Vail Daily column: Do-it-yourself holiday crafting | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Do-it-yourself holiday crafting

Here we are again at that time of year that we all anxiously wait for. The snow has fallen, caroling has begun and the town is bustling with holiday cheer. Our homes are constantly filled with the scents of pumpkin pies, warm sugar cookies, spiced apple cider, and so much more. However, the one smell that sets our hearts on fire is the fresh cut Christmas tree that we have just brought home. But wait, it is bare and needs some personality. Before you run out to the store to purchase the fanciest ornaments you can find, consider making natural ornaments to jazz up your tree. It also makes a great social activity for all ages of family and friends if you decide to host a do-it-yourself ornament party!

Now, I know some of you are thinking, “I am far from a crafter and could never in a million years create my own tree decorations,” but I am here to reassure that you can. Furthermore, by adorning your tree with natural ornaments, you are helping to conserve our Earth’s resources by reducing the demand for manufactured goods, and eliminating a lot of glass and plastic material that would end up in landfills after the holiday season ends. Also, some ornaments which you choose to make can be donated back to the Earth to feed local wildlife while most of their food is buried in snow. So, without further ado here are a few activities to get you started!

Golden walnuts

Cut thick gauge wire into 1 1/2-inch strips. Then, using the pliers bend one end of each strip into a small loop and leave about an inch of straight wire at the end. Dip the straight end of each wire strip into the hot glue tip and squeeze a little to apply a little glue. Stick the wire end with the glue down into the center of the top of the nut where the shell halves meet and press down until the loop is right against the top of the nut. You can use another piece of wire to remove extra glue. Spray paint with a few coats of holiday colors to match your home decor, allow to dry completely and add beautiful ribbons to the loop. Enjoy!

Dried fruit icicles

Using a needle and unflavored waxed dental floss, thread raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, and dried blueberries to form 1 1/2 to 2-foot lengths. Start with a knot at the end of the string or tie and knot the floss around the first raisin and continue stringing fruit. Alternatively, a small bell can be attached to the bottom. Tie the top end with a colorful ribbon to hang. When the holiday season is just about over, you can hang it the icicles outside on a tree for the birds. Just remember to bring them in at night as to not attract bear and other unfavorable wildlife.

Cinnamon stick ball

Completely coat floral foam balls of various sizes in brown or gold spray paint. Thread a string or ribbon of your choice through what will be the top of the ornament before you add cinnamon sticks. Break fresh whole cinnamon sticks into various lengths and arrange around the ball by pushing them in. Be sure not to push the cinnamon sticks all the way through. These cool arrangements also double as a natural air freshener as opposed to canned fresheners that pollute the air!

You can come up with some of your own ideas too. Get inspired from nature’s beauty and all its materials, and get crafting. Happy holidays!

Taylore Willis is a naturalist at Walking Mountains Science Center who loves the mountains and enjoys exploring Colorado’s open spaces and wilderness areas.