Hanging Holiday Stars

I was invited by Elmer’s (the glue people) to join in their Look for Less challenge. If you know me, you probably know that I like a good challenge, and I’m a huge fan of Elmer’s, so I said YES! The challenge was to create a magazine-worthy product with Elmer’s products, for a fraction of the retail cost. That’s doable, but herein lies my second challengeI blog about creative process-based things that I do with my KIDS. Uh-huh. What on earth could we do? But when I spotted these two gorgeous images of hanging paper stars I thought there could be something to it — perhaps a joint effort with me and my 3-year old. Well, you let me know what you think.

I found an easy, workable tutorial at The Magic Onions for our paper stars. This is a little sneak peak at how ours turned out.

I cut large squares from four sheets of 24″ x 36″ drawing paper. You know, the trick where you fold a triangle in the paper and then snip the excess rectangle off? I taped that extra rectangle to the table so that N had a place to store her rubber stamps. She decorated two of the papers with Painter’s Calligraphy Pens, Paint Pens, and stamps. The calligraphy pens were a bit too stinky for her, but she happily continued with the other materials.

Pine cones and snowflakes in a limited palette of red, green, and silver.

Snowflakes, sea stars, and Stars of David. That’s how we roll.

The tutorial over at The Magic Onions is really clear, so I won’t get into the details here, but suffice to say that once you make one, you’ll want to keep cranking them out. They’re so simple!

I used the Elmer’s Craft Bond Extra Strength Glue Stick to seal the paper right up. Worked like a charm.

Waiting for it to dry.

I cut a piece of cotton string, about 3′ long, so we could hang it from the ceiling, and taped it about 3″ inside one of the points.

Then I ran a line of Elmer’s School Glue under the string to give it extra support and along the edge of the point. A little clamp helped keep it all together.

Sticking the pieces together. This was a little tricky. I placed the pointy face of one star in a bowl, rested the other star on top of it, and added bits of school glue to hold it in place. I gave it overnight to dry, but school glue seems to dry in under an hour.

There you go! The Look for Less. Crafted by a mom and her 3-year old. Since I already the drawing paper, stamps, and string, the whole thing cost $0.00! But the materials are so low-cost and flexible anyway, that I bet you could do it too with wrapping paper and ribbon after opening gifts on Hanukkah or Christmas. Or make them from all the extra art work your kids bring home from school. Newspaper colored with potato prints. What do you think?

Giveaway!

Elmer’s is giving away TWO prize packs with the following materials:

  • Black 20×30 Foam Board
  • White 20×30 Foam Board
  • CraftBond All-Purpose Glue Stick
  • CraftBond Repositionable Glue Stick
  • CraftBond Extra-Strength Glue Stick
  • X-ACTO Designer Series Gripster Knife
  • Painters Assorted Colors Set

Leave a comment with your favorite frugal way/s to decorate for the holidays by Wednesday, December 14 at 9 pm PST for a chance to win. Winner will be chosen by random number generator. US addresses only. Congratulations to Jeni Harris and Epiphius, winners of the Elmers prize packages, and thank you to everyone who entered for sharing your great ideas and comments!

Disclaimer: Elmer’s sent me materials to make my project and a $25 Visa gift card.

Comments

  1. Andiette says

    We’ve been crafting lots of decorations this year. Lots of paint, glue, pipe cleaners, and paper!

  2. melanie l says

    i just discovered your blog tonight. love it so far.
    my most frugal way of decorating over the holidays….bringing nature indoors. making little ‘trees’ to decorate by using sticks and small branches. branches of berries. clippings from the holly bush, etc. and we take our decorating into the yard. this year we’ll be decorating a tree with edible ornaments for the birds & squirrels.

    • Rachelle says

      Thanks for the kind words, Melanie. I’m so glad you’re here! Bringing nature indoors is oh-so-frugal, and I have to try the edible ornament idea. My kids will love that!

  3. Angie K. says

    My favorite frugal way to decorate is to use hand me down decorations from my mother and grand parents.  Didn’t cost me a thing but the sentiment is rich.
    Thanks for the chance!

