Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
So, for the last eight Christmases, our little family has lived in Arizona. We had a beautiful home, but the space was tight. We didn’t even have room for a full Christmas tree. Instead, we were using small fake potted trees intended for decoration outside your front door or on either side of your fireplace. As these little trees were so close to the ground, you can imagine (I’m sure) that they were undecorated frequently throughout the Christmas season.
Being that we had a very small child the last three years of our stay and were moving with a newborn during the last Christmas, making our own decorations simply wasn’t a priority. They would have all been destroyed anyway. But this year, we have a one-year-old and a four-year-old. My oldest is just crazy about crafts! You should check out all of our Halloween and Thanksgiving craft articles for an idea.
Decking the Halls With Homemade Decorations
So this year, we are finally getting a real tree and a big one at that. Unfortunately, when we moved, we left behind all non-essentials, including all of the Christmas decorations that we didn’t have a use for. This means in our new house this year, we have hardly anything to decorate with for Christmas. That’s great for you, though, because you’ll get to see how I deck the halls of our new home with thrift store finds and wonderful homemade ornaments and Christmas decorations.
As I'm writing this, we are going to cut our own Christmas tree this weekend, so we’ll need some beautiful ornaments and streamers to decorate it. First, we’re going to hit the ornaments hard so they can be drying, then we’ll figure out what comes next.
15 DIY Ornament Ideas
Let’s look at some of the ornaments we’ve been creating:
- Dried Oranges
- Wrapping Paper Ornaments
- Mason Jar Ring Ornaments
- Paper Ball Ornaments
- Doily Snowflakes
- Homemade Gourd Ornaments
- Toilet Paper Roll Trees
- Popsicle Stick Trees
- Icosahedron Snowflake
- Homemade Scrabble Word Ornaments
- Snowy Pinecones
- Twig Trees
- Handprint Snowmen Ornaments
- Log Cut-Out Ornaments
- Q-Tip Snowflakes
1. Dried Oranges
Obviously this one will need a bit of help from parents, but the overall look is amazing. These take a bit of time as the oranges will need time to dry, but the scent these beautiful ornaments will give your home is totally worth it! I just happen to be madly in love with the orange of the ornaments as well.
- Hot glue
- Scrapbook paper
- Twine or string
- Dehydrator (or oven)
- Start by slicing your oranges into 1/8inch or so slices. I just sliced them as thin as possible with a sharp knife. It’s fine if your little one cuts them a little thicker with a butter knife, but be prepared for a juicy mess.
- Lay them out on your dehydrator and set to fruit.
- Leave until your oranges are dry and hard, but not brittle.
- In the meantime, cut stars out of scrapbook paper.
- When your oranges are ready, use your hot glue gun to glue the stars in matching positions on each side.
- Gently poke a hole through the flesh, but under the skin.
- Thread your piece of twine through and tie together.
2. Wrapping Paper Ornaments
These sweet babies are likely going to be the easiest Christmas craft on your list. With some wrapping paper, or leftover scrapbook paper and a glue stick, you have everything you need for some simple ornaments. These are sweet, easy and look precious on your tree.
- Wrapping paper
- Glue stick
- Cotton balls
- Simply cut out your desired shapes from scrapbook or wrapping paper, two of each, and glue them together with a glue stick.
- You could always add some personality and stuff a cotton ball or extra scrapbook paper pieces inside to give them some definition.
- Of course, you’ll want to poke a hole to thread some string through the top so they can hang from your tree. (A fork makes poking holes in these super easy.)
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3. Mason Jar Ring Ornaments
You know, I have so many mason jar rings piling up around the house in different places because of all of the canning that we do all year long. Pretty soon, you just have boxes of rings, hangers full of rings, and piles of rings pouring out of every nook and cranny. Last year I finally thought to put them to use by making Christmas ornaments for the whole family with them. I thought they turned out quite nice.
- Hot glue
- Mason jar rings
- Start by gluing one end of your ribbon onto the ring about 2 inches into your ribbon. You’ll use this end to make the bow at the end.
- Twist your ribbon through the ring and around it, covering the metal, and overlapping your ribbon each time. If you feel like the ribbon is slipping, it’s easy enough to add some more hot glue to hold it down.
- Keeping twisting until you get back to where you started.
- Cut the ribbon to match the other side. Tie the two ends together into a knot.
