21 December 2013

DIY christmas table decorations

Each year I try and make something to decorate our table with on Christmas day. I like to create something that not only makes the table look prettier but also serves as as a name card.

This year I went super simple and made these little sacks, each filled with a selection of chocolates and tied up with a little salt dough tag with the recipients initials.

This DIY is very easy and very cheap. The bags are versatile enough to be used at any time of year- I just made them christmassy with some red ribbon!

Salt dough
Alphabet stamps
Hessian material
Sewing Machine
Ribbon and twine.

To make the tags: 
1. I followed a really simple recipe for salt dough, simply 1 cup flour to 1/2 a cup of salt and 1/2 a cup of water. Mix and knead this until you have a smooth pliable dough. Roll the dough to about a quarter of an inch thick and then cut out circles with a biscuit cutter. Using a straw, punch a hole in the top of each circle.
Salt dough takes a while to harden. I just put them in the bottom of our AGA all day. Basically place them somewhere on a really low heat to dry out. Don't cook them!

2. Once your salt dough tags are rock hard it is your chance to decorate. Salt dough takes any kind of paint so you can go crazy! I simply brushed on some white accrylic paint with a bit of tissue. I then stamped the initial of each of the recipients onto the tag when the paint was dry.

To make the sacks:

1. Each sack uses a piece of hessian about 8" x 4". My sacks were very roughly cut though as I figured that I was going for a rustic look (its a great excuse for wonky sewing!).

2. Hessian frays really easily so to try and prevent this I quickly sewed a zig zag stitch around all the edges.

3. To make the top of your sack nice and neat,  take one of the shorter sides of material and fold it over about 1/4 of an inch. Using a straight stitch hem down this side. Repeat on the other end of material.

4. Fold the material right sides (the neat looking sides) together so that the hemmed edges meet. Using a straight stitch again sew each side of the sack. There is no need to sew the bottom as it is folded.

5. At this stage you can leave the sack as it is but I think it looks nicer if you "box" the bottom. Doing this will make the sack stand up on its own.

6. Holding the sack with the open end at the top, push down until one of the bottom corners folds into a triangle.

7. Pin across like this. Repeat on the other corner.

8. Sew a line just below this pin like so.

9. Your sack should now look like a little animal with funny ears!

10. Turn the sack inside out and voila! You have a sack with a lovely square bottom ready to be filled. These little bags hold about four 'quality street' sized chocolates.

10. To decorate thread your salt dough tag onto some twine and wrap it around the neck of the sack.

11. Add your ribbon and tie a bow to finish.

I think these bags would look sweet at any occasion. You could even make one for each day of advent, you could fill them with treats for valentines day or just leave it for someone to find. They don't even need a tag!

Do you make anything to decorate the table with on Christmas day?


Karen said...

Absolutely delightful! No individual decorations here for the table. There will be 25 of us for dinner this year. I don't even do place cards. "Find a spot and eat" is about what happens!

scrappyjacky said...

They look lovely,Abi.

Alison said...

Simple but so effective!
Alison xx

debs14 said...

You come up with some really lovely crafting ideas Abi. I love this idea.

Sandra said...

These are adorable

Lou said...

oooh I do love these Abi...they will look lovely on the table x

furrypig said...

they are so lovely Abi, individual works of art plus chocolate = perfect! I don't think I have ever had a place card for Christmas Dinner!

Sian said...

These are beautiful! I have a tablecloth and napkins which I made from red and white stripey Ikea fabric and I bring those out every year for our table

Sinead said...

Just gorgeous Abi :D What a lovely idea, and I love the idea that they have little chocolates tucked inside too. Another reason for me to learn to sew... I think that's going to be my new year's resolution! I haven't planned anything for table decoration yet, but I do have big plans to make a gingerbread house tomorrow! Will keep you posted :)
P.S. Looking forward to skyping soon hopefully!

Miriam said...

These are beautiful Abi. Last year I altered some very simple Ikea napkin rings and I unpacked them only yesterday. I make our Christmas table cloths and place mats, over the years they add up though! I just love Christmas fabric!

alexa said...

Just gorgeous! I have bookmarked this for future reference :).

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

Oh these are just adorable, Abi! And your tutorial was fantastic too. I'm sure the recipients of these little bags and tags were delighted!

Unknown said...

Wow, that is so adorable. I love how you turned simple materials into something really cute for the table. Let me add this to my Christmas table decorations Pinterest board. Happy Holidays!