    • Rachelle says

      Isn’t that true, Angie. And you’re so lucky to have hand-me-down decorations that are dear to you.

  4. jengd says

    This looks great- I think I’ll have to snag this idea for when Beast is off school for 2wks.  It’s not quite as frugal as a 3 cent project but I got him a foam ornament kit at Michaels when they were 50% off- ran about $3.  It had glitter glue (I supplemented that), glue, sequins, etc. – enough to make 20 I think.  That’s kept him entertained two different days for over an hour each.  He wouldn’t stop on day 1 until he’d done them all.  Today he went back and added to them… and I don’t think we’re done yet.
    Personally, I like to make my own ornaments, garlands, etc. from felt, balsa, paper, etc.

  5. Lucy says

    I save my niece’s and nephew’s artwork that we do together throughout the year, then wrap their gifts in them.  They like seeing them again and it teaches them to reuse things in fun ways.  They’d love to get their hands on this bundle of goodies!

  6. cesalieb says

    We make cut snowflakes out of old magazine pages, and newpaper, and even security envelopes and make our home into a winter wonderland!

  7. says

    LOVE those stars!  I always see them, but am not willing to shell out the moolah.  Great new decor for your daughter’s room!  We made a Pottery Barn knock-off wall decal for Jane’s room for the challenge last week! http://theoutlawmom.com/2011/12/01/craft-woodland-tree-mirror-wall-decal-elmers-looks4less/ I think she could definitely use some stars to decorate the rest of her huge expanse of wall.

    • Rachelle says

      I’m flattered that you like them, Chrissy! Your Pottery Barn knock-off is adorable and a great way to spruce up those wood walls. I’d love one of those in my daughter’s room.

  8. Catherine says

    Those turned out so pretty!  I love crafts that include the kids.  Our thrifty favorites are paper snowflakes (the old fashioned fold & cut kind) and salt dough.  Both are cheap and fun. 

    Thanks for the chance!

  9. says

    My favorite frugal craft is how my mom always turned last year’s Christmas cards into gift tags. Although it is why I started questioning Santa… lol! This year I’m making salt dough handprint ornaments with my toddler to give as gifts.

  10. Emily says

    What a lovely idea! I can’t wait to make one with shiny wrapping paper. We decorate frugally during the holidays by reusing everything from last year. Our tiny [fake] tree is 9 years old, our decorations are handmade from after-christmas discount cloth, and we wait to get an ornament for each child until after Christmas, when they are 50% off.  

  11. Jeniharris says

    I love what you did with the stars! We just created a winter wonderland theme for my daughter’s birthday by crafting a variety of snowflakes and hanging them from the ceiling. We used basic white printer paper, or any “leftover” printer paper from a bad printing job or alignment page, and the whole family joined in the fun of cutting and folding. We strung light blue lights across the ceiling and the soft glow makes it look like magic snow in my living room. We combined this with our usual tree with all handmade ornaments (many from when I was a toddler) and our handmade gifts underneath.

    My kids would love this Elmer’s package, the scrapbooker in me would love it too! Thanks for all the great ideas on your blog.

  12. Anne B says

    My kids, 2 and 4, love making paper chains. They are simple and can be made for any holiday or celebration. We also use last year’s Christmas cards for gift tags. These stars look simple to do and elegant too. Thanks for posting.

  13. M Wall says

    The stars turned out great! About a year ago I bought a package of blank colored cards and envelopes at a craft store (I think they were intended for making your own xmas cards). We bring out the markers, stickers, stamps and/or glue, and make birthday, get well, anniversary and holiday cards. Not only is it fun for my son, but people seem to really like them, and saving $3-$4 a pop on the cards is nice too!

  14. Kim says

    Cranberry and popcorn strands!  But this might become our new favorite frugal Christmas craft.  LOVE them!

