Paper is great for Christmas decorations: you probably have some, it’s easy to work with, needs no special equipment and kids are used to it. Although paper decorations have a simple charm, kids love to get messy and embellish, so it’s a good idea to provide stick-on sequins, stickers, glitter (or glitter pens) so they can indulge!
Make paper chains
Do you have happy memories of making paper chains? Now create them with your grandchildren!
Sticky paper is easiest, as you just lick the end of the strip to form loops, but you can also use wrapping paper, old Christmas cards, or even pages from magazines.
Cut strips of paper, around 2cm wide by 18cm long. Form one strip into a loop, using sticky tape or a staple to join the ends. Now pass the end of another strip through the loop and join the ends. Repeat until the chain is as long as you want.
Make mini-paper chains to decorate computers, picture frames, doll’s houses…
Make paper snowflakes
If the kids have studied snowflakes at school, they’ll want to tell you that each has six points, and is unique. To achieve the authentic six-sided flake, cut a circle of paper. Fold the circle in half. Next, fold up one side at around 45°, then fold the remaining third behind this. You’ll end up with a cone shape.
Snip out shapes along sides, top and bottom. Don’t cut away all of the folded edges or the snowflake will fall apart. Open up to see the snowflake. You can keep opening, refolding and cutting until you have your desired effect.
Use tissue paper or tracing paper for a translucent effect; effective when stuck to a window. (Use double-sided sticky tape for easy removal.)
Read our tips for recycling Christmas
Make gift tags from old cards
Environmentally minded youngsters will appreciate this upcycling idea. Dig out the cards you received last year or battered ones that you bought but failed to send. Find a motif or area on the card that will look good as a tag, then cut out.
Choose simple shapes like squares, rectangles and circles or more complex designs like Christmas trees or hearts. Fold a length of string or ribbon in half.
Use a hole punch to make a hole and loop through the doubled string, passing the loose ends through the loop to secure.
Make paper baubles
One for older kids, as it requires some precision. Draw 12 identical circles on coloured or patterned paper or thin card. Tracing around a glass is easiest.
Fold the circles in half vertically, with the side of the paper you want to be on show to the inside. You’ll stick these folded circles together, with the folds at the centre, to form a sphere. Using glue or double-sided sticky tape, stick two folded circles together, wrong side to wrong side, aligning straight edges. Now attach another folded circle in the same way, aligning the straight edges. Continue until you’ve attached the last circle.
For the hanging loop: tie a knot in a length of thread and glue the thread along the fold. Now glue the unglued half-circles together to form a sphere, and hang up. Experiment with shapes, such as ovals, lemons, squares, Christmas trees – as long as they’re symmetrical so they can be folded in half.
Make concertina Christmas trees
Cut a strip of green paper around 10cm by 30cm. Fold it in a concertina fashion. Once folded, open out the base and decorate, with a sticky star at the top, and pieces of sticky paper, or stickers on the body of the tree. These can be hung from the Christmas tree, or potted like a mini tree. To hang up, thread a needle and pass it through the pointed end, tie a knot in the thread then tie the ends together to form a hanging loop. For a potted tree, glue a small twig to the back of the tree and put into a mini flowerpot full of earth or small stones.
Make paper bunting
Paper bunting is an inexpensive way to decorate a large area.
Cut triangles 20cm wide x 25cm deep from coloured or patterned paper – wrapping paper works well. Alternating red and green, or red and white, or patterned and plain, makes a real impact. You can also scale this down, as with paper chains, to decorate small spaces.
Poke holes in the top corners of the triangles, using a pencil, just big enough to take the cord or string you are using, so that the triangles stay evenly spaced. Thread triangles onto cord or string and hang up.
If you’re using sticky paper, fold the top edge over the cord and stick down to hold the cord in place.
Alternatively, fix with mini clothes-pegs; Hobbycraft has 50 for £1.20.
Make Christmas trees
Enlarge the Christmas tree template to about 11cm tall. Trace around it twice onto card and cut out. Cut vertically halfway down the centre line of one, and halfway up the other, finishing at the same point. Slot the two trees together to form a three-dimensional Christmas tree. Punch a hole for the hanging loop and thread a length of twine through, tying in a knot. Hang from your tree. Or leave out the hanging loop and stand the trees on a mantelpiece or sideboard.
Visit our craft section for more great crafting ideas