We were feeling crafty in the betty office, so we decided to create some personalised mason jars! We made one into a cute pot to store all our tampons in, one into a Pinterest-worth vase, and one into a cute tea light holder which sparkles with the candle.

To make all of these jars all you’ll need is mason jars, acrylic paint, a hot glue gun, glitter, string, and washi tape.

Do you want to make your crush (or yourself!) an easy gift for Valentine’s Day? This rainbow heart garland is super easy to make and looks ADORABLE. All you need is coloured cardboard, scissors, some ribbon, and a stapler.

1. Fold each sheet of coloured card in half and cut two strips from it across the fold. Take the two open ends of the strips and put them together so you make a heart shape. Staple the ends together

2. When you have enough hearts for your garland, staple the hearts together by the sides so that you make a circle

3. Take a strip of ribbon and staple it to the sides of the garland so you can hang it up

4. Admire your handiwork!

 

Do you want to make your very own pom-pom chandelier? All you need is 18 small pom-poms, 12 large pom-poms, 6 tassels, a 10 inch embroidery hoop, pretty washi tape and some pretty string.

Do you need to know how to make tassels? We’ve got a video for that. And pom-poms? We’ve got a video for that too.

I once bought a cross stitch kit that included silk threads in 27 different shades of beige. No, really.

In the end my desire to create a scene of Winnie the Pooh and Piglet on a bridge wasn’t as great as my inability to distinguish between tan, sand, fawn and all the rest, so I dumped the kit on a friend (she gave up on it too) – but hey, not all attempts at starting a new hobby go so badly.

Plus it’s a good thing to try new activities in our free time. Studies have shown that having interests (even beige ones) helps to make us happier. They are also a way to make new friends and escape from the pressures of school, homework and exams for a bit. What’s not to like about that?

So in the spirit of January, here are eight new extra-curricular activities to try in 2017, based on things you already love. Oh, and none of them require you to leave the sofa. Much.

If you already love colouring books…

Dot-to-dot is the new kid on the mindfulness block! But just as the recent trend for colouring is nothing like what you did when you were four, the new dot-to-dot books are hardcore, with literally hundreds of tiny points to join together. This requires some serious concentration but also distracts from stress and anxiety. You can draw (ok, dot) everything from famous people’s heads to adorable puppies – check out Thomas Pavitte’s books for the coolest selection.

As well as putting pen to paper, folding it is suddenly big news too. The ancient Japanese art of origami is so hot right now, and if you’re looking for a challenge as well as bedroom decs that don’t cost a million pounds on Etsy, this could be for you. Creating animals and birds from paper requires a lot of patience, even if you have a kit explaining what to do, but the results are seriously delightful. For inspiration (and to give your folding fingers a rest), read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.

origami

Another hobby with Insta-appeal is calligraphy. The art of beautiful lettering is centuries old, but that doesn’t stop YouTube and Pinterest being great places to learn the basics – with some practice you’ll be able to use calligraphy to create beautiful art based on your favourite poems and quotes. Get started now and you could have Christmas 2017 sorted by summer. How smug?

If you already love binge watching…

One of my goals for the year is to become a minor expert in EastEnders. What? I figured it would be fun to develop my obsession with the soap into an actual hobby, so I’ve started connecting with other fans through Twitter and reading books about the show’s history. If you also love geeking out over new subjects, you could try taking your TV fandom to the next level. Join forums, learn about how it’s made, write fan fiction about your favourite characters. Clear a shelf for some hand-painted Game of Thrones figurines. However you want to let your geek flag fly.

Or, switch media – instead of binge watching, try binge reading. If there’s an author you really like, work your way through all of their back catalogue. Not sure where to begin? There are loads of recommendations out there: check out the Zoella Book Club or Goodreads. Don’t forget this is a cheap hobby! Your school or local library will house enough books for even the most dedicated binge reader, so get a sturdy bag and let your inner Belle run wild.

belle

If you already love crafts…

Whether you’re used to using pins and needles or scissors and glue, if you like crafting then how about turning your hand to upcycling? Nothing to do with bikes or hills, promise. Upcycling is kind of like recycling, only the goal is to make the new item as good or if not even better than it was before. It’s an awesome way to personalise your clothes or your space, and fill grey Sunday afternoons in a way that won’t induce a parental nag-fest. Unless you get paint on the carpet.

