Creatively inspired by Ben Franklin Crafts in New Albany
By JD Dotson
The holidays are fast approaching and seem to sneak up on me every year. ’Tis the season we typically pull out all of the holiday decorations, lights, garlands and trees and cover every inch of our house in festive decor. Glitter seems to cover most surfaces, too, by the end of it despite my banning of the substance.
Intent on finding new ways to spruce things up, I took a trip to Ben Franklin Crafts in New Albany, which had my head spinning with thoughts of updating my festive decor, but I was on a mission.
I had a conversation with a friend who wasn’t going to decorate this year citing a super-busy schedule leading up to a holiday vacation, so he wouldn’t be home enough to enjoy it. There have been years when my decorating was minimal and years when the sparkle was over the top, but I had a hard time imagining nothing. This issue’s craft project stemmed out of that conversation.
The craft could definitely serve as a centerpiece or a mantle, but I also wanted it to suffice as a holiday scene for someone in a small apartment, dorm room or beautiful gift that’s sure to spread some Christmas cheer.
The beauty of this project is that it can be customized to your own unique slice of life. Switch the bunny out for a deer, or the lovebirds for cardinals. Add a couple of tall skinny trees and a less rustic fence. There is no shortage of options roaming the aisles of Ben Franklin and plenty of room to create your own personal scene.
Ribbon and greenery wire
Sprig of greenery
Beads (for ornaments)
Elements in the scene: bunny, birds, fence
A bag of snow
Long craft paintbrush
Glue gun and glue sticks
Materials provided by Ben Franklin Crafts & Frame Shop
420 New Albany Plaza | New Albany
Start with the tree. I took turns with red and green “ornaments” (they’re actually beads) to evenly distribute. Want to ditch the traditional red/green color combo? Do it! Hot glue your favorite color ornaments all over your little tree. I am usually pretty particular about excess glue all over, but in this case, the glue looks like ice and icicles and fits in perfect with the scene. Next, carefully wind your lights up the tree starting at the bottom and finish at the top. Make sure to leave a bit of wire left to reach the inside of the top of the lantern.
Glue everything down. Start with the tree and don’t be afraid of being heavy-handed with the glue gun — it’s all getting covered in snow. Once the tree is anchored, I glued the battery pack into the top of the lantern. With the lid closed, it will be hidden. Just make sure to position the opening mechanism so battery changing is easy. Add all your elements — bunny, fence, birds, deer, whatever — your imagination has dreamed up and glue them into place.
Let it Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Before you let loose your powerful snowstorm, use a paintbrush to paint a bit of glue to things that would naturally catch a bit of snowfall if they were real-sized. I brushed the glue on the posts of the fence before the big storm started, so that they caught some of the flakes on the way down. You want a good amount of accumulation on the ground, but not enough to call off school.
Accessorize! I wired a big, hand-tied bow on top, green with red velvet accents, pulling in some colors from my ornaments and added a bit of snow-covered greenery. The selection of ribbon and greenery accessories at Ben Franklin is staggering, so mix it up and bring your own taste into your scene. Then, tie away… unless you need some help. I have a confession, dear readers. I ran into Ben Franklin co-owner Kristy Dunlap-Smith who tried to teach me how to make the perfect bow. I took the ribbon home and made some not-so-perfect, pretty awful bows. So, I used Kristy’s sample as the bow for my final project. You can easily use a pre-made bow or have one of the super-helpful people at Ben Franklin help you out. It is the season of giving, after all.
Whether you are surrounded by twinkling lights and up to your ears in decorations or enjoying your tiny slice of festivity, I hope your holiday is full of love and kindness.