  15. Mmkrieger says

    I like making 3-d Christmas trees out of cardboard boxes and decorating them with my daughter

  16. Taylor says

    One way the pre-k I teach at brings joy to the holidays is holding a Wiseman’s Warehouse. Parents and teachers bring in gently used or new dollar store trinkets and the children get to “shop” with quarters for their family members. My 3 year olds will love having the responsibility of picking their own gifts and wrapping them too! 

  17. Cristina Velazquez says

    Efren (my husband) has created a small christmas tree out of a tree branch that we are going to decorate.  I plan on making little christmas trees out of cardboard and add glitter to the edges.  I want a little cardboard forest.  I am also looking forward to making ornaments out of unused exhibition postcards plus the ones I get on the mail too.
    I would really like to make some of those starts out of old sketches to have at my art studio.
    Oh, what fun this christmas is going to be!

  18. Teresa Anderson says

    We love making toilet paper roll Santa Clauses and we’re going to make flower ornaments with egg cartons. I love watching what the girls come up with.

  19. pixie_bit says

    They kind of remind me of moravian stars, but way less complicated and doable with children!  I love these!  We have been making Borax Crystal ornaments by the gobs this year – the kids twist the pipe cleaners into fun shapes and stir the solution together and then we get them in the morning and start again!  SO fun and really pretty!  The kids thought they sounded lame the first day but after seeing the magic overnight they were hooked!

  20. says

    Ooh, those look great. One year I made salt dough, and we cut out animal shapes from an old set of cookie cutters my mom had found at a garage sale. We painted them and sprayed shellack and hung them on the tree. Pretty cheap and we still have them. Also tried my hand at cinnoman dough.

  21. Melinda Jaz says

    oooh love it Rachelle!  I think we’ll do these this afternoon!  we are in overdrive with the holiday decorating right now – but it’s hard to incorporate my 2 year old into everything I want to do, so we’ve been taking the boxes that arrive (daily..ee..mommy did all her Christmas shopping online!) and decorating them – cutting, glueing, drawing and ultimately making a little city of boxes…

    • Rachelle says

      That’s so clever, Melinda! And good for you on getting that shopping done early. I need to take a page out of your book!

  22. Paraskeva says

    Frugal ways to decorate for the Winter Holidays:
    I recycle book covers into strips of paper that I then turn into paper garlands and drape around the house. The colors are bright and glossy!
    -Tiffany

  23. Mary says

    We make snowflakes by the zillion out of big coffee filters!  And I think I love them mostly because it was my husband who started the tradition… Mr. Scrooge himself, once! 

    Thanks for these stars, they’re great.  I’m looking for an almost-free project for 100+ kids of all ages at a holiday carnival and this is my favorite so far.
    :)

    • Rachelle says

      I have a bag of giant coffee filters…somewhere…and wouldn’t now be the right time to find them! You’ll have to let me know what you ultimately decide to do for the carnival.

  24. Sheau Ching Lee says

    This looks so beautiful. Love her drawings. For Christmas decor, we walked around our neighborhood to gather red berries and used some cotton as snow to decorate Eiya’s shelf. We also plan to try some salt dough ornaments that you posted recently. They would make such great gifts!

  25. Epiphius says

    One of our favorite ways to decorate for the holidays is actually to decorate our packages. We reuse paper bags and are converting to cloth wrapping bags (as I get them sewn and the paper ones wear out) but we still need tags for the gifts. Sometimes we use felt scraps and color code for each person. Sometimes we use wrapping paper from years past and write the person’s name and sometimes we reuse art that the kiddos have made. It’s a very managable way for the kids to participate in gift giving and also a nice opportunity to talk with them about excess and waste. :)

    • Rachelle says

      There can be so much wasted paper around the holidays, and it’s refreshing to hear stories like yours. I sewed up a few reusable cloth bags for wrapping a couple years ago, and you’re reminding me that I need to dig them out soon. 

  26. says

    I love to use my daughter’s artwork to decorate for the holidays.  :)  I also use a cheap frame to frame a picture or two from each Christmas and display them all in my kitchen.  

