Christmas is just eight days away (eek!), the clock is ticking, and your home is nowhere near as festive as you’d like it to be. Fear not; we called in DIY goddesses Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman to help with those last-minute holiday needs.
The inventive sisters from Springfield, Mo. keep their website A Beautiful Mess updated with 12 to 15 posts a week chock full of original design projects, recipes, style tips, and other fun home decor ideas. We asked Larson, 31, and Chapman, 27, to round up their favorite Christmas projects that even those of us born without the crafty gene can tackle in an hour or less.
Personalized stockings. Choose a generic pre-made stocking from a store and make it your own—or match it to your existing holiday decorations—with simple accoutrements like glittery ribbon, chipboard letters, tassels, and a jingle bell or two. “Stockings end up becoming family keepsakes, or at least they always were in our family,” Chapman explains. “So it’s awesome to have something, at least, partially handmade as it just adds another layer of meaning to the tradition.”
Multicolored bottle brush trees. Some bleach and a little Rit dye are all you need to transform standard bottle brush trees, which you can purchase online or in a craft store, into a colorful forest of winter dreams. “These are just too cute!” the girls says. “We love having them displayed above the mantle.”
Lace wrapping paper. Want to give your gifts a fanciful finish? Take those lace scraps laying around your craft room and wrap them around solid colored paper (preferably the same shade as the lace); not only will your present immediately look luxe, but we guarantee you’ll impress its recipient. “We love that you can use leftover lace or fabric scraps to personalize your holiday wrapping,” Chapman says.
Gift tags from Instagram photos. If personalized paper isn’t enough, add your own original finishing touch to the wrapped gift, as well. This cute idea for custom gift tags is as easy as choosing an image you’ve previously posted and edited on Instagram, adding text through a smartphone app like Phonto, Over or A Beautiful Mess‘ own app, and printing them on label paper at home or at a commercial printer. “We are big into Instagram so it’s nice to know all those photos are being put to use throughout the year, including holiday tags at Christmas,” the sisters say.
Christmas marquee sign. Give your mantel a dash of pizzazz with this brilliant idea for a professional-looking light-up sign that only requires some wood, glue, Mod Podge, screws, letters, acrylic paint, a string of Christmas lights, and a little bit of Duct tape. While the finished product may look complex, for the ultimate crafter, this marquee sign should be a breeze—while appearing as if you purchased it from a skilled maker. “We adore how this project looks expensive and adds such a fancy and festive vibe to your home but it’s actually quite affordable and easy to make,” Chapman says. “We had one reader create the same project using foam board instead of wood and she said it worked great, too.”
On top of curating A Beautiful Mess, Larson and Chapman developed a top-selling app of the same name, own a boutique in Springfield and their own fashion line, and published a photography how-to book through Random House earlier this year.