From the Field

How’d they do that: DIY Christmas crafts from around the world

There’s something special about handmade crafts at Christmastime, especially Christmas crafts made by kids. So we asked some of the children and families we help around the world to share their favorite Christmas crafts with you!

In Armenia, Christmas ornaments come to life from yarn and balloons. Families in Cambodia use construction paper to fashion Christmas cards with festive trees. In the Dominican Republic, crafters cut felt paper to create stunning expressions of flor de Pascua, the poinsettia. In Lesotho, they create intricate patterns in mud that dry into a path meant to welcome Jesus into their hearts and home. Families in the Philippines use soda bottles to fashion sparkling recycled Christmas trees.

Learn how to make these DIY Christmas crafts from around the world!

Armenia: Yarn ball ornaments

Supplies

  • Cotton yarn
  • Small balloons
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Water
  • Glitter
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Pin
  • Disposable bowl
  • Gloves (unless you don’t mind sticky fingers)
  • Parchment paper

Instructions

  1. Blow up a balloon to about a 5-inch round ball.
  2. In a disposable bowl, add one spoonful of glue per ornament, and thin the glue slightly with water.
  3. Take a bundle of yarn and dip it into the glue, soaking it all over.
  4. Wrap the wet yarn all around the balloon, tucking the tip of the yarn under once you’ve reached the end.
  5. While the yarn is still wet, sprinkle glitter onto parchment paper and roll the ornament in it to add sparkle.
  6. Set aside to dry for a couple of hours.
  7. Once dry, pop the balloon with a pin and gently pull it out between the hard yarn threads, using tweezers if needed.
  8. Tie a ribbon loop to a thread of the ornament to hang it on a tree.
Christmas card with Christmas tree made from construction paper.
In Cambodia, families enjoy a favorite craft of creating pop-up Christmas cards from construction paper. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Chanthany Chea)

Cambodia: Pop-up Christmas tree cards

Supplies

  • Colored construction paper: green, yellow, and brown 
  • Colorful cardstock paper 
  • Scissors 
  • Glue 
  • Stencils or templates to trace for Christmas trees, stars, and tree trunks 
  • Decorations of your choosing (glitter, stickers, paint, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Using stencils or templates, trace six identical Christmas trees, six stars, and six tree trunks on the green, yellow, and brown construction paper. Cut out each shape.
  2. On a new piece of construction paper, layout a tree, star, and trunk to form the shape of a Christmas tree. Trace around the three pieces, leaving a quarter-inch margin all around (refer to the light-yellow paper behind the pop-up tree in the photo). Cut out the Christmas tree shape, and set it aside. 
  3. Cut a piece of cardstock paper into a square, large enough that it will be bigger than the pop-out Christmas tree. Since this will determine the size of your card, you can make it larger than pictured if you want more room to write a note around it.
  4. Carefully fold the trees, stars, trunks, cardstock paper, and Christmas tree shape from step 2 in half. 
  5. Take a folded tree and apply glue to one side. Take a second folded tree and lay it on top of the glue, carefully lining it up with the other tree. Repeat this step with each tree until all six are glued together. Set aside to dry.
  6. Repeat step 5 with the stars and trunks.
  7. Take the folded Christmas tree-shaped paper from step two and open it up. Apply glue to the back of the pop-up stars, trees, and trunks, and affix them to the seam of this paper so that a quarter-inch margin sticks out all around.
  8. Apply glue to the back of the Christmas tree-shaped paper and affix it to the seam of the cardstock paper.
  9. Once the glue has dried, carefully open your pop-up Christmas tree card. Add decorations, glitter, and a note.  