Check out charity shops for small chests of drawers or an old mirror to paint. Rummage in your wardrobe for items that you’ve grown out of. Search for inspiration online (Pinterest is great for this, obviously). Mega upcycler Lili from Chicago told me that she is proud of herself for being able to reuse items – like the purses she’s recently made out of old shirts. She says, “It’s really nice to know that you are able to make something beautiful out of something that you don’t use anymore. You can easily make something really cool.”

It was you, it was always you… (find the DIY on ohhappyday.com 🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮🌮

A photo posted by Oh Happy Day (@ohhappyday) on

If you already enjoy blogging…

There are so many hobbies to have a bash at if you like writing. Try going small scale and keep a one sentence diary – not as easy as it sounds. These can go on for YEARS, so you’re able to look back at memories that you might otherwise forget about (although in the case of your year seven crushes that might not be a good thing).

At the other end of the scale, experiment with making a fanzine. This is basically a small magazine that reflects your loves and passions. It could be about music, films, fashion, poetry, cheese toasties… anything. Join forces with friends to make it a sociable thing: work on one together, or all make your own and trade them. There’s a whole ‘zine scene out there of people swapping homemade mags, and you never know where it might lead. Sharmadean Reid started out with a fanzine that eventually led to her creating WAH Nails.

stranger-things-fanzine

@mermaidblobs

See, told you hobbies were cool.

@rae_ritchie_

Tassels are easy to make and can be used to customised anything – bags, clothes, belts, hair accessories, your bedroom, the lot. All you need is scissors, some wool, and something to wrap your wool around.

Do you want to make your own Christmas baubles? If you’re subscribed to bettybox, then you’ll have a Bubble T bauble you can empty out and decorate. If you’re not subscribed, you can get some from Hobbycraft.

We’ve got three bauble designs here for you – The Disco Bauble, The Cool Yule and A Star Is Bauble. We used a hot glue gun, but you can use PVA glue instead. If you’re using a hot glue gun, make sure you get help from a parent or guardian.

They’re great once a month, but also great for this time of year! Using lace, glue feathers and glitter you can turn your tampons into beautiful tree decorations. We used a hot glue gun, but you can use PVA glue instead. If you’re using a hot glue gun, make sure you get help from a parent or guardian!

Christmas is a matter of DAYS away. Food, school holidays and watching your Nan get giggly on the sherry awaits.

But it can be difficult to feel the warm glow of festive tidings when you’ve got a huge project due in January and the Christmas adverts have been on repeat since November. Sometimes too much glitter-dusted advertising and endless spins of Mariah Carey can leave you as cold as the weather outside… so here are 10 alternative ways to find your Christmas spirit this year:

1. Discover some different Christmas music

Even the biggest Christmas fan can be left exhausted by too many repeats of I Wish it Could Be Christmas Every Day, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t season-appropriate music out there to get you in the mood.

Start with A Very She & Him Christmas, a collection of calm and contemplative covers of well-known Christmas songs by Zooey Deschanel and musician M Ward, before moving on to Surfjan Stevens’ beautiful Songs for Christmas or the gloriously retro A Motown Christmas. Or head to Spotify and search for [insert genre of your choice here] + Christmas: someone will already have done the hard playlist work for you.

2. Go fantasy party dress shopping

Yes, you have to go Christmas shopping, and yes, it will wipe out your allowance (unless you make your own). But while you’re there, take some friends and go and try on the most badass outfits you can find for parties – imaginary or otherwise – you’ve got ahead of you. Head to the fitting rooms and try on something you’d never normally buy. The shops are full of Christmas music and sparkles, so it would be positively rude not to (and if you really like it, well, you know what to look for in the sales).

3. Have a Christmas craft afternoon

Paper-chains, cutting out snowflakes and covering things in glitter; set aside an afternoon to decorate your bedroom like it’s 1975. You’ll be amazed at what you can make from stuff you’ve just got lying around your home. If you’re stuck for inspiration there’s loads of brilliant ideas on Instagram and Pinterest, but here are a few to start you off: cute toilet-roll reindeer, this awesome wrapping paper Christmas tree and these cute egg box flowers.