- Cut your string to tie around the ring and make a loop to hang on the tree.
4. Paper Ball Ornaments
We do something similar to this for the fall to make our pumpkins. This time we simply won’t tighten them down but will let them remain full and round. This is a little complicated to explain but is super easy to do once you understand. I’ll do my best to explain.
- Two beads
- Scrapbook paper
- Needle and thread
- Start by cutting your scrapbook paper into 1 inch strips, on the short side of your scrapbook paper. You’ll need about 10-12 strips.
- Tie a knot in the end of your thread and string your first bead with the needle, going through the knot you just tied to hold your bead in place.
- Stack all of your paper strips on top of each other and pierce all the way through them with your needle, from the colored side of the paper, at one end, about a half inch from the end.
- Then bend your paper over, with the color on the outside, and pierce all the way through your stack of paper again, this time from the white side, at the end.
- Finally, string the last bead onto the thread, and then tie another knot in the thread.
- This time, run your string through the knot in the thread and tie it together to form a loop. This is what you will hang it with onto your tree.
- Spread the paper strips out to make a ball and voila!
5. Doily Snowflakes
This one is fun to do, especially for little ones that like to get messy. I highly suggest grabbing a bunch of old doilies at a thrift store for this craft, and you’ll need lots of glue.
- Old Doilies
- Elmer’s Glue
- Wax paper
- Start by cutting fun shapes out of your old doilies. If you really look closely at them, certain shapes will already appear out of the patterns of knitting. Just follow those for the best results.
- Pour your glue out onto a plate.
- Lay your shapes, one at a time, into the glue and make sure they are well coated.
- Then lay each one out on your wax paper to dry, being sure that they are in the desired shape first. This will likely take 24 hours or so.
- When dry, string each with a piece of ribbon and tie the ribbon to make a loop.
6. Homemade Gourd Ornaments
You can get gourds from your local craft store in bulk, or if you are lucky, you can find them in your garden (with some careful planning), or along roadways and neighborhood walking trails. Your kids have a lot of room for creativity with this craft, and they come with a bonus. As the gourds dry, after being removed from the plant, the seeds inside them dry as well. They end up making a pleasant rattling sound. But be careful, because as they age, they can become pretty brittle. You’ll want to store them with care every year.
- Acrylic paint
- This activity is as simple as laying out the paints in a small dish and letting your children paint them.
- You can either hang them gently on something to let them dry or set them on a paper towel or in an egg carton to dry. (Your child can even walk around holding the stem blowing it if they prefer to keep it from smearing.
- When they are dry, string them with a ribbon to hang them, or press an ornament hook through the stem of each gourd.
7. Toilet Paper Roll Trees
My 4-year-old son loves to paint and glue, so he really enjoyed this craft. Honestly, he just loves crafts period, so he's been in holiday heaven these last few months. But he has been vigilant collecting toilet paper rolls for us, sometimes even unwinding the toilet paper to get them. I promise your kids will love this easy craft.
- Toilet paper rolls
- Green acrylic paint
- White paper
- Hot Glue
- Start by cutting your toilet paper rolls into different lengths for your tree. I only made three levels to keep the ornament from getting too big. The leftover pieces are probably the perfect height for your tree trunks.
- Paint your tree branch pieces with your green paint, leaving the tree trunks brown. Set aside to dry.
- In the meantime, cut stars out of your white paper and paint them yellow with your watercolors.
- When everything is dry, turn the tree pieces face down and hot glue them together, also gluing your twine loops onto the back of the top branch of each tree.
- When dry, turn them back over and glue on your button ornaments and your stars.
8. Popsicle Stick Trees
As beautiful as these turned out, they were a little hard to pull together, simply because they required me to cut the popsicle sticks. I was just trying to do it with my regular scissors. Maybe if I tried with my stronger kitchen scissors or some gardening shears it wouldn't have been so bad. Honestly, they were fun to make after the cutting was over with, and my son loved gluing them together and adding the ornaments and star.
- Popsicle sticks (4 per tree)
- Hot glue gun
- Strong scissors
- Beads for ornaments
- Honestly, I would start by painting your tree trunks brown. We painted four trees at a time.
- Then paint three popsicle sticks each into the desired color for your tree with the watercolors.
