Thursday, November 28 2013

DIY ideas for the last-minute holiday party

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Not everyone has a special stash of Christmas decor on reserve.

The tree, ornaments, lights and Santa’s nine inflatable reindeer take up valuable space that, in my case, is better used to store my bike safely indoors.

How then, does the urbanite throw a holiday party without holiday adornments? If you can’t convince a friend to host, the answer is through a resourceful use of dollar store paper, bows, bobbles and things you already had kicking around the house.

1. Mason jar genius

When in doubt, put it in a jar! I took dollar store berries and pinecones, plopped them in a Mason jar and sealed the lid. Done and done.

2. Fill-it-yourself ornaments

Customized Christmas ornaments are fantastic. This type comes in a clear set of six and they open up so you can fill them with whatever you want. Here I used ribbon, tinsel, bows and fabric, but the possibilities are endless!

3. Table present

The easiest way to holiday-up your house for a party is to WRAP EVERYTHING! Photos, artwork, the exercise bike and the coffee table (as seen here) dramatically Christmasify a room. And what’s more fun than being surrounded by giant presents? Added bonus: Built-in protection for spilly guests.

4. Oh, JOY!

Letters and words are still popular in decor, especially around Christmas, but wooden block letters are expensive! Circumventing spending extra cash at every opportunity, I made a paper stencil (tracing letters from my laptop screen) and then traced these onto cardboard. After cutting out the letters I wrapped wrapping paper around the face-up side of the letters as if I were upholstering. Using small bits of tape I slowly folded over paper at the back until they were all covered and then mounted them on the wall. Also, JOY is a Christmasy word, yet not exclusively holiday, so you could always reupholster with a neutral paper or fabric and hang in your room year-round.
Wrapping these tight was tedious, but not too difficult. You may note the ‘Y’ is backwards. I wrapped the whole thing and then realized I did the wrong side. Hopefully only the typographers notice…

5. I like gooooold (serving dishes)

Just add gold. Metallics are a surefire way to inject some holiday, particularly the gilded variety. I purchased gold spray paint ($5 on sale!) and these holiday dishes, (massively discounted to $2 each) and spray-painted them outside. Tip: Spray paint the bottom first, with dishes upside-down. (I did this backwards and got some ugliness on the top rim that I’ll need to sand and repaint). Also, don’t spray too much, too close, too fast, because that’s when you get drips.

6. Faux burlap, real art

This burlap art project was simple. I like the look of black drawings or text on burlap, so I purchased three dollar store frames ($1 each), and burlap scrapbook paper (on sale 4 sheets for $1), cut out pieces to size and scribbled a drawing in black pen. You could also print images on the faux burlap using a computer, or stencil art/text. I left the frames for now but I’ll likely re-paint after the holidays.

7. Mini cup paper lanterns

I first saw this idea from and it was so smart in its simplicity. Find small paper cups, pierce a hole and put them over your LED Christmas lights. Warning, I’m sure electricity professionals would advise against putting anything over a light source, so this may just be good for a holiday party where you’re jazzing things up for a couple hours and you can keep on eye on things.

8. Name that cup

Name tags for glassware is popular, but my parties are still in the plastic cup stage, so I opted for these fuzzy snow-like letters from the dollar store that stick on to name people’s cups.

9. Burlap and candles can mix

If you’re like me and candles are just for show (i.e. not to be lit!), burlap wrapped in anything is a chic way to form a candle centrepiece. I wrapped burlap around a silver candle with some ribbon, but you could wrap berries around the burlap with chord or yarn — tons of options. If you actual want this to be a functioning candle, you could apply the same technique on a Mason jar. Wrap burlap around a Mason jar and then put your candle inside.


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