Dominican Republic: Flor de Pascua Christmas flowers

Supplies

  • Two pieces of white paper to cut out petal stencils  
  • 8.5 x 11-inch sheets of felt: red or white 
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun
  • Plastic pearls, red for white flowers or gold/silver/white for red flowers 
  • Sewing pins 

Instructions

  1. On a white sheet of paper, draw a five-petal flower to create a stencil for the base of the flower. Also draw a single, separate petal shape, the same size as the five petals on the base. 
  2. Cut the shapes out. 
  3. Pin the paper flower base to a piece of felt, and cut around the stencil. 
  4. Pin the petal to the felt, and cut around the stencil. Repeat four more times until you have 5 petals. 
  5. Cut off one tip on each of the petals.
  6. Put a drop of hot glue on the cut-off tip of the petals. Fold and pinch the base of each petal until it is fixed. 
  7. Place all five petals on the felt flower base, with each of the pinched ends meeting in the middle. Affix them to the base with glue. 
  8. Apply a drop of glue at the center of the petals, and stick a couple of pearls to the glue.
Woman and child decorate a patch of mud outside the entrance of their house.
Twelve-year-old Lieakae (right) and her grandmother lay and decorate mud outside the entrance of their home. It will dry into a beautiful new path to welcome Jesus into their hearts and home on Christmas day. (©2019 World Vision/photo by ‘Makopano Semakale)

Lesotho: Paving the way for Jesus

As Christmas approaches, Christian families in rural areas of Lesotho clean and decorate their homes in honor of their Savior’s birth. Twelve-year-old Lieakae and her grandmother decorate mud outside the entrance of their house. It will dry into a beautiful new path to welcome Jesus into their hearts and home on Christmas day.

Lieakae’s grandmother uses soil, cow dung, and water to create this pathway. For a fun alternative, try using air-dry modeling clay to create decorative tiles or Christmas ornaments.

Supplies

  • Air-dry modeling clay
  • Decorating tools (we recommend toothpicks and plastic silverware if you don’t have pottery tools)
  • Optional: cookie cutters, ribbon

Instructions

  1. Roll out a ball of clay on wax paper until it is about a half-inch thick.
  2. Cut off the edges to make a 6-by-6-inch square tile or could use cookie cutters to create Christmas ornaments. If you’re making ornaments, remember to poke a hole at the top for a ribbon.
  3. Using the decorating tools of your choice, apply your design.
  4. Set your creation in a safe place to dry for about 24 hours.
  5. If you made an ornament, thread your ribbon through the hole at the top and tie a loop so you can hang it.

Philippines: Recycled soda bottle trees

Supplies

  • Six 24-ounce green plastic soda bottles
  • One 2-liter green plastic soda bottle
  • Scissors
  • Glow-in-the-dark glue
  • Glue gun
  • Paper towel tube
  • Parchment paper
  • Tape
  • Optional: beads

Instructions

  1. Using scissors, cut the bottoms off all six 24-ounce bottles, making each bottle one inch shorter than the previous one. This doesn’t have to be precise, but they could range from 4 inches tall to 9 inches tall.
  2. Use scissors to cut half-inch vertical strips up to the lid of each of the bottles.
  3. Make the strips curve outward by stroking them with the scissors, like you would curl a ribbon.
  4. Remove the bottle cap and plastic ring of each bottle.
  5. Apply dots of glow-in-the-dark glue on each strip in random places for your “lights.” Let dry.
  6. Cut the paper towel tube vertically and roll it to make it tight enough to fit through the bottle mouthpieces. Tape the tube. Wrap it in parchment paper and tape it in place.
  7. Insert the tube through the mouthpiece of the shortest bottle. Slip the second shortest bottle beneath the shortest. Apply hot glue to the rim of the mouthpiece of the second shortest bottle, and then press the mouthpiece to the base of the shortest bottle above. Repeat this step with each of the other bottles until all six are glued together.
  8. Carefully remove the paper towel tube.
  9. Cut the 2-liter bottle horizontally about 5 inches below the mouth of the bottle. This is the base upon which you can set the 6-tiered Christmas tree.
  10. Put the cap back on the top tier bottle. Feel free to add more decorations, like beads that look like ornaments or a tree topper.

 

World Vision staff members Gayane Galstyan in Armenia, Claudia Martinez Perez in the Dominican Republic, Chanthany Chea in Cambodia, ‘Makopano Semakale in Lesotho, and Mong Jimenez in the Philippines contributed to this article.

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