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5 Cheap and Creative Ways to Decorate Your Yard This Winter

A father and his son playing in the snow, building a small snowman.
Smolina Marianna/Shutterstock

There are many ways to have fun in the snow, but why not get creative this winter. These free and cheap creative outdoor ideas are fun for young and old alike.

Build Something Out of Snow

Whether you want to make the traditional snowman with a carrot nose, or you want to build your own snow fort, there are lots of things you can create in the snow. Building snow castles and creatures is something that can be fun for adults and children—it gives everyone a chance to get creative. And don’t think you have to invest in fancy tools and forms for the job. Tupperware containers and storage totes make for great “brick” forms to build walls and more.

Want to spread a little cheer? Build your snow creations in your front yard so you can share them with your neighbors. Snow decor can be just as fun to look at as Christmas lights.

Decorate Outdoor Trees

Get in touch with nature when you’re decorating outdoors for the holidays this year (and even after the holidays are over) by making garlands for your trees using food items that can be enjoyed by birds and other wildlife.

You can use things like popped popcorn, oat cereals, cranberries to make easy garlands. You’ll need some thick thread and a needle for threading. This is a great project for older kids who can use a needle safely.

For instructions on how to make a decorative garland for your yard, check out this article for ideas. They include a great list of a variety of edible items you can add to your garland.

Craft Feeders for Winter Birds

Garlands crafted with food aren’t the only creative way to feed your winter birds in the great outdoors; you can make suet cakes and use pinecones to make bird feeders. You can do each of these things with some simple, affordable ingredients.

Suet feeders are a fatty high-energy treat that birds absolutely love. You’ll need some birdseed, shortening, and a few other ingredients. There is a great recipe on the Audobon site.

Pine cone feeders are even easier and take less time. You can mix some birdseed in peanut butter and stick it to the pine cone.

Make Paintings in the Snow

The fresh snow-covered ground gives you a huge canvas waiting for a work of art. Make sure you have a camera or your phone with you to capture the finished product because it will be gone with the next snowfall or warmer day.

Making snow paint is as easy as mixing some food color in water in a spray bottle. Use the spray bottle to “paint” your works of art. You can make a wide array of paint colors with the three primary colors of red, yellow, and blue. Check out this tutorial for some tips and tricks.

Craft Ice Ornaments, Spheres, and Luminaries

A walkway decorated with ice globe luminaries.
Wintercraft

If you want to make your yard look beautiful, you can add ornaments to the trees and to your yard (on the porch, in the snow, wherever). Add color with yard ornaments made from colored ice or add some whimsy to your trees or deck with ice ornaments created with items from nature.

Ornaments are easy to make with ice, you just need a mold and some water. This recipe from Birds and Blooms uses cookie cutters to make simple ice ornaments that are clear. You can make ornaments using candy molds and even with your muffin tin. Put in some water and use a small plastic cup filled with something heavy and leave a hole midway into your ornament where you can put ribbon for hanging. Add food coloring, sticks, leaves, and other things you’ve collected from outside. You can set your water outside to freeze if it’s cold enough or put the ornaments in the freezer.

For colorful lawn ornaments, you need some water, water balloons, and food coloring. It’s as easy as putting some food coloring in a balloon, filling it with water, and freezing it. Before you freeze them (outdoors or in the freezer), put them in a plastic bag (to protect from any leaks). Once the balls are frozen, cut the balloons off and place them in your yard. You can put them in patterns, line your walkway with them, or come up with something even more creative.

If you want to take the frozen-balloon trick to the next level, you can create ice luminaries by leaving the balloon to freeze for a few hours and then prematurely popping it. Because the water freezes from the outside in the water inside the ice shell will drain out, leaving a thick hollow sphere. Here’s a tutorial you can follow along with using plain old balloons, and here’s a kit from Wintercraft that includes heavy-duty balloons, a stand, and additional tools to help you craft ice luminaries.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »

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