There’s no doubt about it, Christmas is an expensive time of the year. Throw in the oneupmanship factor, and it can become eye-watering. One way to avoid all of this is by turning pre-loved items into something unique using your very own hands, and there are few better people to guide us through this than Lynne Lambourne.
Somewhere along the line, gifting presents at Christmas has become a bit of a competition. People’s ego’s means they are scared stiff of giving something to another, which is inferior to what they’ve been given. Some will argue ‘No’ to this, but many others will know exactly what I am getting at.
Waking up on Boxing Day, having received something extraordinary from a close friend while you’ve given them something akin to ‘old-tat’ will play on your mind for the whole day. I’m quite sure anyone feeling this will already be thinking 364 days ahead to how they can make up for it.
There are some easy solutions to this and the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has come up with an absolutely cracking idea. This year they’re asking the public to take on its Charity Shop Challenge and buy at least one pre-loved gift from a charity shop, and sustainable interior designer Lynne Lambourne is right behind it.
To help support the charity’s Christmas shopping challenge she’s shared some tips on how to upcycle your BHF goodies into festive gifts or centrepieces.
From standard white crockery to retro glassware and a picture frame, Lynne showcases how easily your pre-loved pieces can be transformed into special gifts for your loved ones this Christmas, whilst helping to support a good cause.
With the majority of BHF shops across England reopening next week, the charity is challenging shoppers to find affordable pre-loved gifts by either visiting their local shop or its eBay store online. By getting involved this festive season, shoppers can help reduce waste, save money and raise funds that could save lives.
Follow Lynne’s simple tips here:
Make 1 – Marbled Crockery:
- Source some secondhand crockery from the BHF. There is usually a fantastic selection, and I like to use any plain white china plates or cups that I can find, as the marbling shows up best on them.
- Clean the cups and plates.
- Select at least three colours of nail varnish but make sure it’s not the fast-drying variety.
- Get a large basin or bowl of lukewarm water and drip the nail varnish on to the surface of the water. Using a stirrer, mix the nail varnish colours together to create a marbling effect.
- Very quickly dip the crockery in and out of the water so that the marbled nail varnish sticks to it. Leave it to dry without touching or smudging the nail varnish.
- Use the plates to display your Christmas Treats.
Make 2 – Vintage Glassware Planters:
- Select some glass bowls from the selection available at your local BHF store or its eBay store; the more ornate, the better, the cut glass ones always look fabulous.
- Layer the base of the bowls with some activated charcoal; this absorbs excess water and stops root rot. Next, add a layer of gravel to provide a drainage space. Then fill the bowl with succulent compost.
- Arrange your succulents in the bowl, trying to put the tallest in the centre and work to the edge of the bowl with the smaller ones. I like to spray the roots with water as I plant them too.
- Once you are happy with your arrangement, sprinkle some fine fish tank gravel around the plants and give the display a spray of water.
- Place your display on a hall table to welcome your guests over the festive period or pop it on the centre of your Christmas table.
Make 3: Picture Frame Christmas Card Noticeboard:
- Find an old picture frame from the BHF – either online or in-store – and if the glass is still in the frame, carefully remove it. I found a pile of old frames that had no glass at my local BHF home store, which were perfect.
- Clean the frame and choose which colour you want to paint it. I wanted to create a vintage feel to my frame but pick a colour that would stand out from my wall. I chose Annie Sloan Old White as the base layer paint, and then I painted a layer of Aubusson Blue on top of that.
- Once both layers of paint are completely dry then take some sandpaper to the edges of the frame, revealing the white base layer of paint, to give it an aged vintage feel.
- The frame then needs to be waxed to seal the paint and protect it. I like to use a paintbrush to brush the wax onto the paint and then an old cotton cloth to buff the wax to give it a bit of shine.
- Next, we need to take a staple gun and staple the string onto the back of the frame making sure to keep it very tight so that when we attach the cards or notes, the string does not sag. Lastly, attach some pegs to the string; these will hold your cards or notes in place.
- The gift receiver can then hang it on their wall or rest on top of a desk, to create the perfect place to display their Christmas cards this year. When Christmas is over the frame can be used as a stylish display for photographs or letters all year round.
BHF shops stock an array of pre-loved vintage style dinner sets, one of a kind ornaments and antique homewares, as well as items that have the potential to be upcycled. With 120,000 items sold each year, the BHF’s eBay store is the perfect place to find high-value treasures, sought-after collectables to make truly unique gifts.
The Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on the BHF’s income, cutting its research funding in half and putting future life-saving discoveries at risk. The charity is urgently appealing for support this Christmas and hopes the Charity Shop Challenge will help raise vital funds at a time when hearts need help more than ever.
To get involved in the BHF’s Charity Shop Challenge, visit your local shop if it is not temporarily closed due to lockdown restrictions or browse the BHF’s eBay shop for unique and affordable gifts. You can also share your finds and upcycled gifts on social media using the hashtag #BoughtAtBHF.
To view Lynne Lambourne’s upcycling videos, please visit bhf.org.uk/shopchristmas.
For more lifestyle articles and ideas for Christmas gifts, click here.