Friday, December 1, 2017

Holiday Craft Ideas for All Ages

It's arts and crafts time, my friends!

No matter what you celebrate, the holidays are a time for family and friends, enjoying each other's company, eating cookies, and decorating our living and working spaces to the nines. Because you're never too old to enjoy some glitter and glue, Kat has compiled some fun, crafty ideas for library patrons of all ages.

There are so many (SO many!) great ideas out there, but I chose a few that are a little bit different than you may have seen before. Of course, Pinterest is your best friend here!


Book Page Wreaths are the most library of all holiday decorations (except perhaps the "book tree," where you stack up a bunch of books and wrap lights all around, but you can't really have that as a DIY Night). There are instructions all over the Internet, but we particularly like the one on the Shabby Creek Cottage blog. How festive is this?! Now, she says that her wreath took several hours, but it's also 3 feet across. Smaller wreaths are easy enough for lessons, and patrons can make their own giant ones at home.

Making a Pinecone Christmas Tree is super cute, and super easy! All you have to do is buy (or find!) pinecones, and decorate them with sequins, glitter, buttons, and the like.
Directions for these can be found at

A classier (less spangly) version can be found on the Amy's Delights Blog, where the green pinecones are dabbed with white "snow," and placed into a small terra cotta pot. Either way, these pinecone trees are delightful!

For a slightly more involved craft, you can turn a sock into a snowman or penguin, by following a few simple steps. No sewing is involved! You just need clean socks, rubber bands, rice (or other filler), and some basic decorations.

Find step-by-step directions for both crafts on the Easy, Peasy, and Fun website!


Marshmallow decorating can be great fun! Did you know that they make food-safe markers, so you can draw right on your food before you eat it? SO COOL! December is the perfect time to make marshmallow dreidels, with Hershey kiss points and pretzel stick stems, as they demonstrate on went a step farther and also made chocolate-dipped marshmallow dreidels with sprinkles. Delicious! Please note, most marshmallows are not kosher - check your package before serving. (One of my amazing coworkers made a marshmallow menorah one year, and it just can't be topped. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of this, but I will have to make one and update this post!)

Marshmallows can celebrate any holiday, and make lovely cocoa stirrers if you pop a marshmallow onto a peppermint stick, and perhaps decorate it with snowflakes. Or, be extra adorable and make the marshmallow into a tiny cup of "cocoa" like they did at (Have you seen this? I LOVE this! It's like my new favorite thing.)

Cookies and Cocoa Of course, cookie decorating is always a classic holiday pastime, and is even better with hot chocolate. Enjoy a "hot cocoa bar" by providing options to decorate one's own cocoa, including sprinkles, coffee syrup flavors, whipped cream, marshmallows, and candy. Delicious! (And very Instagrammable. Can you say #delicious?) This photo is from the JorgensenBetterTogether blog.

Not the garland, sorry! Just one book.
Tiny Book Garlands Could this tiny book be any cuter? Tiny books are very easy to make, and I've done them as necklaces in the past. One of the teens at my craft class became an instant pro at making them, and after making one for each friend and family member, she made a whole garland of them for me! I have them hanging in my window, but they could easily be strung around a tree. Instructions can be found here.


Edible Christmas Trees are so easy! This photo is from, but I originally got this idea from, of all places, a Sesame Street Christmas book that I had when I was a kid. All you need to do is take regular sugar-cone ice cream cones, cover them in green frosting, and decorate. So delicious!

(P.S. The book is this one, if you're curious, but since it's from 1982, it may be hard to find. I still have my copy. It also recommends making gingerbread houses out of graham crackers.)

Kat's actual computer monitor right now
Paper Christmas Lights are fun and easy to make! All you need is paper and either ribbon (for a large garland), or embroidery floss (for smaller ones, which work perfectly decorating computer monitors and lockers). Simply cut out the shapes and glue them together to make decorative and festive- but not electric! - holiday cheer.

Macaroni snowflakes are easy, fun, and can be absolutely beautiful. has many ideas for snowflake designs. You can paint the macaroni white (or silver, or light blue) before allowing the kids to assemble them, and then they can add their own glitter (if you dare). Wagon wheels work well, as do flowers, shells, bowties, and any number of other pasta shapes. Check the link for a bunch of different shape ideas, or let the kids create their own.

All Ages

Gingerbread houses (or even just cookies) are fun to decorate, and the candy supplies provide snacks during the program with no extra effort on your part. Plus, they smell nice! There are a few different options for using gingerbread or sugar cookies in your programs. You could provide blank cookies or un-decorated houses (kits would work nicely here) and let patrons decorate their own during the program with icing and candy; graham cracker houses would be an easy, cost-effective choice as well. The image here is from, and is one of their assembled kit houses.

You could also have a contest, where patrons bring in their gingerbread creations from home and have them on display at the library. Winners could be decided by in-person ballot or on social media, thus increasing your online reach, with different prizes for different age groups. 

Ugly Sweaters And speaking of contests, you can also do a great contest with ugly sweaters - who can make the best/worst? This would be a super fun program to pull out all your odds and ends of craft materials, and see who has what it takes to win the Ugly Trophy (preferably something homemade and glittery).

As a side note: Kat somewhat objects to calling these sweaters "ugly," because she finds them to be fabulously festive and fun, but a commonly used term is a commonly used term, and so be it.

Ornaments can be fun for all ages, as well, with the difficulty varying based on age group. Clear glass ornaments can be filled with white foam beads and a snowman face drawn with paint markers; tinsel and feathers can be stuffed inside for an easier, more abstract design. There are a million ornament ideas out there; I won't bore you with mine.

Wrap Party
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that gift wrapping is an art-form, and therefore, this counts. If you have a meeting room available, set aside a day where people can come and wrap gifts, enjoy cookies and cocoa, and perhaps festive movies or music. (I did this one year and asked for donations of gift wrap and ribbons - we got TONS, and the program hardly cost us anything at all!) This was originally an adult program, but we varied it to let kids wrap gifts for friends and relatives, and had some unique wrapping options in addition to the traditional ones - paper lunch sacks that you could color or decorate with stickers, and large coloring sheets to fill in and then wrap boxes in. Of course, there were lots of ribbons and bows. 

We would love to see ideas of your holiday crafts! Please let us know here in the comments, on Twitter, or on our Facebook page.

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