I used to have dreams of being Martha Stewart but not exactly. I just couldn’t get behind the amount of work and money she put into everything. It wasn’t long before I discovered that I could really decorate my home just as well for a fraction of the cost. On top of that, I found that there were ways to reduce the work of each craft. I didn’t have to spend day after day making my house into some sort of holiday wonderland.
Today, I want to share some ideas for really quick easy projects that look good and cost little money to make. I’d love to say they are free but nothing is ever free. I don’t have pictures for everything – sorry. I promise to take pictures soon and slip them in as if they were always there.
Everything I am sharing is made from easy to access materials. If anything is a little odd, I promise to offer up some ideas for substitutions. Every one of these should come together with little effort.
Halloween Star Ornaments: supplies – orange and/or black cardstock (or other thickish paper), thin ribbon in orange and/or black, images printed from the computer. I saw these stars on a website that remains illusive at this moment. They are simple to put together – cut stars out of paper, attach an image to the center, punch hole at the top of the star and string ribbon. The ornaments can be hung from dead tree branches in vases or attached to the wall (if you are going to stick them on the wall with tape, skip the ribbons). You can dress them up as much as you want by adding glitter and embellishments.
Paper Plate Hall Hangings: supplies – paper plates, black ribbon, images printed from the computer. Done quite similar to the star ornaments, attach a larger image to the center of a plain white paper plate. I did opt to purchase sturdier paper plates for this one. I just went to the dollar store. Since I didn’t plan on making more than a few of these, I didn’t mind getting fewer plates.
Witch’s Hat: supplies – black fabric, poly-fill, old record, cardboard box, belt, decorations. Stitch your fabric into a tube (or staple if you can). Glue your box to the center of your record (I used an instant oatmeal box). Glue your fabric on to the record, leaving about an inch around the box. Stuff with poly fill. Hand stitch (badly is best here) the fabric into a lumpy point. Attach belt to the bottom of the fabric to hide your seam. Decorate with spiders, cobwebs, whatever you want.
Witch’s Shoes: supplies – shoes, black tulle, cobwebs, black posterboard/cardstock, spiders. This is how I was inspired but you may find shoes that inspire you differently. The only major modifications I did to these shoes was to glue some tulle to the inside of the toes so that the tulle stuck out and created a back to the shoes with some posterboard. I wanted something that allowed me to drape the cobwebs. I think I glued the spiders to the tulle but I may have just threaded their legs into it.
Masquerade Wreath: supplies – cardboard, masks, ribbon. There are a number of different masks out there and you can even cut out your own from cardstock if you so desired. Since we closed the store, I’ve been working to find ways to use up old inventory so I had a pile of these masks. Make a wreath form out of cardboard (you can purchase one or use an old one if you so desire). Remove any elastic from the masks. Replace with ribbon, if desired (depends on the look you are going for). Glue the masks to the wreath form. Attach a ribbon to the back for hanging.
I do want to note that these masks are made from shiny plastic so there was no embellishing them. I actually had plans to add feathers and glitter to make this more Mardi Gras but they just weren’t holding. I believe I attached the masks with hot glue because of that.
Spiderwebs: supplies – paper, scissors. Like snowflakes, you can make these fun spiderwebs out of any paper you like. Just fold so you get a thick triangle and then cut out random shapes. Unfold and you have a spiderweb.
Ghost wreath: supplies – tissue paper, cotton ball (opt), cardboard, black marker. The original instructions had you wrapping a kleenex around a cotton ball to make these ghosts. I had a box of large squares of tissue paper. I cut it into smaller squares (about 6 x 6). I took one and wadded it into a ball and then wrapped another around it, twist to shape the head and then randomly glued to a circle cut from cardboard. Add marker faces and you have a wreath.
Zombie: supplies: hooded sweatshirt, pillow, zombie mask and hand, barrel shaped container. We used a water cooler that wasn’t needed because it was winter. To make this was so easy. Place the sweatshirt over your barrel container (5 gallon bucket will work as well but it has to be open if you have a large pillow). Bunch up the pillow into a sort of column and attach the mask. Stick in the sweatshirt and top with the hood. Insert hand into the sleeve.
The mask and hand were dollar store finds. The rest came from the house.
Spiderweb “wreath”: supplies – frame, white yarn, glue or tape. This one is so easy I feel like I am cheating. Take a frame (you can borrow one from the wall and then return it to normal when the holiday is over), remove all the glass and stuff. Tape or glue two strands of yarn from corner to corner to make and X. Tie on a long strand of yarn to make the web. Attach spiders (if you desire) and hang on wall.
Spellbook: supplies – box or book, paper. I, almost, didn’t share this one because it was a lot of work. It doesn’t look like it but I shaped the box and created a jewelry type box from a book. What a pain. Then I realized you could get the same effect just using leftover cereal, or the like, boxes. Skip making it open, just attach paper to the box to create the look of books. You can make faux leather covers or fake skin. These are both techniques I am playing with. Perhaps, I can find the motivation to share them with you next week.
A few other ideas we have used over the years:
Decorate tin cans as pumpkins, ghosts, etc. Set a candle with some rocks on the porch.
Ghost Milk Jugs – wash out your gallon jug, decorate with marker. Could make them look like pumpkins as well. If you want, cut a hole in the back for lights or candles (remember plastic melts with heat).
Drip red paint on the edges of wine glass for candle holders (or corn syrup with red food coloring if you want to drink out of them).
We also scour thrift stores for random items to make vignettes on our porch.
I find that once I start finding pieces, the ideas just come a flowing.
If you want a bit more detailed tutorial on any of the projects, let me know. A lot of them were from our time with the store and I have actual tutorials left over from that website.
* (updated 10/19/15) Since some of you were nice enough to come back, I thought I’d share how these decorations look when put together. When it comes to decorating anything in your home, if it doesn’t bring you joy – it’s wrong. So if you spend all your time replicating a magazine spread but it makes you uncomfortable, then it’s the wrong decorations. As I put these decorations out, I couldn’t help but smile. They have memories attached. The remind me of how something so simple could be so wonderful.
Yesterday, our neighbor (we live in an apartment building) caught us to tell us that his kids loved our decorations. My first thought was “decorations?”. I had barely started but when he told me how much his kids enjoyed them, I just knew they were perfect. I wasn’t sure what else I was going to do out there but apparently, I had done it all. That’s the best feeling. I love Fred and he brings me joy every time I come home. Then I am greeted by my hallway and into our living room. It makes being home joyful and wonderful.