Make it a Handmade Holiday

It’s December and the holiday season is here! The holidays are the perfect time to show off your maker skills with handmade gifts and decorations. However you celebrate, if you’ve got a Maker in your family, you’ll want to incorporate some of these activities into your festivities. Below are a dozen fun, inexpensive activities the whole family can make together.


Washi Tape Cards 4          Washi Tape Cards 5

Washi Tape 

from Art Camp LA

These are super cute and super easy cards to make with decorative tape and a few other materials.

Washi Tape Christmas  Tree

What you’ll need: black print washi tape, sequins or hole-punched card stock for balls, glue

What to do

  1. Lay a vertical strip of washi tape for your trunk.
  2. Build out your branches with skinny, black print washi tape (you can cut your washi tape down the middle to get these skinnier pieces).
  3. Glue on the sequins or hole punched circles to decorate the branches


What you’ll need: washi tape for scarf and buttons, googly eyes, small scrap of orange construction paper for nose, black pen for smile, pink for cheeks

What to do

  1. Scarf: Lay a piece of washi tape from the left side of your card to the right.
  2. Cut out 2 circle shapes from a strip of washi for your snowman’s buttons.
  3. Cut out an orange triangle shape for your snowman’s nose and glue it down.
  4. Add your googly eyes above your carrot nose.
  5. Draw a simple smile shape with a black pen.
  6. Add your rosy cheek.


Star card

Shooting Star


This festive greeting card is really easy to make — no sewing skills required. Check out the website above for step-by-step pictures & directions.

What you’ll need: Fabric or decorative paper, scissors, glue, blank card or piece of  folded cardstock, hole punch, embroidery thread

What to do

  1. Cut 2 or 3 different-size stars from fabric or decorative paper. Glue together.
  2. Cut 7 to 10 1/4″ slits on the bottom left-hand half of card, spaced 1/4″ to 1/2″ apart. Punch a hole about 1″ in from top right corner.
  3. Insert thread through hole, and wrap over the front of the card, securing string inside first slit; repeat until all slits are threaded. Trim and knot ends together.
  4. Glue star over hole.

Easy Holiday 


Super simple and fun- the sky’s the limit with these cards

What you’ll need: scrap paper of different colors, glue, fine point pens or markers

Light Up

from Melanie Stemdola

For those who want to take their card making to the next level, add some led lights. Let your imagination run wild with all the images you can light up once you get the hang of making a complete circuit. You can draw your own pictures, use stickers, or cut out images from magazines to decorate the front of your card.

What you’ll need: cardstock paper, glue, foil, tape, brass fasteners, led lights, &  a 3v battery.



Washi Tape Festive Wreaths

Festive Wreaths

from Parents.Com

Made from clothespins, these graphic rings are terrific for kids and parents to do together. The best part: You can hang them up and admire them for years to come.

What you’ll need: clothespins, embroidery hoops, washi tape or decorative tape, small scissors, ribbon

What to do
Start with wooden clothespins (available at the Dollar Store, Target, Amazon). Apply strips of washi or other patterned tape (available at craft stores like Michael’s or Joann’s)  to one side of each pin (smooth it right over the groove that holds the metal spring). Trim the edges of the tape with small scissors. Discard the outer rings from embroidery hoops (we used a few sizes, ranging from 4 to 7 inches) and clip on the clothespins. Hang the wreaths with nylon thread or ribbon.

Screenshot 2018-12-05 at 10.57.32 PM

Ugly Sweater Garland

adapted from Fun Learning for Kids                     image from Oriental Trading Company

What better way to get in the holiday mood than create this fun ugly sweater chain to decorate your home.  Make at least 10 sweaters to add to your string or ribbon

What you’ll need: sweater template, red, green or any other color/patterned cardstock you like,  glue, pom poms, buttons, jingle bells, confetti, stickers, sequins, & any other embellishments, ribbon thick enough to glue the sweaters onto

Christmas collage art activity for kids.

