It’s the thought that counts when it comes to gifts, so why not make your own this year? There are studios around Dubai and Abu Dhabi where you can make something truly unique, with the helping hand of a craft expert to guide you along the way.
Art Beat has a selection of découpage and paintable Christmas tree decorations such as heart-shaped baubles and plates you can decorate using porcelain pens, festive stencil designs and sponge stamps. There are also ceramic Christmas cake boxes and trays for Santa’s biscuits. “Decorate a candle with special candle paint that melts with the candle,” says the manager Samia Shehadeh. Or children of any age can make découpage camels as gifts and decorate Christmas cards with glitter pens and paint.”
L’atelier des Arts
L’atelier des Arts in the Fotouh Al Khair Centre is an Aladdin’s cave of crafty items you would normally have to hunt far and wide for. It's well stocked up for the festive season, with an impressive range of tasteful festive wrapping paper and handmade Christmas tree decorations. “We have spent the past three months preparing for Christmas," explains the manager Noha Ismail. “You can either buy the raw materials and we explain how to make something beautiful with them, or buy the finished products that have been made for you.” Decorate wooden tissue boxes, photo frames and egg cups, or create a festive picture out of mosaic tiles in your own unique style.
Abu Dhabi Pottery
Anyone can come and get their hands dirty at Abu Dhabi Pottery’s classes and have a go at making ornaments or pots as special Christmas gifts. All classes must be booked and paid for in advance; see the website for times.
Desert Patch arts and supply shop in Dubai Garden Centre is holding decopatch workshops every Saturday morning from 9am to 2pm. It has stars, bells and angel decorations to decopatch and hang on the Christmas tree, and you can buy kits for Christmas gifts. The manager Yvonne Barnes says: “We’ve had really positive feedback as the Garden Centre extension is so tropical and everyone loves the decopatch concept. We are also selling at RIPE at Safa Park on Friday mornings, with a special Christmas decoration promotion.”
Café Céramique has all sorts of festive ceramic figurines to paint, including Christmas trees, snowmen and Santa figures. For something unusual, decorate a snowman cookie jar and make sure whoever it’s for remembers who made it by writing them a personal message on the jar.
Where to buy materials
• The Booksshop Library – for lollipop sticks, beads, paints, paper, polystyrene sheets and foam shapes, including foam stars to brighten up the Christmas tree. Branches in Abu Dhabi (near Al Wahda Mall) and Al Ain (Al Muwaiji) www.thebookshop.ae
• Jarir Bookstore at Mina Port is a great place for cardboard boxes, felt and glitter, www.jarirbookstore.com
• Najma Stationery shop in Khalifa A is brilliant for paints, glitter, sequins, felt, paper of any kind and coloured electrical tape, 02 556 2725
• Daiso is ideal for felt, ribbons, wiggly eyes, pom-poms, sequins and ribbons. The stock varies depending on the store, with branches throughout the UAE, www.daisome.com
• Creative Minds, with branches in Al Barsha and Jumeirah, sells a range of craft materials for DIY festive fun, including lifelike figures and animals to put together your own nativity scene, www.creativemindsdubai.com
1 cup salt
1 cup plain flour
½ cup water
Knead until dough forms. Roll out a medium-sized ball of dough until 1cm thick. Press child’s hand firmly into the dough to make an impression. Cut around hand shape with a knife leaving a border. Poke a hole in the top for hanging. Bake at 100ºC/200ºF for three hours. Paint, seal with varnish or craft sealer and it’s ready to hang.