Skip to main content

The charity making life better by water

Christmas crafts for canal lovers

Learn a new skill and delight your family by presenting them with a home-made Christmas gift. Get creative with our tried and tested Christmas crafts.

Watch our Christmas craft videos

Watch the video above to learn how to make natural Christmas tree decorations with Adrian from our Canal & River Trust Explorers team.

If you enjoyed our Explorers video, take a look at two others we have to help you get crafty this Christmas.

Learning a new skill can boost your self esteem and help you feel better during the gloomy winter evenings. So this year, try your hand at creating one of our canal-themed gifts – great to give to family and friends.

Lock gate tree ornaments

You will need:

Two ice lolly sticks Brown card Pen Black and white paint PaintbrushGlue Scissors Tape String/ribbon Ruler
Lock Gates Xmas Crafts 1
Lock Gates xmas crafts 2

1. Draw a line on the ice lolly sticks, about a third of the way along.

2. Paint the end white and leave to dry.

Lock Gates xmas crafts 3

3. While you're waiting, cut up your card into two rectangles and draw three ‘L' shapes on each in pen as shown (we used brown felt tip).

Lock Gates xmas crafts 4

4. Once the white paint has dried, paint the rest of the lolly stick black to look like a traditional beam.

5. Once all the paint is dry, stick the brown card to the lolly sticks. We used PVA glue for this.

Lock Gates xmas crafts 5

6. When the glue is dry you can attach your string or ribbon to the back of the card with tape.

Your ornaments are now ready to hang on your tree or put in a gift box as a present.

Lock Gates xmas crafts 6

Mugs for boaters

You will need:

Porcelain mugs Oil based pens Oven
Mugs xmas crafts 1
Mugs xmas crafts 2

1. We recommend practicing your design on paper first. We designed ours with the terms 'Captain', 'Skipper', 'Deck hand' and 'Captain's Mate'.

2. When you're ready, it's time to put pen to porcelain. Start drawing your design, but keep a tissue handy to wipe away any mistakes.

3. When you're happy with the designs, put the mugs in a cold oven and then turn it to 200 degrees and leave for 30 minutes.

4. Turn off the oven, but leave the mugs in there to cool slowly, otherwise they may break due to the quick change in temperature.

5. Remove the mugs from the oven and wrap them up.

Note: This method should mean you can put the mugs in the dishwasher, but we still recommend hand-washing to keep them looking fresh.

Mugs xmas crafts 3

Boat tote bag

You will need:

Blank tote bag A printed photo/picture of a seasonal canal scene ScissorsParchment paper Photo transfer (cream or iron-on) Paint brush, sponge and rolling pin (if using photo transfer cream)
Tote xmas crafts 1
Tote xmas crafts 2

1. Wash and iron your tote bag to avoid wrinkles in the image.

2. Put parchment paper inside the tote bag to protect the inside and to help keep the bag's shape.

3. Print off your seasonal canal scene photo, make sure it's sized to fit the tote bag. If you are using an iron-on kit, you may need to print onto transfer paper. Do check in with the owner of the photo to ensure they're happy for you to use it.

4. Follow the instructions given with your photo transfer cream or iron-on kit.

5. One the image has set, the bag is ready to wrap up as a lovely Christmas gift.

You could also use this method for cushion covers or patches.

Tote xmas crafts 3

It's great to share

If you make any of these, or come up with your own canal-themed Christmas crafts, share the images with us and your friends and family on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Boy making Christmas crafts
Two women eat lunch next to the canal

Wellbeing on your doorstep

Find somewhere beautiful to rest, relax and recharge. Discover what's local to you

Last Edited: 04 December 2023

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration