Nfld. & Labrador

Christmas crafts that anyone (no, really!) can do

CBC NL's Melissa Tobin gets up close and crafty and shares her ideas for homemade Christmas presents.

Sea urchins and mussels shells are a few crafty favourites

A must-have for any crafting project is a glue gun. (CBC/Melissa Tobin )

Christmas is my favourite time of the year. I love decorating, I love the food at the holidays, but Christmas crafts are at the top of my list.

For me, they are something I think about year round, collecting items and trinkets on my travels to make homemade gifts for loved ones.

A hoarder? I prefer to call it a collection for my crafting treasures. 

Sometimes I'll give a craft as a birthday gift, but I save the best projects for the holiday season. 

Here are a few things I've made this year that might inspire you to give a little something from the heart. 

Sea Urchin Snowman

Hiking in Newfoundland is abundant and fun on its own. A bonus? The great things you can collect along the coast of the Atlantic ocean.

It's pretty exciting when I find sea urchins, especially those that are perfectly intact, like ones I found along the Eastport peninsula last summer. 

Sea urchins can be used for many crafts. (CBC/Melissa Tobin)

There are several crafts you can make, but the sea urchin snowman is one of the easiest — and cutest — crafts I've ever made. 

For this project, you need three sea urchin shells, a glue gun, white paint, some felt for the nose and scarf, a hook for hanging, and a black marker. 

The finished product: a snowman sea urchin to hang on the Christmas tree. (CBC/Melissa Tobin )

I layer the shells, putting the large ones on the bottom and the smallest on the top. Use the glue gun to secure them in place. 

Then, let your imagination run wild and paint and decorate the snowman as you wish.

It makes a great ornament for the Christmas tree, or it could be a homemade addition to your Christmas village. 

Mussel Shell Christmas Tree

Staying with shell-inspired crafts, I collected a lot of mussel shells this year and was looking for the right craft. 

Dozens of mussel shells are needed to make a Christmas tree. (CBC/Melissa Tobin )

For inspiration, I turned to Google. I searched 'Christmas, mussel shells' and voila! The image of the mussel shell Christmas tree popped up. 

For this one, you need several dozens of shells. I like the look of cooked mussels, with the vibrant blue under-shell shimmer.

The hardest part of this project is cleaning the shells. I just filled the sink with soapy warm water and hand-washed each one, and let them air dry on a towel. 

Then, you need a cone (I made one from leftover cardboard),  and get your trusty glue gun out again, and away you go. 

It's a Christmas tree! Made of mussels. (CBC/Melissa Tobin )

This is the first year I've made these Christmas mussel trees and I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out. 

As a bonus, you can make several, in several different shapes and sizes, to create a forest-like look. 

Framed Newfoundland Stamps  

Last summer, I was thrilled to find a collection of old Newfoundland stamps in Botwood. 

I didn't know what exactly I wanted to make when them. But I knew would be perfect for some craft project in the future. 

A few weeks later, I came across a yard sale in Port Union. There were a few 4x6 photo frames for sale — at the bargain-basement price of 10 cents each — and they perfectly complimented the stamps. 

Yard-sale finds can be turned into great gifts, like these framed stamps. (CBC/Melissa Tobin )

I had a roll of black felt I used for another project. It was, coincidentally, the exact width I needed for the frames. So I cut it to the exact length, arranged the stamps in a neat order and had a polished-looking present.

I think these are my favourite craft of the year — so much so, that I'm struggling with giving these ones away!

Gift from the heart

There are many things you can buy people for the holidays.

But my favourite is something homemade, with a personal touch that a friend or family member will appreciate and hopefully treasure for some time. 

So keep your eyes open, all-year round, for little things that can be turned into one-of-a-kind gifts that come from the heart. 

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Melissa Tobin is a reporter based in Gander, working for CBC Newfoundland Morning. Reach her at