What to do

  1. Draw a sweater or trace the sweater template on the cardstock. You can also just print the template directly on to the cardstock ,then just cut the sweaters out.
  2. Put all of the supplies in a tray with separate compartments for easy access.
  3. Glue on the embellishments any way you wish
  4. Repeat with as many sweaters as you want to string on your ribbon
  5. Glue your sweaters to the ribbon, let dry completely, and hang

Magazine Christmas Tree

This quick video from the School Library Journal shows how to make a Christmas tree tabletop decoration from a magazine- reduce, reuse, recycle!

3D Star 

from Sea Lemon

You can use this easy tutorial to create a start to top your magazine Christmas tree or use it as a festive decoration anywhere in your home. The best thing- it’s made from recycled cereal boxes! Here’s a link to the star template mentioned in the video


Peppermint Sugar Scrub 

This scrub from the Jacolyn Murphy website makes a great gift for anyone who wants to keep their skin glowing all winter long.

What you need: white sugar, olive oil, peppermint extract,  food coloring, a pint glass jar with lid, ribbon, candy cane as decoration

What to do

  1. Mix together white sugar, olive oil, coconut oil and peppermint extract or oil in the amounts described in the website linked above.
  2. Add food coloring and mix to desired color.
  3. Layer in pint jars and decorate the jars with ribbon and candy cane.

Change it up: Check out Murphy’s post to change the colors and scents of the scrub. Or make one without scent or coloring, decorating the jar with a special holiday ribbon.


Sock coffee cozy handmade gift

Jolly Java Jackets


Kids can take an old sock and give it new life by turning it into a reusable sleeve for coffee or hot cocoa to go.

What you’ll need: Old socks, fabric scissors, buttons, felt, felt stickers, fabric glue

What to do: Cut 4 inches from leg of sock to form a cup cozy. Add embellishments using fabric glue.


Pom-Pom Pens

These pretty pens from the Sew Sara blog are a go-to gift for teachers and students, and a fun project for beginning sewers. Check out the blog post for step by step instructions. This activity is best for kids 8 years and up.

What you’ll need: pens, fabric strips, glue gun, needle & thread, scissors

What to do

  1. For each pen, measure two strips of fabric (one measuring 3 1/2 inches x 13 inches, and one measuring 3/4 inches x 13 inches). Wrap the pen with the narrower strip of fabric and glue in place.
  2. Create and sew a pom-pom from the wider strip according to the directions on the blog post and glue to the pen.

Change it up: Wrap the pen in duct tape, and/or add a flower instead of the fabric pom-pom.


Cookie Mix in a Mason Jar Christmas Gift - Sugar Cookie Recipe & Label - Free Printable

Holiday Cookie Mix in a Mason Jar

from Mom Skills

This is a great gift  for all the people in your life who love to bake or who love to eat cookies!

What you’ll need: green felt, red felt, mason jars (quart-sized) , twine, craft glue, red buttons, scissors, pen, paper for tags, dry ingredients from your cookie recipe

What to do

  1. Add sifted dry ingredients from your favorite cookie recipe (or the recipe from the link above) to a clean, dry Mason jar. Press each layer firmly into the jar.
  2. Add a pop of color to the top with holiday-themed candy sprinkles.
  3. Print out the tag from the blog post or make your own if you’re using a different recipe and decorate the jar lid with felt and buttons.

Wishing you and yours a happy handmade holiday!

Part Two of Summer Making Events

Maker events are popping up left to right this summer–there was simply too much to fit in the five-page document we posted earlier this month! We’ve expanded it to include other cities in the Bay Area. Without further ado, here is “Part Two of  Free Summer Maker Events”:


  • We Love Legos! at the Alameda Main Library on July 8, 2017, from 2:00 pm
  • Thursday Craft at the West End Library on July 13, 2017, from 3:30 pm  (Ages 4-8)
  • We Love Legos! at the Bay Farm Island Library on July 20, 2017, from 3:30 pm
  • Playdough Play at the West End Library on July 20, 2017, from 3:30 pm 
  • Thursday Craft at the Bay Farm Island Library on August 3, 2017, from 3:30 pm


