have been inspiring me lately, now I just need a little nudge to actually give it a go.

From  Etsy

From Etsy