Making Ugly Christmas Sweaters

Updated on December 30, 2017

Peppermint Swag

My candy cane inspiration
My candy cane inspiration

Deciding On A Sweater Theme

I found that the most difficult part of making an ugly Christmas sweater was knowing where to begin. As I sat there staring at my blank sweater canvas, I had no idea what to do, how to start, or what craft supplies to buy. I was beginning to doubt my decision to host this year's office party; and for approximately ten minutes, I just sat at my kitchen table and fidgeted with my craft supplies. Then it hit me as soon as I saw a candy cane. My sweater would be a red and white peppermint theme. Once I had decided on the a theme for the sweater, everything else fell into place.

Little Hot Glue and Imagination

Choosing the Sweater

A couple of my main concerns for my sweater were durability and function. It also needs to be comfortable. For this year's Christmas party, I chose an old, wornout, cotton, Gap sweater, which I had for a decade or more. I chose the all cotton sweater for a variety of reasons:

  1. Cotton is very breathable, light weight, and comfortable. Wools can become very warm, when running around greeting guests.
  2. I wanted to use a hot glue gun, because it was all I have to use. Cotton works well when adhering trinkets, glitter, glue, felt, etc., with the hot glue gun application process.
  3. The hot glue will not burn the cotton fibers. Hot glue can melt or burn man made fibers such as Rayon, Nylon, Polyester, etc., and wool tends to shrink when glue is applied to it.
  4. Cotton is very strong. It can easily handle objects that are slightly heavier (top heavy) such as a pine cone, Christmas ornament, bell, etc.
  5. The color will not fade or bleed, when the glue is applied to the fiber.

My Husband's Ugly Christmas Sweater Vest

Cotton sweater vest with Christmas ornaments hot glued on.
Cotton sweater vest with Christmas ornaments hot glued on.
The elf hat is a felt Christmas tree ornament hot glued to an old cotton sweater vest.
The elf hat is a felt Christmas tree ornament hot glued to an old cotton sweater vest.

Upcycle Old Christmas Decor

I sometimes go overboard when an idea gets in my head, and it ends up costing me a fortune. This time I stuck to my guns, and bought very little craft supplies for this sweater project. I set my supplies budget at $10 dollars per sweater. Setting a dollar amount helped me to stay focus to the task, and more importantly, it forced me to recycle. After rummaging through a few Christmas boxes, I had a gold mine of reusuable Christmas supplies. I spent a total of $4.39 for both sweater projects.

I plundered anything I could possibly see as having a function. Some of my best items came from an old 1990s Christmas wreath. I was able to harvest all kinds of ribbon, floral Christmas picks, a stem of red and white Christmas balls, silver bells, a felt stocking, and satin bows. For my two sweater projects I pillaged wrapping paper ribbon, gift bows, gold gift tag ribbon, felt, green window/door garland, and snowflakes from an old snowglobe kit.

Do you like the ugly Christmas party theme?

See results

A Fabulous Office Party Theme

December 20th is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day in the USA. It also happens to be the date chosen for my office/work Christmas party, which is hosted by my husband and I, later on that evening. Nevertheless, since the date coincided with the national event, we thought it only fitting to stick with the holiday theme.

Tool Supplies

  • 5 sticks Hot Glue, Long
  • 1 Wire cutter, medium guage wire
  • 1 Hot Glue Gun
  • 1 pair Scissors, Fabric
  • 1 Drop cloth/Sheet, Cotton

How to Start Making An Ugly Holiday Sweater

I start decorating my home Thanksgiving day weekend, for Christmas season. I finally hung the last bow two Saturday mornings later, round 10:00am. Knowing I had this party coming up, still did not make me thrilled over the fact, I needed to start another craft project. Nevertheless, I sat down at my kitchen table and began hot gluing different holiday things on my sweater.

  • I did not have a well thought out plan.
  • I did go online and Googled ugly christmas sweaters but, the ones I saw were really over the top. I did not have any luck online. The projects I saw online, cost to much money for my set budget, and required to much energy and time. If you have more time, a higher budget, and more energy there are a lot of good ideas to try. Like next year, I am planning on adding red lights, to my sweater.
  • I did not have a picture to go off of or trace onto my off white sweater.
  • I organized all my items according to color and style e.g. all red items together, all candy cane items together, all snowflakes were put in a separate pile.
  • I then put all the ribbons and bows into a pile of their own.
  • The few Christmas tree ornaments I used were separated by style or color.
  • I kept trash can handy to dump discarded pieces into or cut over, to insure an easy clean up afterwards.

The Finished Looks

My Peppermint Swag
My Peppermint Swag
Micahael's Mooseville
Micahael's Mooseville

DIY Video

Tips for A Sweater Project

Fabric glues take a really long time to set. Use a hot glue gun.

Glitter gets messy. You are more likely to be wearing it in your hair and on your face, by the end of the evening.

Get parts for your project by recycling Christmas stuff off an old wreath.

How to Make A DIY Light Up Sweater

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Julie Grimes


    Submit a Comment
    • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie Grimes 

      5 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

      Thanks! Merry Christmas

    • manatita44 profile image


      5 years ago from london

      Great creative spirit. Not ugly at all. I like it. Merry Christmas!!

    • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie Grimes 

      5 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

      So the party is tonight. I will take lots of pics.

    • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie Grimes 

      5 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

      Ah go for it! I'd bet you'd have a blast. Pick a sweater or shirt that you never wear anymore. This way you can get a least a little use out of it. Thanks for reading my hub.

      Believe it or not but I had two people at work actually like this ugly thing. Go figure!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Well, well, well! My husband keeps saying this year that he thought it would be fun to host an ugly xmas sweater party. We do have an annual holiday party, but by the time he was saying this, it was far too near the party time to advise the guests of such a change in "dress code."

      Actually, he and I are on opposite sides of the issue; I'm all about practicality and budget, and see no point in either buying or creating a sweater designed to be "ugly," that I would hate and wear only one day a year. He thinks it would be fun. Maybe I've turned into grumpy old "Lucy" from the Charlie Brown comics, I don't know. It just isn't my thing.

      Voted up, funny and interesting.

    • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie Grimes 

      5 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

      The best thing I did was to tear up that old wreath. I tell ya, it was so worth it. Thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment. Happy holidays.

    • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie Grimes 

      5 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

      I am glad you stopped by and commented. Happy holidays

    • Hugo Furst profile image

      Hugo Furst 

      5 years ago from Australia

      That's adorkable, though! Thanks for sharing, pal :) Voted up!

    • oldiesmusic profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      Well it's once in a year all right. So it's time to wear a bit crazy and fun outfit. Nice ideas... I love the little beads. :)

    • IntimatEvolution profile imageAUTHOR

      Julie Grimes 

      5 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

      Thanks for commenting! I appreciate the wonderful feedback.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 

      5 years ago

      LOL so tacky it's adorable. I love the ugly Christmas sweaters-- goofy as they are, they're so festive. I enjoyed this article. I have to think about having an ugly sweater party one year. Nice hub!

    • poetryman6969 profile image


      5 years ago

      Yeah. It's ugly alright!


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