4. Bake something

It’s cold and gross outside, and the endless scroll of Instagram and Snapchat are making you feel sluggish. Get off the sofa and into the kitchen: baking is a great way to beat boredom or give yourself some screen-free time (floury fingers don’t work on a touchscreen).

Whether you get some mates round to ice biscuits or cook up some easy festive cookies to give away to your friends (they make bargainous Christmas presents), it’s a lovely way to pass an afternoon. Plus if you make something with cinnamon or orange in, the whole place will smell Christmassy. Bonus. 

5. Go for a wintery walk (and get cosy after)

The last of the autumn leaves might be falling, but there is still plenty of wintery wonder to be found in the great outdoors, especially with people putting up their Christmas lights. Go and find a bit of outside; whether that’s your local park, the posh bit of town or somewhere a little further afield. The best thing about shaking a leg? Heading somewhere cosy and comforting afterwards to warm up – even if it’s just your living room.

6. Get the lighting right

Whether you’ve subscribed to the Danish trend of hygge or not, low lighting can transform a room and conjure the right level of Christmassy cosiness. Whether you opt for some fairylights, light a few candles (make sure you’re always in the room when they’re lit, though, that’s candle 101) or both, you can create a sense of festive magic by placing a few twinkly things in the right corners of a room.

7. Do something for someone else

It’s a cliché but it’s true: sometimes the best thing you can do at Christmas is give back. Whether that’s as simple as helping out a friend or sibling with a problem or some homework, donating your time to a charitable cause – such as helping out at a charity Christmas fair – or spending some of your hard-earned cash on a donation to your supermarket’s food bank. That warm, fuzzy feeling inside? It’s not indigestion, it’s festive goodwill.

8. Have a Christmas film afternoon

Simple, but usually effective. Grab a mate or get your family together, pick a few of your favourite Christmas films or maybe a new one (although you can never go wrong with Elf), load up on snacks and switch your phone onto airplane mode. Don’t forget the blankets.

9. Help out with the Christmas feast

No, Father Christmas doesn’t arrive on Christmas morning and help the chef of the household – that’s a grown-up who has spent a ridiculous amount of time and money thinking about how to make everyone too full to move by 6pm on the 25th.

So surprise whoever’s in charge in the kitchen now by offering your help with the catering over Christmas (there’s that goodwill again) and, as the big day approaches, get involved with peeling potatoes or making pigs-in-blankets. You’ll be surprised by how much fun you can have – and it’ll make the finished product even tastier.

10. Plan something fun for the family to do over Christmas

Christmas takes a lot of thought and coordination from those that are running the show, so lighten the load and have something beyond presents to look forward to by planning a surprise for when the telly gets boring. Perhaps it could be a game of Just A Minute themed around family memories and in-jokes. You could suggest a film to watch that the others may not have thought of, or make your own crackers. You might even wind up starting a new Christmas tradition!

See, don’t you feel more festive already?

@alice_emily

Christmas can get expensive fast, especially when you’re relying on pocket money or your part time job. But often the best presents aren’t the ones that cost a fortune, they’re the ones that someone took the time to make. Nothing says, “I love and care about you” like sitting down and embroidering your mum’s face on a pillow (jk, we’re not advocating that at all).

Here’s the lazy girl’s guide to having a crafty Christmas…

Stuff in jars

Nothing says adorable and homemade like a mason jar.

For the baker

Brownies are an easy go to, but you could adapt this brownie in a jar from Evermine to make pretty much any baked good. Thoughtful and delicious.

brownie-in-a-jar

For the horticulturalist

This terrarium jar from Wit & Whistle doesn’t actually mean buying a succulent, just setting up its cosy home. Definitely a cheaper option – but if you want to pop a succulent in, go right ahead.

terrarium-kit

For the stresshead

One year my mum went to the supermarket and bought my regular toiletries, wrapped them and gave them to me in my stocking. This mason jar from The Gunny Sack is essentially the same thing, but rather than looking like you couldn’t come up with something to buy your loved ones, it says, “Look how well I know you! I even know the type of toothpaste you like!”

