Make holiday decor on a budget with DIY crafts

By Natalie Stanowski, Staff Writer

As college students, it isn’t always in our budget to drop a ton of money on holiday decorations. While you can bring some from home if you visited over Thanksgiving break, it’s likely some of us forgot or found we couldn’t bring enough. So instead of breaking the bank for some pricey decorations, here are some inexpensive, do-it-yourself ideas to decorate for the holidays.

Paper chains

While you probably haven’t made one of these since elementary school, don’t think these are a kid-only activity. Paper chains are incredibly easy to make and can be made from any kind of paper you have lying around: construction paper, old homework, printer paper, magazines — the list goes on. While any kind of paper will do as long as you can tape the two ends, consider alternating colors like white, blue, green and red to make it look more festive.

If you want to take your paper chain-making a step further, you can loop around a paper chain to make a pseudo wreath. Just glue or tape a few paper chains together in a doughnut shape and add a paper bow. It may not look as nice as the real thing, but it’s definitely a lot cheaper.

Using scavenged items

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Old magazines and paper scraps aren’t the only free resources you have access to. If you take a walk through a wooded area or through a local park, there are plenty of items lying around you can make use of to spruce up your dorm or apartment.

For example, pine cones are a great holiday-evoking item that have a range of uses. A low-effort way to incorporate them into your decorating is to place a few of them in a glass bowl. If you’re feeling creative, you can paint them gold or silver or hang them like ornaments using some ribbon.

Another item you can make from scavenging is a makeshift menorah using a thick tree branch. Aim for something that could sit on a table and is about 3 inches in diameter and 2 feet long. Then just drill or carve in enough holes to fit all the candles, and you’ve got yourself a homemade menorah.

Makeshift Christmas trees

Whether or not your family celebrates the holiday, Christmas trees have become symbolic of the holiday season. As students, it’s rarely feasible to buy, transport and make room for a real tree, but there are ways to still incorporate the tradition into your decor.

One way to create a makeshift tree is by piling up books in a circle and stacking them to create a cone shape. It’s a great way to reuse those expensive college textbooks. If you don’t have enough to make the size you want, a pack of green construction paper can also do the trick. Just cut up and tape the paper on an empty wall to recreate a two-dimensional Christmas tree. You can even put presents underneath.

Natalie is a sophomore in LAS.

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