Crystals: A Sparkling New Way to Decorate Your Home for the Holidays
Looking to add sparkle? The holidays are the perfect time to embrace all that is luxurious and extravagant. Our editors' new favorite holiday décor idea centers around chandelier pieces, rhinestone stickers, and glass beads, all of which are available at crafts stores and online. Faux gems and crystals throw off a more grown-up glint than their exhibitionist cousins, glitter and tinsel. Refine your palette, too. We're partial to citrine, peridot, rust, blush, apricot, ochre, and smoky gray. Chandelier design crystals are used throughout our projects (and they're available at chandelierdesign.com and chandelierparts.com, respectively).
Thank the Victorians for turning metallic razzle-dazzle into a mark of the season. Embossed Christmas cards with snowy scenes were enhanced with crystal, as were images of candle-laden tannenbaums.
Ornaments, hand-blown and fragile, also were adorned with painted stripes that crafters then rolled in rhinestones. What began as a trend developed into a tradition. We've taken this seasonal flirtation with sparkle and used it to embrace all sorts of objects, casting a metallic sheen over iconic items (such as a Christmas tree) and unexpected ones (such as bottle stoppers). Sew-on rhinestone garlands can create striking radiance, too. We also used copper wire and a few crafts and sewing items, such as beads on a string, decorative trim, and paperweights (the latter was repurposed as toppers for your go-to decanter). Lametta, which is silver-plated metal thread that tarnishes in a pleasing way over time, is a luxurious choice.
Set out with our ideas in mind, shop the materials, and return home to create your own sparkling holiday world.
Created by Naomi DeMañana and Tanya Graff.
When you stud gift wrap with shimmering accents, you'll outshine the guy in the red suit. You can play up a pattern with press-on rhinestones, trace on circles or stripes and top with glue-on gems and sticker strips, or go pavé atop a small box. (A tip from our elves: Map out the jewels first, then paste.) This year, Grandma wont be the only one carefully opening and saving her paper.
Shop Now: Paper Source Hand-Made Fine Papers, starting from $5 per sheet, papersource.com. Recollections Rhinestone Borders, in Gold, $6 for 3, michaels.com. Rhinestone Stickers, in assorted colors, $4.50 for 72, michaels.com. Recollections Large Rhinestone Stickers, in Yellow, $4.50 for 16, michaels.com. Allstarco USA Flat-Back Teardrop Acrylic Jewels, $9 for 20, amazon.com. Mark Richards Elements Crystal Stickers, in Ruby, $5.75 for 74, amazon.com.
A tabletop tree is ideal for dripping gems—it takes fewer to fill the branches and show- cases their prismatic qualities. Hang chandelier crystals from each limb using matching millinery wire (we went with white to blend into these goose feathers). Then craft a star topper by wiring together eight elongated crystals through the holes at the bottom—just add a little hot glue between them to secure the shape. A few trompe loeil treasures arranged at the base polish off the scene.
All the bead bracelets you made as a kid were preludes to this masterpiece of a mantel swag. Fill a length of copper wire with sew-on rhinestones (they have holes through them for easy threading), packing them snugly to prevent spin and to keep them facing out. Then tack up your 10-carat doppelgängers with pushpins—unlike real stones, they're light as air.
Shop Now: ShineTrim Sew-On Resin Gemstones, $12 for 100, shinetrim.com. Hawkins New York Rainbow pink candle holder (center right), from $55; and taper candles, 13", $8 for 2, hawkinsnewyork.com. Jung Lee Amber Glass Candlestick (center left), $50 for 3, jungleeny.com. Reflections Ophelia Amber Square Tea-Light Holders, $200 each, jungleeny.com. Louise Roe Balloon Vase 01 (far right), in Amber, $120, louiseroe.dk. West Elm Faceted Emerald-Cut Mirror, $299, westelm.com.
Whether your plates are minimal or making their annual foray out of the fancy-things cabinet, seal the deal with delicate bling rings. Loop a length of pre-strung glass seed beads in half, wrap it around a rolled napkin, and loosely tug the ends through, lariat-style. Since one bundle, or "hank," of beads typically comes with a dozen strands, you’ll have enough for a dinner party—even one that's break-out-the- table-leaf-big.
Your barware deserves a special-occasion upgrade. Replace plain decanter tops (or cap off flea-market finds like these that are missing theirs) with cut- glass paperweights or round chandelier crystals. Both come in myriad colors, so you can contrast them with the spirit inside—for instance, citrine looks smashing with whiskey.