  27. Jenn Piper says

    We collect dogwood branches (pretty red color), winterberries, pinecones and evergreen boughs to decorate with. I bring my kids and a few collecting buckets with us and we go on a hike and see what we can find. We turned some of the pinecones into gnomes and painted others with glitter glue. We also made cinnamon stick stars this year and cinnamon-applesauce holiday ornaments. Our house smells great! My 4 year old even questioned why they sell “stinky” pinecones at the store when we can get them right outside!

  28. Mamasimpson says

    We make a lot of our decorations from paper. Our first Xmas my husband and I made all of the tree decorations out of paper. Including the tree topper. That was eight years ago and we still use our paper tree topper. It’s a sentimental thing. :D
    Now my 7 year old is into origami so we have many more paper decorations. I love it!

  29. Angela S says

    My favorite is popcorn Garland, but we spray paint it with gold spray paint for something extra!

  30. Molomatic says

    I save my daughter’s artwork throughout the year too.  We use it to make paper chains for the Christmas tree and to hang in the windows.  So colorful and it is a nice way to look back over the year.  Thanks for the fun giveaway!

    molomatic at gmail dot com

  31. Genevieve Grove says

    Sweet giveaway – thanks!  We’re very into the coffee filter snowflakes around here, plus a glittery wreath that took $1 Store garland and an old embroidery hoop.  It’s pretty mod and cool.

  32. Maureen says

    Beautiful!  Our trick is to use the same stuff each year and maybe only add one or two new things each year.  Thanks, Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

  33. says

    I’m a big fan of red and green construction paper ring garlands. We did them in orange, purple and black for Halloween, and my 3 year old loved it. So it’s a repeat for Christmas! We’ll probably also throw in some popcorn garland, if I can keep her from eating it all up.

  34. Mallory says

    Well I stole my idea from a blog called Tinkerlab! I love decorating with the painted spiral paper cieling decorations you made. My classroom is full of them.

  35. Amy Heilveil says

    I am reading this 5 minutes after spray painting 20 egg cartons in various colors. They’re going to be the base and the ‘candle’ holders for making menorahs with my daughter’s kindergarten class next week!  The part that holds the eggs will be the candle holders and they will be glued on top of the (normally) top of the carton (which will be the base of the menorah).The candles will be craft sticks (painted different colors). The kids will be assembling them to take home. They will also be cutting out ‘flames’ for the candles of their menorahs from construction paper. They’ll be decorating their menorahs with markers at school. Now how cool is that?

  36. SFMDF says

    Cut out paper snow flakes and popcorn on a string.  Although, with 3 year old twins, the popcorn ‘string’ usually becomes a popcorn snack:)

  37. Stephanie says

    My aunt taught me years ago how to use plastic 6-pack rings to make snowflakes, and that’s always been one of my favorite crafts to “wow” friends. :)

  38. Corinne Kurzmann says

    We save everything and this year are decorating our presents with paper bags that we colored and pop up cards we made from paper scraps and buttons..
    Corinne

  39. Melissa Mcclure25 says

    I run a daycare and also have a 4 year old and a one year old son. I really enjoy reading your blog. I get a ton of ideas from your site. Thank you again for all your great creativity.

  40. says

    What a fun project! My little guy would love this. This holiday season we have had a wonderful time making many of our own decorations. We have two Christmas trees this year, one with traditional ornaments and the other completed decorated by my son’s handmade decorations (excluding the lights). My son (3 1/2yrs)  has crafted paper candy canes, colored cardboard ornaments, made a paper chain garland, a paper Santa Claus tree topper and used various other materials for decoration. His tree looks adorable and we finally have a fun way to display all of the season’s crafts!

  41. Jennifer Delao says

    I don’t have any idea on how to decorate that is why I started following your blog. You have given me great ideas on how to do things cheaply. I am in the middle of moving so I have not started on any of them, but I cannot wait to start using some of your ideas on here for babys and school aged kids. I will be using the chalk board paint idea for the kids room and creating bean bags for my growing baby. I would love to win the prize to start somewhere on these ideas and get started on being a DIY mommy of three.