- Then cut your popsicle sticks into the different lengths for your tree. The first was the hardest. We had seven branches.
- Then I would space them out on the "tree trunk" before gluing them down so you know where you want them. Start at the very top and leave at least a half inch at the bottom.
- Glue each of them on using the hot glue gun. With a little training, even your kid can learn how to use one.
- We went back and repainted the branches with watercolors again to get them a bit darker and bolder.
- While they were drying, I traced four stars onto a piece of paper and painted them each yellow.
- Cut each of them out and glue them at the top of your trees.
- Then glue on your ornaments.
- Tie your string into loops and hot glue each one to the back of your trees, just behind the stars.
9. Icosahedron Snowflake
This one might seem a little complicated, but really is a great lesson in shapes for your little one. It really is just a whole bunch of circles glued together, but the shape is named for the triangles that make up its many sides. This one will definitely challenge your little one but will be fun.
- Christmas gift boxes
- Hot glue gun
- I would definitely use hot glue for this project, otherwise, it will get really frustrating waiting forever side to dry before continuing.
- Start by cutting 20 identical circles from your gift boxes. You’ll need perfect circles for this to work, so find something small around your house to trace.
- Fold the edges of each of your circles in three times to make a triangle. These will all need to be the same as well.
- Then begin your ornament by gluing two of the folded pieces of the circles together and making sure they match up just right.
- One at a time, glue your circle edges together making sure to start with a 10 circle chain for the middle of the ornament, and 5 circles for the top and bottom of the ornament. Check out this video for a demonstration.
- Attach all pieces together.
- Finally, poke a hole in the flap on one side to thread your string through.
- Tie your string together to form a loop.
10. Homemade Scrabble Word Ornaments
This one may take a thrift store run, but I’ll give you an easier alternative way to make them. We enjoyed turning this into an educational lesson trying to find the letters that made each Christmasy word. Everything can truly be a lesson if you can just be creative.
- Scrabble game with tiles and tile supports
- Hot glue
- Twine or string
- Popsicle sticks
- If you don’t have a game you would like to sacrifice for this project, you can easily go grab one at a thrift store for a buck or two. If it doesn’t have the bars to set your tiles on, you can just use popsicle sticks.
- I would start by creating each of your words with your Scrabble tiles.
- Then glue them onto your tile supports, or a popsicle stick, with the hot glue. This is the tricky part.
- An adult will need to cut the popsicle stick, or tile support, to the right length for the word you created.
- Finally, glue your string to the top of your word on each side. After it dries, you’ll want to see if each one is hanging right so the word can be seen, or if it needs to be glued again.
11. Snowy Pinecones
We just happen to have a plethora of pinecones in our area, so this one is easy! This one can be done in a few different ways. We tried it a few different times. Don’t be scared to make this one your own.
- White acrylic paint
- Elmer’s glue
- So, you can just paint your pinecones with white paint and let them dry.
- Another way would be to paint your pinecones in white paint and then roll them in glitter.
- The last way we tried was to add glue to the different layers of your pinecones and then roll them in glitter.
12. Twig Trees
I sure love this one. It was super easy to put together and yet turned out so precious. My son really enjoyed going out to gather the sticks and using them for a craft. He also really enjoys using the hot glue gun!
- Popsicle sticks
- Hot glue
- Star sequins
- Personally, I would start by hot gluing a loop of string to the top of your popsicle stick, because it will quickly get covered up.
- Break your twigs into smaller pieces for ease of use.
- Then pick the smallest little piece for the top.
- Glue one twig at a time all the way down, leaving an inch or so on the bottom for the trunk of your trees.
- Use scissors to cut your tree into the desired shape. This may require a strong parent and/or gardening shears to do.
- Finally, glue star sequins on the trees for the star at the top and ornaments.
- Feel free to get creative and use different items for ornaments, like buttons, pom poms, or round sequins.
13. Handprint Snowmen Ornaments
Aren’t these adorable?! I most certainly wouldn’t use your super nice, brand-new ornaments for this project. Instead, go grab some at the thrift store. Little ones have a tendency to need to try it out a few times first before they get it just right, and may even pop the first few by squeezing too hard. At least that’s what happens at our house.
- White acrylic paint
- Permanent markers in a variety of colors
- You’ll want to start by painting your little one’s hand with white paint.
