The presents I like best at Christmas, whether received or given, are those where a lot of thought has gone into and those which are handmade. In an ideal world, and maybe in years to come, I'd like to have a handmade Christmas, where all I give and decorate has been made by me or someone else (i.e. bought on etsy or folksy).
Of course, the reality is that we're all busy and something has to give. I have less time for crafts than ever but I still sneak it in here and there. My approach is to do as much as I can myself (which is rather little), and above all, not to get pressurised into doing more than I can manage, and stick with the stuff that I find easy to do.
Which is why I'd like to share an idea for a handmade present that doesn't take much time or effort, but looks beautiful. The technique goes by the name of decopatch. You will need an item to decorate - any blank surface will do (a plain glass vase, a mirror with a decent sized frame around it, a picture frame, a box, a reused glass jar, anything goes really - Ikea has lovely and cheap basic items that you can decorate, such as vases and mirrors with a decent sized frame that can be decorated), decopatch paper (it's thinner than normal paper), PVC glue, scissors, a paintbrush and decopatch varnish. The last item on the list is the most expensive one but it will last you and make the finished product more durable. It's not essential though.
I get my supplies from Damselfly on Great Western Road in Glasgow, who also run craft classes in decopatch (this is not a sponsored post, and I'm sure you can get supplies through many channels, but I like to support local shops which have done me well).
Cut the decopatch paper into different sized and shaped pieces.
With the paintbrush, apply a layer of glue to the item you want to decorate.
Glue the decopatch paper pieces onto the item, brushing it with the glue. Make sure to overlap, you can also add second and third layers (because you apply glue while brushing the paper flat, further layers will stick). Feel free to add decorations, like a cut out flower from a different decopatch paper, sequins etc.
Let dry for a few hours or overnight.
Apply the decopatch varnish with a brush.
Done. One present ticked. If you can bear to give it away that is.
Glass jars and make them into candle holders:
Or even your toilet seat. The technique is so simple that pre-schoolers or older children will be able to help.