DIY Christmas Banners! For Every Era-themed Dinner Imaginable! (or just two)
Updated: Aug 4
Ok, Christmas is totally a time for traditions, yes. I am the biggest tradition stickler out there. Growing up, my brother and I had this ornament on our Christmas Tree that we called Seek Secret. Seek Secret was a little pompom creature (maybe a bear?) that lived inside a plastic canvas yarn box. It looked more or less exactly like this. Seek Secret was the shit. He lived inside his little box all season long, and on Christmas morning we would open the box and let Seek Secret out. I would FREAK OUT when we finally got to open Seek Secret. God, that was such a freaking good tradition. Seek Secret lives on. He found a new home on my brother's tree where I am sure he is delighting my nieces with his seek secrecy.
That is all to say that I love holiday traditions. However, there is one part of my holiday fervor that I like to mix up from year to year. Every year Rachel and I choose a different theme to inspire our Christmas decorating. There are somethings that are constant - the tree, the ornaments, the wreath - but we like to mix up the other accoutrements. "That seems so expensive," you say. Well... yes, we do actually get really excited about the theme and end up spending way more than we thought we would on new lights and shit, but I am here to tell you about the Christmas miracle that is paper crafts! Seriously - a simple paper garland can take your dining room from 2015 to 1915 in about 30 minutes! If you don't believe me, grab some fairly expensive paper from a place like Paper Source and let's get cutting!
Ok, first we did a Victorian Christmas. We put thick red and gold ribbon around the tree, we used white tree lights, we had loads of fresh garland on the windows, and we made this beauty:
Admittedly, this project was a little more time consuming than I indicated. You need the following items:
1.) Fancy Paper. I chose gold sparkle and a diamond pattern, but you can do what ever you damn well please. Get 6 - 8 sheets of 3ft x 2ft paper.
2.) An exact-o knife.
3.) These stencils.
4.) Foamcore board... go for 3 sheets.
5.) Spray adhesive
6.) Some sort of string. I bought velvet ribbon because what the hell.
I think the most important thing here is to get the paper attached to the foam core before you do any cutting. So you are going to want to spray the poster board with the adhesive and glue a sheet of paper to the board. Flip the board and glue the same type of paper on the back. You have just transformed your boring foam core into special holiday foam core! Go you!! Do this again with another sheet of foam core and the other type of paper so you have two different special holiday foam cores. Unless you are only using one type of paper. Then you just keep on keeping on, buddy.
Next step - place each letter stencil that I made for you on the special foam core you made. Careful - if you want your letters alternating... make sure they are. Hold the stencil firmly, then, using the exact-o knife, trace the stencil using several shallow strokes to cut all the way through the foam core. You can even tape the stencil to the foam core if if makes you happy. Using shallow strokes will help mitigate the knife snagging on the paper.
When all the letters are detached, stab them each in two places at the top. Once they each have two stabholes, thread the string/velvet ribbon through them. Hang that shit up and play some Snap Dragon or another terrifying-yet-fun Victorian family game!
Now let's move on to the garland for the next era theme we chose: a midcentury Christmas!
Here is the thing though - we weren't going to decorate our house like hip people in 1954. We were going for "1954 struggling to let go of 1948." We've all been there. I mean, it took me years to let go of this Delia*s short sleeve hoodie sweatshirt with cartoon birds and rhinestones all over it. We all make our own mistakes.
So, anyway, we were going for a 1954 look that referenced a 1940s aesthetic. No new technology here, just paper crafts. Ok, this one is a million times easier than the previous garland. All you need is:
1.) Several types of fancy paper (I chose 4) with vintage patterns
2.) String/velvet ribbon
3.) Simple scissors
4.) Double-sided tape (or regular tape. Up to you)
Riley really like this one. She is wearing her snowman outfit in this photo.
Ok, this is pretty self-explanatory. Cut a diamond shape out of one of the papers. Remember that the size of your triangles will be half of the diamond. So cut accordingly. Use this diamond at a template to size all the other flags. Cut them all out and fold them in half! Put them in alternating order over the ribbon, then place double-sided tape along the triangles' edges and press the two sides together. Or make wee tape donuts along the edges. Again - up to you. You are the paper artist.
Then go ahead and hand that bad boy up! You are winning Christmas! I hope you never again forget the power of a bunch of paper on a string when you are mixing up your Christmas game.