Every year I decide that this is going to be the year that I nail Christmas DIY decorations and every year I have many more fails than successes. I’d like to think that with my cooking, I’ve proven that I can follow recipes – even complicated ones – so it stands to reason that I would also be able to follow the directions bloggers post. And yet … nothing EVER turns out the way the picture looks. At this point I can only conclude that the projects are much more difficult than my fellow bloggers are letting on but that they simplify the directions for the blog because ain’t no one going to pin a project that legitimately takes hours and days to complete.
This year, the one project that turned out exactly the way I expected were my pinecone ornaments. Maybe because it was the easiest one of the bunch? Basically, buy pinecones at Michaels. If you want, paint the tips white. Then, when dry use your glue gun to attach twine to the top. They should be dry and ready to hang in less than 20 minutes.
Another Christmas ornament DIY that I attempted is the old frosted ornament. Supposedly, this is easy to do. You simply buy glass or plastic ornaments, cover them with Mod Podge and sprinkle salt, sugar, or glitter on them. Some people go nuts and put all three on. Ooh, sparkly.
I followed the directions EXACTLY as stated on multiple blogs and as you can see in the picture above, they did NOT turn out well. I washed them off and let them dry thoroughly before giving it another shot.
This time they looked significantly better, and I had high, high hopes for some beautiful frosty goodness on my tree. I let them dry for hours, and then when I picked them up, half the salt fell off. And then it just kept falling off, leaving me with very little in the way of frost. So, I washed them all off – again – and set the ornaments out to dry.
At that point I was going to just put the clear ornaments on my tree, but that felt lame and I decided that I was going to try one more thing with them – decoupage ornaments.
Let me tell you, this did not start out very well. Between the failed frost and the first attempt, I was getting the impression that something was wrong with my Mod Podge. Hundreds of moms the world over make ornaments every year with three year olds. Surely I could make them work?
Or maybe not?
Again, I followed the directions precisely … and this was the result. I started to wonder if the blogger was trying to make these crafts seem elegant in their construction, so I did away with the various brushes and sweet method of attaching shredded book to ornament and just used my hands and a ton of Mod Podge. I just kept squeezing the papers down and putting more and more and more Mod Podge on the ornament until I was sure the paper would stick. After the first one I also mixed in some gold glitter because … why not?
Success! Decoupage, bitches!
Feeling high from my conquering of this craft, I decided to move on to a series of beautiful white ornaments made using air dry clay and cookie cutters. My success was not to be long-lived.
The first tutorial I read talked about using an old cable knit sweater to imprint a cable pattern into the clay. In theory that sounded wonderful and beautiful and exactly what I wanted to do. In reality? Yeah. Not so much. I won’t even show you those ones. Then I tried this cedar imprint method and again, not exactly what the blog post I read looked like. I really don’t know what these people are doing to make their ornaments look so darn good. If I didn’t know better I’d say they’re buying professionally made ones and trying to pass them off as homemade, because I found not one single way to make these air dry clay ornaments look anything like the ones that I found online. In the end, I kind of gave up and just went with glitter, Mod Podge, and cedar.
In the end, I probably spent close to four hours on the crafting of these ornaments, and if you add in the drying time, these all took about 10 hours. I don’t really have a lot to show for it, and I’m not sure that I even enjoyed myself all that much. Still, I want to have beautiful homemade ornaments on my tree so I have a feeling that every year I’ll continue to give it a shot – and likely fail – but maybe someday all the practice will yield perfection?