spa-in-a-jar

Accessories 

For the dotty one

This upcycled clutch from Brit + Co is beautiful. They bought a clutch from a charity stop and added the dots, but you could also do the same print on a tote bag or a cheap t-shirt.

clutch

For the dessert fan

Tote bags are the ultimate crafting gift; there’s just so much you can do with them. A template for these gorgeous ice creams and the ‘Tasty Totes’ text are downloadable and FREE from Lana Red Studio.

tote

For the chilly one

These pocket warmers from Ree Ann Kelly are super easy to make. Every time your loved ones slip them in their pockets, they’ll think of you.

hand-warmer-valentines-10

For the fashion-lover

Chokers are awesome, but why buy one for a tenner from Topshop when this tutorial from Brit + Co shows you how to make one for next to nothing?

chocker

For the bohemian one 

These bracelets from Honestly WTF are surprisingly simple to make – and see how classy and expensive they look!

bracelets

Stuff for the home

For the sentimental one

This tutorial from Kelli Murray is perfect for your BFF or your parents, and it’s super simple to make. Print out some of your fave photos from the year and put them together in a beautiful collage.

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For the quirky one

Not only are these DIY mini planters from Sugar & Cloth adorable, but you could give them to pretty much anyone. They’d be great for your BFF or your impossible-to-buy-for aunt.

egg-cup-planters-3-2

For the homemaker

Ok, let’s all just go ahead and accept that flamingoes are amazing. This tutorial from Sugar & Cloth comes with free downloadable pictures of flamingoes and couldn’t be easier to follow.

flamingo-pillow22

For the notebook-obsessed one

Everyone has a friend that owns too many notebooks. A friend that wanders into Paperchase “just to have a look” and re-emerges £15 lighter every time (ahem, Amy). But rather than buying them an expensive notebook this Christmas, you can make them one of their own with this tutorial from Lovely Indeed.

diy-gold-foil-notebooks-1

There you go, Christmas sorted – and you don’t have to set foot on the high street. Happy crafting!

We all know that no one’s life really looks like their Pinterest feed (except maybe Anne Hathaway’s). It’s a social media platform designed to trick even the least crafty among us into believing that we too can make the perfect adorable marshmallow snowmen, flawless ombre hanging macrame plant holder thingumies and bunting made of unicorn hair and fairy dust.

We believe, we try and we fail – because Pinterest is not real life. Let’s all chant it together: Pinterest is not real life. Here are a few people who learned that the hard way.

This person just wanted to make some delicious macaroons…

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But forgot the air them for a couple of hours, so ended up with what looks strangely like a map of the world made out of chocolate chip cookie.

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This person just wanted to make tiny tributes to Frosty the Snowman…

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And ended up with mutated-looking minions wearing top hats.

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 This optimistic fellow wanted to make a hypnotic Christmas swirl…

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And ended up with a green sludge that would make even the Cookie Monster take a pause.

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 This well-intentioned Harry Potter loving fan wanted to create a magical masterpiece…

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And ended up with something uglier than Voldemort’s face.

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These dramatical fails aren’t confined to the cooks and the bakers of this world, either. Despite looking like the mess left over after Spiderman defeats the Green Goblin, these stringy light things are apparently really hard to make.

One person was aiming for this…

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And ended up with something that looks like the mess of wiring behind the TV.

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 Another was going for this…

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And ended up with this. Hats off to them for going to the effort of hanging it up considering it looks like a crumpled milk bottle covered in string, which on second thoughts might actually be exactly what it is.

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Honestly, why do people keep trying to make these weird lights when they are obviously impossible? Why do we do this to ourselves?

This balloon string thing was meant to look like this…

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And instead looked like an old mop that your mum left to dry in the shower.

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So go forth and craft! After all, funny is better than perfect.

All images: pinterestfail.com

They may seem old fashioned, but pom-poms are incredibly soothing to make. You can then do all sorts with them – decorate a tote bag, throw them at people who annoy you…the possibilities are endless.

All you need to make a pom-pom is:

  • wool, preferably in your favourite colour
  • a pen
  • some cardboard
  • a pair of scissors

The great thing about pom-poms is that even if you mess up, they’ll still probably look great. Go forth and pom-pom without worry.