Vintage Christmas Crafts

Hundreds of tips that give a nod to the styles of the 1920s to the 1960s can be found in A Very Vintage Christmas. Author Susan Waggoner has compiled original ideas from holiday’s past with this keepsake book. Ever wonder why Animal Cracker boxes have a string? They were originally used as ornaments for the tree. Handmade touches such as needlework and fabric arts were a sign of the times in depression era ‘30s, and windows were often decorated with swags of pine and crepe paper streamers. There are also pages of craft ideas with simple instructions and a special section that includes vintage holiday postcards. Though rooted in the past, the look fits in to today’s home, as Christmas is a holiday that values tradition.

Below are two crafts to add flair to your holiday decorating:

Yuletide Shelf-Edger

Almost everyone used shelf paper in the ’30s, and paper with a fancy, turned down border was a special treat. Whether you use shelf paper or not, this edger is a quick way to get the look—and you won’t even have to rearrange your dishes.



Round doilies, 6″ in diameter

Christmas-themed scrapbook paper

Double-sided tape


Doilies have many homey uses during the holidays.


How to Do It:

Cut 41/2″ rounds from the paper, one for each doily.

Use the double-sided tape to attach the rounds to the doilies. Decide which area of ach edger you want to be seen. If there’s a horizontal and vertical, establish that as well.

Fold each piece in half, using a bone folder or the handle of a table knife to make a sharp, clean crease.

To use your edgers, arrange them along the front of your shelf so the desired side is visible and the edges of the doilies just touch. If you have shelf paper in place, simply slide the upper half of each edger beneath it. If you don’t have shelf paper on your shelves, use glue dots to hold the upper halves in place.

Banded Balls

Paint shortages were only one of many that resulted from the mass reallocation of wartime resources. As for most other items, an alternative was found for painted ornaments. Blank glass forms were made as they’d always been, but decorated with just a few bright bands to conserve paint. But glitter is even prettier!


Banded Balls Ornaments



Plain glass ornament balls

Terrifically Tacky Tape, ¼” and 1/8″ widths


Gold stars (These came from a bag of laser confetti.)

Small brush, glue dots, bowls


How to Do It:

Using the ¼” width of tacky tape, make a belt around the ball where the equator would be. Don’t remove the liner. (See page 9 for tips on working with tacky tape.) Try to keep the band of tape even, but don’t make yourself crazy—if you look at balls from the era, they aren’t perfectly even either.

Apply a band of 1/8″ wide tape a bit above the first band and another below the first band, leaving the liners on. Go over each band firmly with your fingers, using your thumbnail to smooth down any bubbles.

Remove the liner on the band you want to glitter. (Even if you are going to do all three bands in the same color, do one band at a time.) Holding the ball over a bowl, pour glitter liberally over the ball. Pour more glitter in the bowl. Roll the ball in the glitter and scoop more over it, until you are satisfied with the coverage. Do the remaining bands the same way. Use the same technique for a five-banded ball.


A Very Vintage Christmas by Susan Waggoner, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, is available at


by Jacqueline deMontravel

Photography courtesy of


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