Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Crafts for Middle School Students

  We typically spend the month of December baking lots of holiday treats, trying out some new craft projects (and hopefully turning a few into gifts), watching lots of Christmas movies and reading books about the holiday.

 It's a fun time but as my boys have gotten older it's been a bit harder to find craft projects that are at just the right skill level; not so easy and babyish they shy away from them but not so adult and hard that they struggle.  So I've been looking and trying to find crafts that would meet with the approval of my middle schooler (as well as my younger kids).  Here's a list of crafts we've compiled:


1.  Tin Can Luminaries-- These cans from My Happy Crafts are just what I was picturing when I thought of doing this project with the boys.  Festive, easy and fun and they're sure to love any project that requires a hammer!



2.  Decorating Gingerbread Houses-- We decorate a house (or more) each year and it's our annual tradition.  We typically buy them in kits since no one in the house actually likes the gingerbread and only eats the candy but we've also made houses using empty milk cartons, frosting (as glue) and graham crackers too.  Anyway we choose to do it; it's always fun.



3.  Decorating Glass Ornaments-- Another annual tradition is decorating ornaments.  We've used plain green ornaments to make the Grinch (here), we've used plain red ornaments to make Santa (here), we've used clear glass ornaments to make snowmen (shown below) and snowballs (here); the possibilities are endless and we have so much fun deciding how to decorate them each year.



4.  Making Minecraft and Star Wars Paper Snowflakes-- We enjoy making paper snowflakes and usually use coffee filters to give us that nice round shape.  We've paper punched them, cut them out and painted them in the past but this year we want to try making some Minecraft and Star Wars themed ones like the ones I found here.


5.  Making Candy Sleighs or Trains-- My boys love anything that they can eat (or when they can munch on a few snacks while working) and I know they'll love these candy sleighs I found at Ellyn's Place.


6.  Wood Burning Cookie Cutter Ornaments-- We got a wood burning tool a few years ago and this year I thought we'd try using it to make some simple wooden ornaments.  Looking on Pinterest I found so many wonderful ideas for different gifts to make but though these looked the easiest for our first "real" project.  The 36th Avenue has simple instruction too! And aren't they darling when they're done?


7.  Fleece Scarves-- I thought my kids might enjoy making these three layer fleece scarves.  I could cut the fabric, show them how to sew a straight line on the sewing machine and then they just have to cut it into fringed edges; easy and beautiful and we can make them all different by changing out the fabric! I have some Star Wars fleece I've been wanting to do something with anyway.  She Pins, She Tries, She Posts has a great tutorial on how to complete these.


8.  Borax ornaments-- We've made these before and had a lot of fun.  It was easy, fun, and pretty magical to watch the crystals take shape.  I thought the boys might like to try them again this year. After reading and scouring Pinterest I've discovered that you can also make them using dollar store snowflakes or coffee filter snowflakes to start so we may experiment with different bases; some coffee filter, some cheap plastic ornaments, some bent/ molded chenille stems. 


9.  Painting a Winter Scene-- My boys love painting and I thought that would be a fun project for the holiday season.  We've often painted winter scenes and winter trees in the past and I figured why break tradition?

10.  Mason Jar Candle Holders-- We just made some Thanksgiving Luminaries using Mason jars and I have a good 6 jars left so I thought we'd make some pretty Christmas candle holders too.  There are so many wonderful ways to decorate Mason jars for the holidays that we had a hard time deciding.  We finally settled on these snowflake jars by Ginger Snap Crafts; however, instead of using metallic paint to paint snowflakes we'll glue paper snowflakes down and then cover with salt.

christmas candles

11.  Mason Jar Lid Ornaments-- With all these mason jar crafts we've been doing I have a surplus of mason jar lids and figured there had to be something we could do them all.  I found so many wonderful ornament ideas to try.  We really liked these ornaments from Clean and Scentsible.
Mason jar lid ornaments!  So cute and only a few supplies needed!

12.  Birdseed Ornaments and Feeders--  When searching for Christmas crafting ideas we came across a lot of ideas for birds and since my middle son loves them so much I knew we'd have to include a few birdseed crafts too.  Last year we made this giant birdseed wreath but this year we'd like to make something smaller.  I'm not sure if we'll make cookie cutter birdseed ornaments or if we'll make a frozen bird treat but we'll come up with something fun for the birds.


13.  Sock Snowmen-- We always have mismatched white socks around here and I thought these adorable snowmen would be a good way to use some of them.  We'll probably have to buy a few colorful pair at the dollar store to dress them up but I'd love these little guys sitting on my mantle.  Check out Darkroom and Dearly for instructions.

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14.  Ice Lanterns (If it's cold enough!)-- I love how beautiful all the various ice lanterns look with the light shining through at night.  I thought that if it got cold enough between now and Christmas that the boys and I would make some ice lanterns for the front porch.  Here Calgo Gardens shows a step by step tutorial on making beautiful ice lanterns.

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15.  Peppermint Candy Tray-- I thought these peppermint candy trays looked both fun and easy for the boys to make.  They would make wonderful gift ideas especially if they were loaded with some freshly made Christmas cookies!  Mrs. Happy Homemaker has good instructions for making them.



16.  Snowman Tealight Ornament-- We made these two years ago and my kids just loved them so much they kept their ornaments for themselves.  I thought this year we'd make some more and the boys could give them away as presents.


17.  Rubber Stamp Ornament--  I have a lot of rubber stamps and wanted to use some of them this holiday season while crafting with the boys.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them at first but after looking around on Pinterest and talking with the boys we thought we'd make some clay ornaments and stamp them with the rubber stamps like these from Pine Is Here.

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18.  Candy Cane Wreath-- We love making candy cane decorations and this year I thought the boys might like to try making a wreath similar to the one shown below (picture and directions are from Crafty Morning and can be found here).  I think the only thing we'd do differently is use a pretty snowflake ornament for the center.

candycane-wreath-christmas-decoration

19. String Snowflakes-  These snowflakes would look so pretty hanging in the tree or in the window! Made with liquid glue, string, wax paper and watercolors they sound simple enough to make and are quite breathtaking! For full instructions click here.

easy to make christmas ornaments

20.  Wooden Snowmen-- I can only find a picture and have no idea who to credit this idea to (I've even tried looking up Cindy's Wood and Crafts but found nothing!) but it's both simple and adorable!  I'm pretty sure it's just wood blocks painted white with snowmen faces made from button eyes, orange pieces of wood and black paint.  Topped off with a dollar store glove and some ribbon they're pretty cheap too!



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