- Then have them spread their fingers and grab the bottom of the ornament, being careful not to move their fingers once they are touching the ornament.
- Lift the ornament carefully out of their hand and set it upside down in the ornament container, or a drinking glass, to dry.
- When dry, add the snowman hats, scarves, and faces with permanent markers.
- Add a ribbon to hang it and you’ve got it!
14. Log Cut-Out Ornaments
These are going to take a bit more time. If you have someone handy around the house, have them cut up some fallen branches, or fireplace logs, into thin circles for you. That will make this craft a whole lot easier and cheaper. I would never ask you to go buy expensive supplies for my crafts. I really think that defeats the whole purpose. And then you also have something from your home on your tree.
- Log cut-outs
- Hot glue
- Cookie cutters
- 1 cup salt
- 2 cups of flour
- 3/4 cup of water
- I hope you found someone to cut some branches or logs for you! Ask them to also drill small holes in the top for your string as well.
- Now it’s time to make your salt dough. If you would like different colors, you can use a bit of food coloring, or make your own natural colors using fruit and veggies.
- In a large bowl, mix your flour and salt. Then add water until it forms a nice, soft dough. You’ll need to dump it out on the counter and knead it with your hands to combine it. This is a good time to add a little food coloring if you want it.
- Roll it out to about 1/4 inch, and either cut or press shapes into it with cookie cutters.
- Now you can either air dry your shapes overnight or dry them out in the oven at 350 degrees F. I would start with 30 minutes and use your judgment to know when they are done.
- When dry, glue your shapes onto your log cut-outs.
- Let dry and you’re done!
15. Q-Tip Snowflakes
I think these have to be my favorite so far! They are so simple to make and yet so bright and beautiful. Just make sure that you stock up on Q-tips! I’m really going to love having these on our Christmas tree.
- Q-tips (5 per snowflake)
- Glue stick
- Pipe cleaners
- Start by painting your cardstock in your chosen colors. I really liked blue because it made me think of the snow.
- Lay it aside for a few minutes to dry while you’re cutting your Q-tips into different lengths. I would cut each one about 2/3 down so you have short pieces and long pieces.
- When your card stock is dry, glue your q-tip pieces down into different snowflake patterns. You’re going to need to let these dry as well.
- When dry, cut around your Q-tip pieces to make a snowflake shape.
- Poke a hole into one side to thread your pipe cleaner through, twist both cut ends together, and go hang them on the tree.
I love that this has now become a holiday tradition for our family. We made crafts for Halloween, tons of crafts for the fall and Thanksgiving, and now we have hit craft season! It's really perfect timing for our family seeing as how we have little to no Christmas decorations for our new house.
By spending some quality time with my little ones and making all of our own homemade Christmas decorations, not only will they get to see all of their own creations all over the house each year, but they will get to be an integral part in decorating our home for the holidays. I really think this gets us all into the Christmas spirit.
Now for some Christmas cookies and other treats! I'm also craving a large mug of hot chocolate. I'll have to share our homemade recipe with you. We are big fans of it over here and have already made a few batches for some cold, snowy nights. We've definitely got lots more fun in store for our holiday celebration this month.
© 2018 Victoria Van Ness
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on December 05, 2018:
Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed them! We've had fun decorating our freshly cut tree this year, and my littlest has loved pulling the orange slices off of the tree and eating them. lol
Susan Ream from Michigan on December 05, 2018:
Our family does Christmas crafts every year. You've given me some ideas for this Christmas. Well done! Merry Christmas!!
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on November 29, 2018:
Thank you! They were all a lot of fun.
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 28, 2018:
This is a fantastic selection of Christmas crafts. I wish my 4 year old granddaughter lived closer. I would love to work with her on Christmas crafts. I love all your ideas. Great christmas article.
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on November 28, 2018:
:) I'm so glad you enjoyed them!
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on November 27, 2018:
There's some really good ideas there. I like the Scrabble word ornaments. They're very cute.
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on November 27, 2018:
lol I'm glad you're going to get such enjoyment out of these Eric!
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 27, 2018:
Wonderful. Such joy you bring to the craft table. We will look at this tonight and Gabe's pick. We will add some fun with power drills and add some screws and nails. He is a big 8 year old now. We will also do it on my work bench as that makes us more "macho" ;-) Glue guns hoorah!