5 Festive Decorations to DIY This Season

Happy holidays, from the Shanghai Family team!

by Alex Sheffield | Wed, December 13, 2017

The holiday season brings many happy memories, whether it’s watching your favorite seasonal movie or dusting off the decorations. It’s a great time not only to reconnect with family and friends, but also to make future memories for years to come. When it comes to decking your halls, it’s easy to pop down to the store and purchase everything ready-made, but why not take the opportunity to get creative with the family and make your own instead? We had a lot of fun preparing these five decoration ideas to make your home look great, and you can find all the materials you need right here in Shanghai. It’s time to grab that glitter, get the festive tunes on, and make your own holiday decorations!

Winter Wreath

Christmas Wreath

​The first thing you might see when entering a home during the holidays is one of these hanging on the front door. With so many variations, from fresh green foliage to tinsel, we’ve opted for a more vibrant approach. This wreath is a show stopper, yet super easy to make.

What you need:

• A wire coat hanger (preferably green or brown)

• Christmas tree baubles

• Greenery of your choice (fresh or not)

Step 1: Unravel the hanger and bend it into a circle, keeping the hook at the top intact as this is how you’ll hang the wreath when it’s finished. (Adults, flex your muscles!)

Step 2: Feed the baubles through the hanger in a pattern of your choice.

Step 3: When it’s almost full, wrap the end of the hanger back around the top to close the circle, and then secure the greenery in place to hide the gap.

Gifts Galore​

These little parcels will look fabulous under, or on, your tree; they’re also a great way to recycle your empty toilet rolls! You can either leave them empty, or put some little surprises in there for the children to open on Christmas day.

What you need:

• Empty toilet rolls

• Wrapping paper and ribbons

• Double-sided stickytape

Step 1: Gently flatten the cardboard roll so there are two halves.

Step 2: Plump it out so it’s no longer fat, and then carefully fold the four sides into the center. The roll may start to split at this point so take your time!

Step 3: Cut small strips of wrapping paper and decorate the roll, fixing in place with tape. Then finish by tying with the ribbon.

Metallic Mother Nature​

These beautiful leaves blew us all away, and will make any dining room table look elegant. We love how the detail of the leaves pops as the paint picks it up. Plain wooden balls and pine cones (available at the Yu Garden bazaar) also get a glamorous make-over. Be warned though, the spray paint has quite a potent smell, so keep face masks at the ready.

What you need:

• Shanghai leaves, wooden balls and pine cones

• Metallic “sparkle” aerosol paint

• A face mask and newspaper

Step 1: Pick some leaves from outside, being careful not to grab any that look too grubby. Leave the stem on so you can hold them. Rinse clean with cold water and leave to dry.

Step 2: Find an outdoor space and place the newspaper on the floor. You’ll need to put a face mask on as the paint can be quite strong.

Step 3: Place the items on the paper and spray away! Let them sit overnight so the items dry fully, and place in an area where you won’t be disturbed by the odor.

All that Glitters

​It isn’t Christmas until the glitter comes out (at least in our household anyway!), and these sparkly leaves are just the ticket. Half the fun of this craft is getting messy, so roll up those sleeves and pass the glue...

What you need:

• Shanghai leaves

• Glitter (color of your choice)

• Craft or PVA glue

• Thread, scissors, and a tissue

Step 1: Same as the gold and silver leaves.

Step 2: Once dry, apply glue to 1/3 of the leaf and spread out to the edges with a tissue. Then pinch your glitter and generously apply to the sticky area. Pat down with your fingers.

Step 3: Repeat the gluing and sticking on the 2/3 section, before completing the last – as the glue may set faster than you can sprinkle!

Step 4: Cut off the stem and carefully pierce a hole around 1cm below the top-center of the leaf. Finally, feed through the thread, tie a loop, and hang on your tree.

Top tip: Once finished, spray the leaves lightly with hairspray to fix the glitter in place.

Shanghai Baubles

​What better way to preserve your Shanghai memories than by making baubles of some of the city’s iconic buildings? Each year going forward, you can unpack these sparkly gems and smile as you fondly remember your time in this great city we currently call home.

What you need:

• Card

• Glitter (color of your choice)

• Craft or PVA glue

• Thread, scissors, and a tissue

Step 1: Click here to download the templates for the buildings!

Step 2: Trace the shapes onto a card. Cut out.

Step 3: Apply glue in sections and spread out to the edges with a tissue. Then pinch your glitter and generously apply to the sticky area. Pat down.

Step 4: Repeat gluing and sticking on each section, one at a time, before completing the last area as, again, the glue may set faster than you can sprinkle!

Step 5: Carefully pierce a hole around 1cm below the top-center. Finally, feed through the thread and tie a loop.

Top tip: If using more than one color of glitter, apply one first and allow to dry before applying the next.

Good to know

Yuyuan Market

For the baubles, wooden balls and ribbons head to the Yuyuan Gardens bazaar, just a short walk from Yuyuan Gardens metro, lines 10 and 2, exit 1, 368 Fuyou Lu (near Houjia Lu).

  • A pot of large baubles, ¥25

  • A pot of small baubles, ¥15

  • Bag of large wooden balls, ¥15

  • Bag of small wooden balls, ¥10

  • Bag of pine cones, ¥10

  • Plastic holly leaf garland, ¥10

  • 2m of gold string, ¥2

Marie's Art Shop

Marie’s Art Center had everything we needed in terms of paint, glue, glitter, and more. 850 Xikang Lu (near Changping Lu); 6276 4859.

  • Glitter, ¥10 (per bag)
  • White glue, ¥7

  • Craft glue, ¥5

  • Spray paint, ¥18