I decided to do an article on Victorian Christmas to celebrate the Holidays because I have always been fascinated and inspired by the old worlde charm of the Victorian Era. Picture the family sat around the Christmas tree in those long gone days of old; the roaring fireplace, roasted chestnuts, rich deep green boughs of holly, Christmas cards, glazed fruit and plum puddings, the Victorians where true pleasure seekers and lived life to the full!

To me, the Victorians practically invented Christmas, well ok that’s not exactly true, but they were responsible for introducing a lot of holiday traditions which are still practised and celebrated today.

Picture a typical Victorian Christmas in a family home and what would you hope to find?

First of all a Christmas tree is a necessity, every home had to have one! The bigger your tree; the richer you where!

Also Christmas cards a plenty; Victorians were responsible for starting the international popularity of exchanging Christmas cards.

Christmas crackers where another Victorian speciality, to hang on the tree, they would pull the cracker to reveal a little gift inside, which would usually be a small sewing set for Mother, a penknife for Father, a tin soldier or a handkerchief for the children.

Tree Cones to hang on the Christmas tree, these would most likely to be filled with dried fruits, boiled sweets, dried flowers or candy canes for the family to share.

Victorians also had very great love of scraps, they were passionate about them and both children and adults alike collected them. Those little sheets of brightly coloured paper scraps printed with pictures of flowers, children, animals, birds, Santa, Foliage, you name it they had it! Victorian’s would lovingly paste them inside scrapbooks or sometimes use them to glue onto furniture and varnish over them, which later became known as Victorian Decoupage.

I decided to take my inspiration for this article from Victorian style scraps and decoupage by creating collages using stamped Victorian style images and using lots of deep rich Victorian colours. Victorian colours are generally lovely deep shades! Lots of plums, mahoganies, forest greens, purples, gold, silver and cream! It just so happens they are my favourite colours too so I had a lot of fun creating these samples!

Creating Victorian Collages

First of all I started off by making Victorian style collages. So in order to prepare for that I hunted through my stamp collection looking for any Vintage style Christmas stamps I had. I had some Holly leaves. Cardinals, Pine boughs, Partridges and Candy Canes which where all perfect for this theme so I stamped these using black memories inkpads (Stewart Superior) onto cream and white cardstock.

Rubber Stamps Used:

Holly Sprig: Impression Obsession
Holly Leaves: Hero Arts
Poinsettia: Hero Arts
Partridge in a Pear Tree: Rubber Stampede
Cardinal: Personal Stamp Exchange
Christmas Stocking: Personal Stamp Exchange
Pine Bough: All Night Media
Small Holly Bough: Embossing Arts
Candy Cane: Susan Branch

Once the ink was dry I applied colours using water colour pencils by Derwent and a Waterbrush to shade. Once the pencils had dried I cut around some of the images using scissors. Other images I tore around leaving a slight border to create a rustic edge.

Next I hunted out my paper scrap box; I keep a box full of scrap papers and cardstocks what I use for collaging with. I’ve been collecting and throwing stuff in this box for years now, whenever I have offcuts of papers, printed papers, giftwrap or card from a project I toss them into the box for later use. I sorted out all the Victorian and Chrismassy looking scraps of card and papers; for my selection I chose lots of gold, green, red, burgundy and cream paper and card scraps.

Paper lace doilies where the next thing on my hit list! I have a collection of these I’ve been hoarding over the years as they are too pretty to use! You know how it is! They come in white, gold and silver and are all perfect for using on Victorian style cards and art. I used scissors to cut out interesting parts in the doilies themselves, for example lace flowers and borders to create detail in your art.

Next I stamped 3 different Christmas Greetings stamps on deep red, burgundy and forest pine cardstock using Galaxy Gold Brilliance Inkpad (Tusineko), blasted them with a heat gun to dry, then tore round the edges of the text for a rustic edge.

Rubber Stamps Used:
Merry Christmas: Personal Stamp Exchange
Small and Large Seasons Greetings: Comotion

Finally I used a large musical script stamp I have by Time to Stamp, and stamped up several images on cream cardstock using a black memories inkpad. Once the ink was dry I tore the musical script up into small pieces and set them to one side for later use.

Once I had done all that I was ready to begin creating my Victorian Collages!

All of my Victorian collages where created on large standard size burgundy cardstock (A4).

In all I created 6 x A4 sized collage sheets for all of the art you see in this article.

I used one collage sheet to created two fancy trims to attach around church candles for decoration. I also used 1 sheet to create 2 bands to go around 2 of the Christmas crackers. One and half sheets where used to create the base of the tea tray I made. I also created 2 tree cones from 1 collage sheet.

I had a lot of left over shapes so I used those to make into Christmas cards by cutting them into festive shapes by drawing round diecuts and cutting them out.

I used Modge Podge decoupage glue to affix the papers to the cardstock using a paintbrush to paint the glue on.

To begin with I concentrated on laying down small scraps all over the card sheet, at this point I didn’t use any of my stamped images nor any doilies. I used all the Xmas colour paper scraps I sorted out from my scrap box to build up a background of colour. Don’t worry about filling every square inch of space on the card stock as you want some of the burgundy base cardstock to still be visible.

Allow glue to dry thoroughly, overnight if possible.

Next I added interest to the collage by gluing on torn stamped musical script sections on the collage, and various stamped images and greetings. Plus small sections of doilies to jazz the collage up. I continued until I was happy with how the entire collage looked then set it aside to dry.

Once the collages are dry you are ready for the FUN part and use them in your art!

I hope you enjoy creating a Victorian style Christmas as much as I did!

Happy Holidays!