9 cheap DIY holiday decor ideas, including ornaments & gift-wrapping

Gingerbread houses are cute and all, but if you’re going to get crafty during the holidays, why not make something a little more useful (that won’t attract bugs)? The slides below feature three do-it-yourself ornaments, three gift-wrapping ideas and three other unique and incredibly easy projects that can help you decorate your home this Christmas.

Acrylic-paint bulbs

Acrylic-paint bulbs

This ridiculously easy project — found on A Yellow Bicycle blog — requires only two things: glass ornament bulbs and acrylic paint. Place one drop each of two to four different colored paints inside the top of the glass bulb. Twist the bulb around in your hands so the paint streaks or swirls in whatever direction you choose. For a step-by-step photo tutorial.

Glittery pinecone ornaments

Glittery pinecone ornaments

A great craft for both adults and kids, these glitter pinecones are made by using a paintbrush to cover the pinecones with clear glue, then sprinkling them with glitter and gluing on a satin ribbon. Besides being simple and practically free, they also look beautiful and festive on the tree.

Penguin lightbulb ornament

Penguin lightbulb ornament

Even if you’re the type who has trouble coloring inside the lines or keeping the nail polish on your nails, you can pull off this DIY penguin ornament. All you need is a lightbulb — choose a used one that would just get thrown away anyway — some paint and a ribbon. A foolproof craft that will leave the landfill with one less lightbulb and leave you with a super adorable decoration for your tree.

Crossword wrapping paper

Crossword wrapping paper

Instead of using labels to indicate the recipient of each gift, get creative this year and make your own crossword wrapping paper so you can circle the recipient’s name on the package! Go to Discovery Education’s Puzzlemaker site to create the crossword, save your creation on a zip drive and make a stop at Kinko’s to print it on the best paper you can find for wrapping.

Use photos instead of gift labels

Use photos instead of gift labels

A cute way to customize each present is to use a photo of the gift recipient instead of one of the generic gift labels. We like the way Our Suburban Farm blog used brown paper and black and white photos.

Woven paper gift toppers

Woven paper gift toppers

We know this one doesn’t look Christmas-y at all, but imagine using green, red and gold — it’d be a beautiful way to step up your gift-wrapping this year. Check out the step-by-step photo tutorial at Minie Co. blog to give it a shot.

Half-dipped glitter mason jars

Half-dipped glitter mason jars

These pretty holiday jars, which we found on A Bit of Bees Knees blog, are just your average mason jars dipped in gold glitter — but they’re perfect for festive candleholders. Simply cover half of the mason jar with paper, and tape down the edge of the paper to make a smooth line. Spray or paint the other half of the jar with clear glue, dip the jar in glitter, peel off the tape and paper, and brush off the excess glitter when the glue is dry.

Wire trees

Wire trees

Need some holiday centerpieces for the tables this year? These decorative trees are inexpensive and easy to make, and can bring some holiday cheer to any part of the home. Go to a craft store and buy foam cones and some copper or steel wire; simply wrap the wire around the cone, and voila! Now you can have a Christmas tree in every room if you want to!

Cinnamon-stick candles

Cinnamon-stick candles

Not only do these make for elegant holiday decor, but the heated cinnamon also makes your home smell phenomenal! All you need to do is use twine to tie cinnamon sticks around any old candle. We’re getting excited just thinking about that cinnamon smell combined with the smell of the pine from the Christmas tree!