Try these two fun DIY table decor projects for your Christmas table: A no-bake graham cracker cookie house and an easy-to-make ribbon tree.
How To Make A Festive Holiday Cookie House
Decorating gingerbread houses is a fun holiday tradition, but when you're just too busy to bake gingerbread, these cookie houses made with graham crackers are just as cute but nowhere near as time consuming. You'll need to make some royal icing, but everything else can be assembled with store-bought items.
Royal Icing Recipe
- 6 tablespoons egg white substitute (equivalent to 2 large eggs)
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- Beat the egg whites in a mixer on high speed, slowly adding the sugar a little bit at a time (start with 2-1/2 cups). Continue beating until the icing is glossy and forms stiff peaks; if it doesn't form stiff peaks, add more sugar (totaling no more than 3 cups).
- To keep your royal icing from drying out while you decorate your house, dampen some paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and lay it over the top of the mixing bowl.
- Fill a pastry bag with the royal icing and get ready to decorate! If you don't have a pastry bag, fill a resealable plastic bag and trim a tiny bit off one of the corners.
How To Build Your Cookie House
You can build your house on anything you'd like, but we used a 10 by 14 inch cake board wrapped in gift wrap.
For each side of the house, we used a whole graham cracker; the same goes for both sides of the roof. For the front and back of the house, we used whole graham crackers with the top half cut into a triangle.
When you need to cut shapes from the graham crackers to assemble your house, soften them briefly to avoid cracking.
Wrap the graham cracker in a barely damp paper towel and microwave on 50% power for about 10 seconds. Then, use a very sharp knife to cut the shape you need.
Sometimes building the frame of the house is a little tricky; if you're having trouble getting the framework to stay up, you can create an edible “glue” with melted brown sugar. To make it, heat about a tablespoon of brown sugar in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Keep your eye on it – sugar burns very easily!
When it reaches a liquid consistency, remove it from the heat and dip the edges of your graham crackers and “glue” as needed. You'll need to work fast because the sugar hardens fairly quickly. Once the glue hardens, you can go over the seams with your royal icing.
Now that your house's frame is assembled, you can start the fun part – decorating!
How To Decorate Your Cookie House
For our house, we used mini frosted shredded wheat cereal for the “shingles” on the roof, as well as the front walk. We used spiced gum drops for the trees at the front of the house, as well as along the walk. Finally, we added M&Ms to the awning and the front door!
Additional Decorating Ideas
- Build snowmen from marshmallows
- Use candy canes to create archways
- Sprinkle powdered sugar for a dusting of snow
- Make a picket fence with pretzels
- Create a stack of logs for the fire with tootsie rolls
How To Make A Holiday Ribbon Tree
We love easy tabletop decorations, and this festive little ribbon tree is perfect for that. Choose ribbon colors that match your holiday table decor or go with classic red and green. Since these styrofoam cones come in various sizes, you could even make up a little trio of trees for your holiday table!
- Styrofoam cone (3-7/8-inch diameter – 11-7/8-inches tall)
- Metallic gold spray paint
- 2 spools of ribbon in metallic red (7/8″ by 9′)
- 2 spools of ribbon in metallic gold (7/8″ by 9′)
- Craft/dressmaker pins (the short ones)
- Hot glue
- Glitter star floral pick
Start off by spraying the cone with gold paint so any gaps in the ribbons won't be as noticeable. Set aside to dry thoroughly.
In the meantime, cut your ribbon into 5″ lengths and heat up your glue gun. You many not need all of the second spool of each color of ribbon, but one definitely wasn't enough to cover a larger-sized cone. If you select a smaller styrofoam cone, you may not need as much ribbon.
Once your glue gun is ready, you'll want to start making your ribbon loops. Lay your ribbon face down and place a thin line of glue along one end of the ribbon. Fold the opposite end up to meet it, hold in place until the glue sets, and set the loop aside to repeat with the other ribbon lengths.
Now that you've got ribbon loops in both colors, you can start working on the tree. Choose the color you want at the base. Take a loop and a craft pin and pin the ribbon in place on the cone so that the bottom of the loop is just shy of touching the table.
You don't want the loop to stick out below the base of the cone because it won't sit properly on a tabletop that way. (On the cone pictured, the top of the bottom row of loops is pinned 2-1/2-inches up from the base.)
Continue to pin your loops around the base until satisfied, then move on to the next row with your other ribbon color (in this case, the red). From this point on, with each subsequent row as you move up the tree, pin the loops so that they overlap about an inch onto the row below (this covers up the pins and gives it a nice, full look).
So easy, right? Just pin your ribbons in rows of alternating colors, and voilá! You've got yourself a cute little tree. Now, for the finishing touch – the star on top!
A glittery star floral pick was the perfect size for the treetop. Just carefully remove the pick and glue the star on top.
That's all you need to do for a simple but elegant tabletop tree for the holidays!