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Autumn decoration and handicraft fun for the whole family

Pretty decorations make a house friendly and welcoming. Home-made decorations often have an individual charm and are really personal and distinctive. The following tips and tricks mean that there is nothing to stop you creating a nice autumnal atmosphere in your home - and will surely bring plenty of fun and enjoyment for the whole family. All you need are the right tools, a little imagination and a few handicraft skills and you're away....

Autumn garlands

You can find all the materials you need for this idea on an autumn walk: Chestnuts, acorns, beechnuts, fir cones, nuts, hips, colourful leaves and other similar things.

This means that you get the ingredients of your craft from nature itself and don't have to spend lots of money buying them from specialist shops. To bind your garland together you will need craft wire which is not too thick. You may also require wooden beads of various sizes to finish it off.

Preparation: First of all, you need to make a hole in the middle of the chestnuts, nuts and other material you have collected. The best way to make a hole is to use a hammer and a nail. But take care: Put something underneath each item when punching holes so that the floor or tabletop doesn't get damaged. Alternatively, you can use a borer.

Now you are ready to go!

  • Cut the craft wire to the required length.
  • Thread on the first item and tie it tightly at the end of the wire so that it can't move.
  • Now you can thread on all the other items close together or with spaces between them for a looser look. You can do this by tying each threaded item tightly to the wire in the required position so that it can't move.
  • You can thread and tie beads or other paraphernalia which you have bought between the natural materials.
  • When you have finished, tie a loop to the end of the wire to hang the garland or attach a keyring.

And there you have it: A colourful garland which looks particularly good hung in a window or over a door.

Chestnut animals

Chestnut animals are popular with young and old alike. For beginners and children, they are quick and easy to make and look really good. But there are versions for the more accomplished craftsperson, where adults can let their imagination run free and create a "wow" effect for visitors.

For the easier animals, you just need chestnuts, matches and/or toothpicks. For the more advanced animals, you will also need a knife, borer, glue, googly eyes, fur, wool etc. Here, fantasy knows no bounds.

So let's go! First of all, you need to decide what animal you want to make.

An easy animal would be a giraffe, for example. For this, you will need a fairly large chestnut to use as the body. Make four holes in the bottom of the chestnut, two at the front and two at the back. Put a match or toothpick in each of the four holes to make the giraffe's legs. Now find four small chestnuts of similar size. These will be the feet. Make a hole in each of these small chestnuts and then place these feet onto the matchstick legs. Then make another hole in the top half of the body so that you can insert a toothpick to make the giraffe's neck. Lastly, make another hole in a smaller chestnut and place it on the neck. This will then be the head.

The chestnut snake, which is also an easy animal, can be made without matchsticks. For this, you need to put chestnuts with holes in them onto a thread, as if you were making a chestnut chain. When making the snake, you should make sure that the chestnuts used are threaded according to size. Put the biggest chestnut on first and then thread the others in descending order of size. To make it really look like a snake, you can paint on some eyes and stick on a red paper or felt tongue.

For the more advanced animals, there are no instructions or limitations: Anything goes as long as it is fun and looks good. Let your imagination run wild.

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