Updated: Aug 28

Learn to make beautiful Christmas and Hanukkah cards. This year, DIY your holiday cards in 6 simple steps. This is a fun, creative Fall project for all ages.

DIY Hanukkah and Christmas cards

DIY Holiday Cards: 6 Steps to making your own Christmas or Hanukkah cards this year!

This article provides step-by-step instructions for DIY Christmas or Hanukkah cards.

Everyone loves getting an actual piece of personal mail. Even better is a hand-written note on a handmade greeting card. It’s a real treat - practically a gift! So, this holiday season, treat your friends, family and business associates to the gift of a handmade holiday card. You can be sure your card will stand out in the crowd of the usual (yawn) photo cards everyone else sends (is it just me, or does anyone else not care for those? Honestly, who really wants a copy of a photo that they’ve already seen on Facebook or Instagram? And what in the world are you supposed to do with them? I miss the days of receiving beautiful holiday cards that I could - and did - display. They were like an added element of holiday decor!)

This project calls for a few simple supplies.

Following is a step-by-step guide on how to make creative, unique Christmas, Hanukkah or general holiday cards. (If you’re running late, make New Year’s cards!)

Materials You’ll Need:

· Sheet(s) of Paper - a heavier paper stock works best, but use whatever you have on hand. I’m using inexpensive watercolor paper, which you can find in craft stores, your local drugstore, or here: https://amzn.to/38bFbv1.

· Paints, Crayons or Markers - use what you have!

· Blank cards and envelopes - craft stores (like Joann Fabrics) carry boxes of plain cards and matching envelopes. I like these watercolor cards: https://amzn.to/3suT5BV

· Scissors

· Glue, Glue Stick or Double-sided tape

· Pencil

· Cardboard or cookie cutters

· Optional: Metallic Sharpies in silver, gold and/or bronze.

Steps to making DIY Christmas cards


Step 1: Using paper and paints (or markers or crayons), make a colorful design of your choice. Some ideas: Overlapping squiggles and swirls. Layers of circles or squares. Stripes. Opposing stripes (plaid). Any and all sorts of colorful marks will do the trick. Don’t fret or overthink this part. Just start and fill the paper with color!

Hints: Use shades of reds and greens if you want a super-Christmas-y look, or blues, purples and silver for Hanukkah. Or, just go to town with any and all colors of your liking.

Let the painted paper dry completely. To prevent warping, place a few large heavy books on top of paper as it dries.

Step 2: While the paper is drying, use a pencil to draw an outline of a Christmas tree (or dreidel) onto the cardboard*.

Step 3: Cut this shape out.

*Option: You can also use cookie cutters like these https://amzn.to/37UYn07 as your guides.

Step 4: When the painted paper is dry, turn it over and trace your cardboard tree/dreidel (or use your cookie cutter) onto the blank side. Draw as many as will fit.

Step 5: Cut all these shapes out.

Step 6: Next, use glue, glue stick or double-sided tape to adhere one Christmas tree or dreidel shape to the center of each card. It’s up to you whether you want your cards to be horizontal or vertical.

Let your cards dry completely (I put mine in a small pile and place that heavy stack of books on top so they flatten nicely).

Your cards are done! Now you can write personal holiday greetings on the inside, and mail them off to your loved ones. Your efforts will be so appreciated and remembered. And, you’ll have fun! (If you are one who likes those photo cards, place one inside each card.)

How I made my cards:

• For the Hanukkah design, I made a plaid with blue and purple watercolor paints and metallic Sharpies (available here https://amzn.to/3gzFUe3).

To create a plaid, first make a series of blue stripes, spaced apart. Turn the paper sideways, and make a row of purple stripes ACROSS the blue stripes. Repeat until paper is almost covered with color. Use silver or gold (or both - you can never have too much sparkle in a holiday card!) Sharpies to add some shine.

• For the Christmas Tree design I used several shades of green and painted overlapping circles. I filled the entire sheet of paper until I had very little white space left.

• I used 5” x 7” cards, so I made my cardboard tree about 4.5” tall, and the dreidel is about 4”.

• IMPORTANT: Do not worry for even 1 minute about being perfect! As you can see, my designs are loose and easy. No straight lines, no measuring. And they still turned out nicely!

