Seven Creative Holiday Printer Projects

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Papercraft Dreidel

Instead of making a dreidel out of clay, make one out of paper!

You can print out a papercraft dreidel template--Enchanted Learning has a simple one, while Disney's Family Fun Website features a more artistic one--on regular cardstock. Alternatively, you can print it out on regular paper and then glue it to thin cardboard (if you don't have cardstock). Cut around the edges, fold along the lines, and glue the ends together--simple! Disney's Dreidel includes a papercraft handle for spinning it, while Enchanted Learning's dreidel requires you to stick a straw or a thin wooden dowel through the top.

Want something a little different this year? Check out Star Wars' R2-D2-themed paper "Droidel." The Droidel is just like the other papercraft dreidels, except that it's designed to resemble R2-D2 from Star Wars; the template includes a little circular top that goes around the handle.

Candles

Candles are an integral part of the holiday décor in many houses--the flickering lights and the sweet aromas help create a festive atmosphere (assuming that you've taken appropriate precautions to minimize the potential for disastrous fires). Candles make great (and natural) housewarming presents, too.

Instead of dropping $25 on prepackaged decorated candles, why not use your printer to make your own candles? Of course, you can't print the whole candle (unless you have a nifty 3D printer that prints wax), but you can personalize inexpensive pillar candles with festive or personal designs.

First, pick up some low-cost pillar candles (white and cream are the classic colors to use, but feel free to play with brighter colors) and some candle decal paper (10 sheets for $11 at DecalPaper.com).

Design your decal in a graphic design program such as Photoshop. Remember that you'll be placing the decal around the candle, so try to make it match the circumference of the candle (so that it wraps all the way around) or design decals that measure less than half the candle's diameter (so the entire design is visible from one side). Play around with photos, holiday clip art, and patterns.

Set your printer paper settings to 'Photo Gloss' with the best resolution possible, and print your decal on the glossy side of the decal paper. Once your decal is printed, spray the sheet of paper with Krylon Acrylic Crystal Clear High Gloss spray until the sheet is shiny (you'll need about three coats). You can purchase acrylic spray online or at your local hardware or craft store.

After the spray has dried (it takes about an hour), cut out the image. Place your cut-out image in a cup of water for about a minute, or until the decal film begins to slip against the backing. Then peel the decal away from the backing and carefully apply it to your pillar candle.

Voila! A perfect, pretty decorative candle, straight from your printer.

Note: The above instructions are for an inkjet printer. If you're using a laser printer, purchase laser printer decal paper and skip the acrylic spray.

Temporary Tattoos

Though you may not equate tattoos with the holiday season, temporary tattoos can be perfect for Christmas parties, kids' parties (they're sort of like face-painting...but quicker), and New Year's Eve. And with your trusty inkjet or laser printer, you can print out your very own festive holiday temporary tattoos.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Andy Wilkes.
All you need is a printer and some special temporary tattoo paper--you can find it at BelDecal or DecalPaper.com ($20 for five sheets of tattoo paper and five sheets of adhesive).

First, design your temporary tattoos. You can do this in any graphics program, such as Photoshop, but tattoos should be small, and you'll want to have as many designs as you can fit on each sheet. The best designs for temporary tattoos are simple ones, such as clip art, not photos. If you decide to print words, you'll need to flip them so that they're mirror images.

Once you have a sheet of tattoo designs, print a test sheet on plain paper. If everything looks good, go ahead and put the tattoo paper into your printer--only print one page at a time. Allow the printed sheets to dry completely before you touch them (you'll have to wait about 3 minutes).

Once the sheets are dry, remove the first side of the adhesive sheet and apply it to the tattoo paper. Make sure that no air bubbles get trapped inside (the easiest way to do this is to use a ruler to flatten out the adhesive as you stick it on).

Now you're ready to cut out each tattoo design. To apply a new temporary tattoo, remove the second side of the adhesive backing and press the tattoo against your skin for 20 seconds. Then wet the paper with a sponge or a wet paper towel for 60 seconds. When the paper is completely wet, remove the paper and you'll have a (temporary) holiday tattoo!

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