x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

How to make your own holiday decorations

If you're feeling creative and have the time, you can save money with our step-by-step instructions for tea light lanterns and bunting.

Cut along the marked lines. Tina Chang / The National
Cut along the marked lines. Tina Chang / The National

Decorations and cards can sell out fast during December, and when you do manage to find something you like, it's often expensive. But if you're feeling creative and have the time, making them yourself might be less of a challenge.

Salt dough decorations - just flour, water and salt - are a great way to get children involved in the Christmas preparations. Cut out the dough using star- and heart-shaped cookie cutters (Dh9 each, Lakeland), spray with red or white craft paint (Dh12, Ace) and you have a set of folksy-style tree decorations for next to nothing.

Continuing with the Nordic theme, we made some Christmas bunting with a few dirhams worth of fabric from Ikea, plus 10 tealight lanterns and a dozen Christmas cards for less than Dh30, all in one afternoon.

Specialist craft shops such as Paper Lane (Town Centre, Dubai) and Craft Corner (Airport Road, Abu Dhabi, next to the Marks & Spencer building), stock a good selection of materials such as stamps, stickers and craft paints for cardmaking. To make the lanterns and cards, we used a book of Prima's decorative North Country paper (Dh55 for 48 sheets), though of course any paper or card can be used. We also bought a set of six Christmas-themed rubber stamps (Dh50) to customise the cards and lanterns.

Make your own lantern

You will need

A sheet of A4 paper Scissors or craft knife Sellotape, craft glue or adhesive mounting squares Fabric, ribbon or stamps to decorate


Cut the A4 paper in half lengthways.

Take one of the halves and fold firmly in half lengthways.

Using a pencil, mark a short line (2cm long) at 2cm intervals along the fold of the paper. Leave a gap of at least 2cm at each edge of the paper.

Using your craft knife or scissors, cut along the marked lines from the fold towards the edge of the paper.

Unfold the paper.

If you want to decorate the centre of the lantern (as we did with the snowflake stamp), do so now.

Make the paper into a circle then using glue or Sellotape, stick the ends together. We used adhesive mounting squares for a neater finish.

Press the lantern down so the centre expands.

Decorate further with fabric or coloured paper (as pictured) as you wish. We used strips of fabric left over from the bunting.

Place over a tealight, making sure that the flame does not touch the side of the paper. Remember, never leave the lanterns unattended.

Make your own bunting

You will need

1/2 metre of fabric of at least two contrasting colours (all ours were from Ikea)

3m of red or white ribbon (the wider the better)



A piece of cardboard


Draw a triangle on the cardboard to make a template.

Place the template on your fabric and cut out a triangle.

Turn the triangle upside down and cut out your next piece - this way you make the most of your fabric.

When you have enough triangles (we used 16), iron then place them at regular intervals along the ribbon.

Fold the top of the ribbon over each triangle and pin in place.

Hand or machine sew each triangle to the ribbon. We used the machine's zigzag stitch for a decorative effect.