  • Makerspace at the North Branch Berkeley Public Library on the following dates from 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
    • July 1, 2017
    • August 5, 2017
  • Legos at the Library at the Central Berkeley Public Library on the following dates from  3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
    • July 7, 2017
    • August 1, 2017 
  • Family Fare: Enter the Otherworldly at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive on July 8, 2017, from 11:30 am
  • Legos at the Library at the Claremont Berkeley Public Library on July 14, 2017, from 10:15 am – 10:45 am
  • PlayWell TEKnologies at the Central Berkeley Public Library on July 17, 2017, from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm (Ages 5-9, registration needed)
  • STEM Workshops: Think, Make, Try  at the West Berkeley Public Library on July 18, 2017, from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm (Ages 3-9, registration needed)
  • KEVA Open Play Day at the Central Berkeley Public Library on July 22, 2017, from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm 
  • Experience VR at the Central Berkeley Public Library on July 24, 2017, from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (Registration limited to 30 people)
  • PlayWell TEKnologies at the North Berkeley Public Library on August 9, 2017, from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm (Ages 5-9, registration needed)
  • STEM Workshops: Nature Studio at the Central Berkeley Public Library on August 11, 2017, from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm 


  • Jack of All Trades Oakland at Jack London Square from 11:00 am – 5:00 pm (kids’ activities and DIY workshops available)

    • July 8
    • August 12

San Francisco

San Francisco Main Library can be easily accessible by BART (exit at Civic Center Station)

  • Zine Workshop at the San Francisco Main Library on the following dates from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm:
    • July 7, 2017
    • July 21, 2017
  • Lights Up Your World with Lightbots! at the San Francisco Main Library on July 8, 2017, from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
  • Art All Around at the San Francisco Main Library on the following dates from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm:
    • July 9, 2017
    • August 13, 2017
  • Knit Happens at the San Francisco Main Library on July 15, 2017, from 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm 
  • Scribble Bots at the San Francisco Main Library on July 15, 2017, from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (Ages 8 and up, registration needed)
  • Lego Simple Machines at the San Francisco Main Library on July 22, 2017, from 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm (Ages 8 and up, registration needed)
  • The Exploratorium: Naturebots at the San Francisco Main Library on July 28, 2017, from 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm 

San Leandro

  • READ – IMAGINE – DESIGN with Legos at the San Leandro History Museum on the following dates (All films start at 1:30 pm):
    • July 5, 2017 – “Lego: The Adventures of Clutch” (NR, 1:18)
    • July 12, 2017 – “Lego: Scobby-Doo!: Haunted Hollywood” (NR, 1:15)
    • July 19, 2017 – “Lego Justice League: Gotham City Breakout” (NR, 1:15)
    • July 26, 2017 – “Lego Justice League: Cosmic Clash” (NR, 1:16)
    • August 2, 2017 -“Lego Justice League: Attack of the Legion of Doom” (NR, 1:12)
  • Design Lab: Drop-In Crafts for Kids at the San Leandro Main Library on the following dates from 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm:
    • July 11, 2017
    • July 18, 2017
    • July 25, 2017
    • August 1, 2017
  • Tinker Tots at the San Leandro Main Library (for ages 2-5) on the following dates and from 10:30 am -11:30 am (Caregiver needs to be present):
    • July 10, 2017 – Everything goes by Sea! Build a sea-worthy vessel of your own imagination. Will it sink or float? Listen to a book then try for yourself.
    • July 24, 2017 – Toddler Runway! Design an outfit for a cut-out doll that is totally you. From high-art fashion to practical stand-bys, show us your fashion chops.
  • Library Explorers at the San Leandro Main Library (grades 1-5) on the following dates and from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm (Call to register one week in advance of each date):
    • July 27, 2017 – Build! Legos, Kevas Planks, Straws and More!
    • August 3, 2017– Hands-on Chemistry
  • Lego Club at the San Leandro Main Library on the following dates from 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm (Ages 5 and up):
    • July 27, 2017
    • August 24, 2017
  • Girls Who Code at the San Leandro Public Library (Application open in August 2017)


About the Author


Maria Renteria, AmeriCorps VISTA 
Maria comes to us from the South Bay of Los Angeles. She has been a Maker since she can remember. She is excited to share this passion with Grass Valley Elementary students because she wants them to create their best memories of school through making like she did when she was little.