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Glittery stars, sparkly candles and glowing bottles.

Whether you are going to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or have celebrated Diwali and Eid-al-Adha you have very likely encountered the same problem: The skyrocketing cost for food, drinks, decorations, gifts and cards seems to have somehow become an unavoidable burden. 

Fear not! The internet is coming to rescue us.

HootLoot surfed the darkest corners of the web to find the truly easiest budget substitutions to costly Christmas tree decorations and small gifts to relatives.  Most of all we tried them ourselves and can say they definitely pass the HootLoot test as truly easy crafts that even young kids can make.

Enjoy !


Aren't these gorgeous? We have succesfully made these last year, so this year it was a real no brainer.

You need:

  • Home made salt dough or air drying clay. I buy this type of air drying clay because I don't have time to spare and don't want to go through the process of baking materials myself. However it is dead easy to make your own salt dough, you just need flour, salt and water...and an oven - see the whole process on this great post by The Imagination Tree.With DAS clay you only need to get it out of the packet, roll it and cut it into shape. Easy Peasy.
  • Cookie cutters. I bought some cheap cookie cutters on Ebay in different sizes of stars that I use for baking.


The good thing of having such a set is that you can combine the different sizes to have many different combined shapes like these: 


Get the kids busy! This is pretty much like playing with play dough...get them to cut the stars, make holes with a straw and put them on a tray to dry. 

Once the stars are solid, just get the little ones to paint them in whatever colours they like and add a last finish of glitter glue or powdery glitter for that extra sparkle. We like water based poster paint wherever possible because our kids are still small and tend to spread it everywhere. It actually turned out pretty well, specially if you add two layers of it and glitter on top. However if you have older kids and can contain the mess, then Acrylic paint is thicker and generally longer lasting.

Cost? About £6 for the clay, £2 for the cookie cutters and £ 2 for some glitter. With one kilo of clay we made about 40 star ornaments... more than enough to decorate the whole tree. 


This is so easy that I am surprised we had never thought about it, especially since candles and glitter are omnipresent in our household. The kids loved this craft, it literally only takes few minutes:

You need:

  • Cheap candles (I found some at the supermarket for .79 each)
  • Glitter powder in various colours (cost: £1.50 per sachet) - about a teaspoon per candle
  • An Oven

We prepared the glitter on baking paper sheets, one sheet for each color, then warmed up the candles in the oven to soften up the wax and gave them to the kids to roll them up and down on the paper.  THAT'S IT, soooo easy! The glitter sticks easily to the soft warm wax and remains there once the candle has fully cooled down. Super easy.  Even our toddler could do it!

The world definitely looks better with a dust of glitter on it.

Make sure the oven temperature is not higher than 60/70C and you only leave the candles in for about 5 mintues... or the wax will start dripping down.

How much glitter you use depends entirely on your taste.  There are so many ways to experiment different color combinations! Cost is very low and depends on what candles you can buy. we found some lovely ones for .79p and they were of a nice size. Glitter is about £1.50 per sachet... so for just more than £2 you have some lovely decorations or small gifts to family and friends. 


This is another truly awesome idea from Kids Activites Blog. Very easy and so rewarding, makes a great inexpensive stocking filler with a wow factor. You can find the full instructions here, however there are many variations you can make of this and are totally up to individual taste.

You need:

  • Small plastic bottle: (we are always very happy to find creative ways to recycle plastic bottles!) 
  • Glow in the dark stars 
  • Liquid filler: we used water and a sightly denser substance so the stars floats instead of just falling to the bottom. (hair gel, washing up liquid or bath gel generally work best to allow the stars to float nicely). 
  • Glitter glue
  • Glow in the dark paint

Mix everything up and remember to use super glue to make sure the bottle lid really sticks to the bottle or this dream craft can turn into a horrible nightmare very quickly!

The cost of this little night time magic bottle is again very low. We spent £3.99 for a bag of 50 stars, and I used half in each bottle, £ 2.50 for a big bottle of bath gel and used some left over glitter from the previous crafts. About £3 for a bottle !

The glow in the dark paint is a little pricey (£5 per jar) and I didn't want to wait for it so I did not end up using it but it adds some loveliness and I will get around to buy it in the future. 

Neither to say the kids loved these little home made lava lamps.

Hope you enjoyed these ideas, have fun making them.... Happy holiday preparation from the HootLoot team!



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