THERE is a rich field for the young craftsman in making unusual and lovely things for the various holidays. Gifts, of course, immediately come to mind. There are no limits to the variety and style of gifts that may be made and sold. Added to the gift line is the tremendous opportunity to be found in creating and marketing smart, unusual and original holiday decorations and favors. This is a field in which there is but small competition. The girl or boy who enjoys making fine things can build a profitable and interesting enterprise in custom-made decorative items.
It is necessary to conform to the traditions surrounding specific holiday decorations as far as colors are concerned. Beyond that point the young craftsman has the greatest freedom in expressing his ideas. Originality and good taste plus careful workmanship will bring their own reward in the form of pleased customers.
The most important holiday, both for gifts and decorations, is Christmas. Recently, there has been a very strong trend towards returning to the old-fashioned style of Christmas tree decoration. This means almost limitless possibilities for an active imagination and clever fingers. For personal satisfaction and fun, few things can equal the pleasure that comes from scissors work. Delicate cutting of bright papers and brilliant foils produces home and Christmas tree decorations that are distinctive and unusual. Professionally packaged, they command a ready market. As personal gifts they are accepted with real delight and appreciation.
Among the home and tree decorations you can make are silvery and colorful angels, fragile lanterns and bells, delicate baskets and lacy paper nets for cookies and candies. Brilliant festoons and shining stars, gilded walnuts, frosted spice drops, giddy cookies, gay cornucopias, snowflakes and icicles, all contribute their charm to the blazing beauty of the Christmas tree and dining table.
Making these fragile and lovely decorations is limited only by one's ingenuity and enthusiasm. The materials include: scissors, pinking shears and a hand stapler glue, paste or household cement pipe-stem cleaners and copper and aluminum wire metallic and colored gift wrapping papers construction paper and bristol board copper and aluminum foils colored comics and a roll of shelf paper gay scraps of felt, wool, velvet, silk, satin brilliant ribbons and bits of tinsel
Start collecting well in advance of the season. Keep everything in an orderly fashion. All materials must be clean and uncrumpled.
Have everything ready so that once the work is started you need not be interrupted by searching for this or that. If you have planned to sell some of these Christmas decorations, samples of them must be ready to show during the preceding summer.
Once started, ideas will come tumbling and spinning along as fast as your flying fingers can execute them.
Strangely enough, no matter how many you make, there never seem to be enough angels for any one tree. While they may be made of almost any material, tree angels should be kept so light in weight that they scarcely bend the tip of the branch from which they are hung. Those used for other purposes, such as mantel and table decorations, may be considerably heavier. Whatever their use, keep two rules in mind while making angels: keep them beautiful, and keep them in scale, which means their size and height should be controlled by the way they are used. Tree angels vary in size from 2" to 6". Table and mantel angels may be three or four times as large.
There are many different styles of angels and all of them are fun to make. The basic patterns and styles given on pages 72-73 are open to your own individual interpretation and creative changes. Those made of paper have great charm and beauty and are quickly made. A slight change in technique and design produces copper or aluminum foil angels that are very effective. Simple little cut-out angels may be used individually for package decoration or hung in strands from the tree or mantelpiece. Groups of them attractively boxed make delightful Christmas gifts in themselves.
Pattern below may be used for table or free. Angel is cut in one piece. Fold skirt back in funnel-shape. Paste a-long dotted line. Cut two wings, attach in back. Curl arm-strips with scissors blade. Decorate angel with tiny stars, painted motifs, brilliant cut-outs.even sequins. Use tiny angel s above for inspiration.
Trace pattern at the left on folded paper having dots on fold. Cut out, unfold,trace on foil with knitting needle. Draw designs with needle. Cut foil with scissors. Bend head forward.slash hair.curl. Bend bottom points back for base. Fold robe to suit
Follow same method small angel,cutting all solid lines and bending foil to give roundness and depth.
While at first glance these decorations may seem like kindergarten stuff, they require a sureness and delicacy in cutting and handling that only the real craftsman can give them. Made entirely of paper, their beauty depends upon the fineness of their execution and the colors used.
Glazed colored pinwheel paper in brilliant shades, metallic papers, colored as well as gold and silver, lacy paper doilies, marbleized papers and the gorgeously striped or printed gift wrapping papers are all choice materials with which to work. A single sheet of each kind will be sufficient to make a large number of decorations. The left-over scraps and snippets may be used as trim on many of the angels.
One of the festoons, illustrated on page 75, may be effectively scaled up in size to use for decorating a mantel or to be hung as swags over a doorway or along the banisters of a stair. When used like that, the strips are cut three inches wide. Use the colored comics for one strip, the shelf paper for the second strip. Fold exactly as you did for the small festoon. Try a short strip of this jumbo sized festoon and see how gay and delightful a decoration it becomes.
Many a tree owes a good part of its charm and beauty to the cookies hung upon it. To be distinctive you will want to design and make your own cookie cutters. They are easy and fun to make and may be used for cutting any basic cookie recipe. Instructions and designs for making cookie cutters are given on page 79. Use a pair of tin snips to cut the strips. While old tin cans will furnish you with the necessary tin it is better to buy a new piece from the tinsmith. If he's not too busy he may even cut the strips for you. They should be wide and about 25" long. Bend the tin strip around the outside of the guide nails outlining the design as shown on page 79. You can solder the ends together or, if you are making a number of them, have the tinsmith do it.