More Options:

• For Step 1, recycle last year's holiday gift wrap instead of creating your own designs. (Because this sort of paper is of lighter weight, use a glue stick or double-sided tape to adhere shapes to cards.)

• Feeling adventurous? Cut shapes out of copies of family photos.

• Add silver or gold dots to the blank parts of the card. This would be a good time to enlist little kids! Hand them a Sharpie and let them create a "snowstorm" on each card.

I’d love to see the cards you make. Tag me on Instagram and Facebook!

And, follow me on Pinterest to be among the first to see upcoming creative project ideas.

Finally, if you have any questions for me, feel free to email at hello@mariannixon.com. I'm happy to help, and I almost always have an opinion!

Supplies Links*:

Christmas Tree Cookie Cutters


Hanukkah cookie cutters


Set of 50 blank cards and envelopes


Metallic Sharpies


*Note: some of the links shared above are affiliate links. Should you purchase these items, I may receive a small fee from the seller.

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Updated: Aug 17

marian nixon paintings wall art prints
college dorm room wall art prints

Personalize your college dorm room to fit your unique, individual style. For inspiration, I've created a list of my favorite easy, affordable and practical dorm decoration ideas that will bring your space to life. You'll also find some "must haves" for successful and comfortable college dorm living. From wall decor to college necessities like bed duvets, these decor suggestions will add personality to and transform your room into a cute and comfortable home.

As always, summer has seemingly just begun, and already it’s time to talk “back-to-school” (most stores are already filled with school supplies. Don't even think of shopping for summer clothes now - it's all about Fall! Sigh).

If you’re asking "where does one begin to give a small boring space big personality?", you're in the right place. You’ve probably got a long , and possibly stress-inducing “to do” list. To ease any pressure you may be feeling, I'm sharing some simple, on-trend (and affordable!) dorm room decorating ideas.

Dorm Room Accessories:

Wall Decor Ideas - Art Prints, Decals and Flags

An art print (or 2 or 3) is an easy and very budget-friendly accessory that will add color and interest to a dorm room wall. Opt for illustrations and designs that fit your interests and personality. Choose from sports-related artwork (Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Lambeau Field, Miller Park, Progressive Field, Soldier Field, Augusta and more), inspiring quotes and symbols, beach scenes, city skylines (Chicago, New York, Milwaukee, Atlanta, San Francisco), abstract art and more.

Click the link below to see all available wall art print options, and sizes.

Pop them into inexpensive frames and use Command Strips or hooks to hang them.

Pro tip: Display an odd number of art prints in a row. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, 3 or 5 pieces will appear more balanced than 2 or 4. It's true!

shop art prints here

(Above are only a few of the patterns available in wall decals.

Click the link below to see more design options.)

If you're looking for a creative semi-DIY dorm room decor idea: wall decals. I've designed a variety of options, from abstract colors and shapes to hearts, dog illustrations, flowers as well as Christmas and Hanukkah designs. They can be placed on a wall or door in an unlimited variety of designs - your imagination dictates how your wall will look.

(Note: You'll want to apply these decals to smooth walls that have been primed and painted. They won't adhere to cinder-block walls.)

Wall decals are one of the easiest DIY wall art ideas - get creative! Your walls will appear to be hand-painted!

shop wall decals here

Easy decor idea: FLAGS. These come in 2 sizes, 12" x 18" and 27" x 40" - perfect to cover a larger space, or to hang from a door or window. Design options included inspiring messages and quotes, peace signs, welcome messages and more. These are durable and washable, and can hang on doors, walls, in windows, and of course outside too.

shop flags here

Bedding and Blankets

A new duvet cover will almost immediately update any bedroom's look, any time of the year. A new school year is the perfect time to update bed linens. Personally, I've always found the choices for bedding in department or big box stores, well, "limited" - so I am excited that I now design my own duvet covers. Seriously, this is a childhood dream-come-true. Choose from colorful florals, plaids, abstracts, boho chic or geometrics. There's a pattern option for nearly every taste. Check them out here

Don't forget bed pillows. Even if the dorm or apartment supplies these, eww. Bring your own.

And double-check with your dorm for exact bed sizes before purchasing!

