There are certain inalienable holiday truths: You’re gonna need some gifts, they won’t wrap themselves and the perfect card requires a bit of lipstick and Mod Podge. OK, that last one might be a stretch, but handmade anything, no matter the materials, is really special. Crafted details—those little things your recipient knows could’ve only come from you—make all the difference. Thanks to the wonders of Instagram, we’ve noticed a few of our team members here at Madewell have serious skills in this arena, so we asked them to share their favorite DIY projects for the season. Best part? You’ll need, like, 30 minutes tops and minimal supplies for each one.
PIPPA’S FESTIVE, FUN + POTENTIALLY EDIBLE TREE-TRIMMING TIPS
Stylist Pippa claims getting your tree in order requires a few critical things: manpower (two-person job), a great soundtrack and snacks. “This is a laid-back Saturday night activity. Pj’s, popcorn and Bob Dylan’s Christmas special really set the scene.”
Silver ball ornaments
One unlikely decor idea—Pippa’s used apples in the past
An angel for the top
Cover the tree in tons of lights—careful to keep the strands hidden in the boughs.
Place your favorite ornament front and center and continue to add from there.
Add one unexpected decor element. Pippa loves apples; you could add flowers or strands of birds too.
If you still have space, fill in with the silver balls.
JAYNA’S QUIRKY, COOL + CUTE STOCKING STUFFER: A POM-POM KEYCHAIN
Our editorial director explains, “I got into pom-pom making about a billion years ago at summer camp. I stopped but recently have been having a pom-pom renaissance. Once you master your pom-pom making you can do so many things with them: wreaths, garlands, headbands (so cute for kids) or a keychain. It’s a very manageable craft, in terms of time and effort.”
1 pom-pom maker: different sizes are available, Jayna recommends a small one for this project
2 balls of yarn: look for unusual color combinations, pink + red or green + gold, she advises
Hold the maker in one hand, the yarn ball in the other.
Begin to wrap your yarn through the maker until you get to the size pom you’d like.
Once you’re finished, tie the bundle in the center supertight.
Cut the edges off your wrapped yarn so it comes off the maker.
To finish, trim as you wish (the closer you trim, the tighter the ball; loose and fluffy is also great).
Tie your pom-poms to the end of your key ring et voilà.
MOLLIE’S EASY, TASTEFUL + BUDGET-FRIENDLY GIFT-WRAPPING HACK
Our accessories buyer knows a thing or two about wrapping. “We celebrate Hanukkah in my family, and I’m one of four, so my mom was wrapping four gifts each night for a week. 28 presents! I think she found it very calming. There are so many different shapes of gifts, but a cylinder can be particularly tricky. The goal is to make the whole gift look like a piece of candy. This works for anything from candles, to posters, to pencil holders…”
Newspaper or paper grocery bags, turned inside out; coloring book pages are a great kids’ option. (Fun fact, Mollie is a new mom.)
Colorful string or ribbon
Something small to tie to the ribbon: Mollie suggests a key fob
Cut your paper generously (leave a lot of excess on the sides).
Roll your gift up in the paper so it’s covered entirely.
Gently twist each end against the gift so it has that candy wrapper look.
Tie it off with a bright string or ribbon.
Trim the excess paper.
Tie your key fob to the ribbon (this guarantees your gift will be the most exciting of all).
PHOEBE’S SHINY + SWEET HOLIDAY CARDS
Phoebe, our footwear buyer, is known for her amazing style around here—she’s always able to mix things up in unexpected ways—so it was no surprise she lends the same creative approach to her holiday card making. “My family has always been crafty, making cards was one thing I held onto from childhood. You can get the supplies anywhere and the result is so personal—and inexpensive!”
Newspaper (to work on top of and protect your surface)
White, flat, heavy cardstock
Dip your finger in Mod Podge and apply directly to the area you want to place your gold leaf.
While the glue is still wet, tear a piece of gold leaf with your hands and set on the Mod Podge.
Continue doing this to make patterns and shapes with the gold leaf—embrace imperfections.
Add your recipient’s name with a ballpoint pen.
Finish off with a kiss, literally. Press the card to your freshly applied lipsticked lips wherever you’d like.
Now that you’ve got your present MO sorted, check off that list by shopping our Gift Well Guide.