I have vivid memories of making things at my grandmother’s big dining room table, especially around the holidays. Usually under the urging of my Aunt Connie, we paper mached, decoupaged (there’s a word I haven’t used in thirty years) and macramed (make that two words). I remember a year we made large paper globes out of old Christmas cards. My grandmother, my Aunt Connie, and that old dining room table are gone now, but the desire to make something remains, and I appreciate having adults in my life who encouraged creativity.
I’ve selected (and even tried) some holiday crafts that are easy enough for nine-year-old hands and yield a lasting treasure worthy of gifting.
Super Cute and East Button Bookmarks – A little hot glue and Grandma’s box of old buttons and this one is as good as done. Click here for the details, or not. If you’re like me, you’re already thinking “How hard can it be?”
Book ornaments – This one is probably my favorite holiday gift craft ever. I made these a couple of years ago and they were a hit. Talk about easy and no mess! Start with empty glass ornament balls, which are easy to find most anywhere. For younger crafters, plastic ones are available, but for middle-grade hands, glass is fine and classier and the clarity makes a difference when reading tiny words. I had many old paperbacks that were either well worn or duplicates, and I chose books that fit recipients – The Hobbit for the Tolkien fan, Little Women for my favorite Jo March friend, etc. I cut narrow strips of text and rolled each strip around a pencil. It’s surprising how well the paper curls. I found that if I left it around the pencil, and then inserted the pencil into the opening of the ornament, then let it fall off, it was easier than taking the strip off the pencil before trying to insert it. I chose lines with proper nouns – character names, places – in order to make the book easily identifiable. Play around with length of strip and how many to use. You’ll know what looks good. And the book lover in your life with adore you!
Scrabble Coasters – Okay, guys. I made these for my critique partners this year, and if I can do it, so can you. Our holiday gathering is the same day this post goes live, so I’m hoping they don’t read it before they open their gifts. I ordered 500 letter tiles and found them to be fairly consistent in size. There were a few oddballs, but aren’t there always? And I used these adhesive cork squares, which were a bit too large and had to be cut on one side. That made me nervous because I can’t cut in a straight line to save my life, but I used a paper cutter with grid lines and, surprisingly, I did all right! I had planned not to trust the adhesive and bought wood glue, but discovered that the adhesive side of the cork was VERY sticky, so I ended up not using the glue. Hooray! The last step was to coat the finished coasters with an acrylic spray. After all, they are meant to hold sweaty glasses or hot cups. Voila! I have to thank my daughter Maggie who, upon hearing me lament “I don’t know. It sounds complicated,” said “Mom, just do it.”
Ribbon Bookmarks – This one is, admittedly, a bit more complicated and took some planning and tools I didn’t previously own. But, wow, what a response I got when I gifted these to my book friends a couple years ago! The good news is that in one trip to a large craft store, I got the ribbon, the metal ends, the little O rings, and a nice set of jewelry-making tools that I’ve used over and over again since. The most challenging part for some might be collecting the little items to attach. You can buy small charms, I’m sure, but I’m a repurposer and collector of tiny things, so I had a drawer of old watch faces, luggage locks and keys, broken earrings, tiny charms, and baubles and bangles of all sorts. I mean, doesn’t everyone? (Don’t answer that.) If nothing else, you can start collecting for next year!
Book Trees – These are so cute and not hard to do at all. I found this great video that demonstrates just how simple they are to make. You can leave them “au natural” or bling them out with paint, glitter, and glam.
There’s still time, and none of these are too messy or difficult. You’ll make more than a gift. You’ll make a memory or two, I’m sure.