An extra blanket will go to very good use, even if school is in a warmer climate. These are offered in both Fleece and Sherpa, and are available in 3 sizes. Check blanket options out here.

Bathroom Accessories

A patterned shower curtain (for those lucky students who will have their own bathrooms) will create a bathroom with style and personality. Add solid-colored towels to complete the look.

shop shower curtains here

Don't forget a matching or complementary bath mat.

shop bath mats here

Other must-haves:

• Shower Shoes/Flip Flops

• First aid kit containing the basics: pain relievers, bandages, allergy medications if needed, antibacterial ointment, throat lozenges, etc...

• A waterproof carry-all for shower items like shampoo, soap, etc...

Area Rugs

Area rugs and floor mats are the perfect way to literally add warmth and personality to cold dormitory floors. Be sure to use a non-slip mat underneath (the ones available in my shop come with a non-slip mat included with rug purchase).

shop area rugs here

If dorm/apartment rules allow it, a cheery "welcome" mat at the front door is a creative touch that will add a pop of color and style to the dorm hallways.

shop welcome mats here

Throw Pillows

Or do you say "cushions"? Either way, a grouping of pillows in fun designs, along with a few in solid colors, provides interest and added comfort. Toss a few on a cozy chair, and more on the bed. Easy to change with the seasons, too (hello, mid-semester care package!!). Available in several sizes and many designs - click to see them here.

Dorm Room Door Hangers - Signs & Flags

Make your first impression count! Hang a fun art flag on your door. Choose one with an inspiring message (Peace, HOPE, All All Welcome Here), or choose a more decorative option. Choose from Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah designs when the holidays roll around.

Another idea: hang a dry-erase board or a chalkboard on the dorm room door. Or hang a sweet and friendly "welcome" sign. The signs shown here are made of light-weight PVC. They are water-resistant, and come with a cord, ready-to-hang.

Don't forget those Command Strips and/or hooks!

See sign and flag options by clicking here.

More Decor Tips and Design Tricks

Because most college dorm rooms are, ahem, short on space (in other words, TINY), just these few accessories can make a big impact. To make a room shine while reflecting your personality, try a few of these design tricks:

  • More Mixing Than Matching - incorporate a variety of patterns and solid-colors.

  • Choose a colorful-patterned duvet and balance the look with solid sheets and pillow cases.

  • The shower curtain can be the star of the show in the bathroom. Select solid-colored bath towels that compliment the design of the shower curtain.

  • Choose 2 or 3 art prints that work together. Frame each with the same style of frame to create a cohesive look. If you're a sports fan, opt for baseball, football, basketball or golf themes. Choose from prints of Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Lambeau Field, Miller Park, Augusta National, and more. City skylines and Inspirational quotes and symbols also make wonderful wall decor (think Peace Signs, messages of HOPE and inclusion).

  • Shhh... this one is just between us: Fake plants. I'm not talking about granny's silk flowers now. I'm talking faux-succulents. They LOOK real. And they do not die. AND, they come in small, attractive pots - cluster 3 small ones on a shelf to add some (fake) nature to your environment.

Adding any or all of these decor ideas will take a blah, boring box of a room from an ordinary space to a warm home for your college living space. (For parents, here's another tip: Think about picking up a few extra items to send as mid-term care packages.)

More Must-Haves for College Life

By no means is this a complete list of college necessities - instead these are items that might slip your mind when packing:

• Cleaning Supplies. OK, true confession: I do not recall cleaning my dorm room. Ever. But, I'm sure I should have.

• Laundry Basket/Bag/Hamper

• Ear Plugs or noise-canceling headphones

• Masks and/or neck gaiters (just in case!)

• Extra clothes hangers

• Desk lamp and bedside-table lamp

• Power Strip (or 2)

• Umbrella

• Shoe and boot rack

• Fire extinguisher

• Mace or pepper spray (not so much fun, but...)

• String lights!

• Flameless candles

I hope this has been informative and inspiring! I wish everyone a smooth transition from summer to back-to-school. It's going to be a terrific year, and I'd love to hear (and see!) how your dorm rooms look. Share before and after photos on social media and tag me! And speaking of social media, be sure to follow me so you'll be among the first to know when new products and designs become available.

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