Now that the colder months are getting ready to roll in, many of us like to decorate our homes to make them warmer, cosier and generally nicer places to snuggle up in the winter months. This can go a long way to making us feel if not more positive about autumn and winter, then at least less miserable about the weather and long, dark nights. There’s plenty of seasonal decor available in the shops and making your own can be fun (and a great way to keep children occupied when they’re stuck indoors), but regardless of whether you buy or DIY, make sure to stay safe and avoid accidents, damage and insurance claims. Here are some tips to help.
Anything sold in a retail outlet should be guaranteed safe – but only for its intended purpose!
This is a hugely important point to remember when making seasonal decor. For example, while it may be perfectly possible to glue together photo frames so they look like a traditional lantern, the keyword here is “look like”. Photo frames are not intended to offer fire protection, so they are not necessarily a safe choice for use with real candles. Keep them for pure decor and use LED candles. Even when you are using an item for its intended purpose, be aware that there may be safety considerations (which will probably be stated on the packaging, so always check it). For example, shiny, metallic-looking decorations such as tinsel can be hugely flammable so be very careful where you put them.
If you make your own candles, make sure you choose appropriate containers
Making homemade candles can be easy and fun, but remember to put them in safe containers. Real candles are essentially miniature fires so they need to be put into properly fire-proof containers. This means containers which will not only resist the heat of the flame but also stay at least reasonably cool to the touch while the candle is burning. They should also be stable enough to stay in one place (and should still never be left unattended). A lot of crafters like to pour candles into old cups and mugs, which can often be perfectly fine, but be careful if they’re cracked or chipped as they may not have the strength you need. Basically, remember that there’s a difference between something looking cute on social media and something being safe in real life.
Any decorations young children and pets can reach will be treated as food
Young children and pets put everything in their mouths and it can kill them. Even if it doesn’t it can mean traumatic visits to the hospital or vet’s surgery and in the case of the latter nasty bills, unless, of course, you have pet insurance in which case you’ll just have to find the excess. On a similar note, make sure you are very careful about tidying up after your crafting, especially if you are using small pieces such as beads, which are easy to overlook and equally easy for a young child or pet to swallow.
Only craft on furniture intended for that kind of activity
Even if a craft doesn’t require a great number of tools or physical strength, there is a good chance that you will find yourself leaning in onto the surface and putting it under physical pressure. Craft tables are designed to be strong enough to handle this, other types of furniture may not be, even if they look like they should. In particular, be very careful about using folding tables for anything but drawing or painting. They can literally fold into themselves if put under too much pressure and they’ll take your crafts, equipment and possibly body weight with them!
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