14 Handmade Ornaments to Dress-Up the Christmas Tree

Get crafty this holiday season and make adorable ornaments that you’ll cherish for years to come.

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Growing up, decorating the tree with my parents was a special activity that I looked forward to every year. We would listen to Christmas music, place our ornaments on the tree and cover it with mounds of tinsel (my favorite part).

Royal Tennenbaum

Royal Tennenbaum

This beautiful tree with its gold and white decorations is the focal point of this holiday-ready living room.

Photo by: Red Arrow Industries

Red Arrow Industries

Each ornament had its own significance — whether they were handmade by my siblings and myself as kids, hand-painted by my parents or given to us as a gift. And now, I look forward to decorating my own tree with keepsake ornaments.

My advice as we bring in this joyous season — spend time with your kids and make those memories. Let them craft their own ornament to put on the tree. It could be a fun tradition to start while they're still little.

Looking for inspiration? Luckily, we have plenty of kid-friendly DIY ornament ideas to help get you started.

Modern + Two-Toned

A striking trio in gold and bright magenta, these ornaments add a punch of color and chic, modern style to the tree. Plus, they're made of wood so they're light-weight and not easily broken.

Modern Geometric Wood Ornaments

Modern Geometric Wood Ornaments

Use scrap wood peices to make modern wood ornaments this Christmas.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Victorian Silhouette

Add a dash of vintage flair with a beautiful traditional silhouette ornaments. Print our Christmas song paper template or make your own backdrop using festive scrapbook paper.

Silhouette Christmas Ornament

Silhouette Christmas Ornament

©Vicki Lynn Photography

Vicki Lynn Photography

Pom-Pom Peace Signs

It's the most peaceful time of the year. Make these easy pom-pom peace signs with a piece of cardboard and fuzzy pom-poms in the color of your choice.

Christmas Peace Sign Ornaments

Christmas Peace Sign Ornaments

Photo by: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare

Susan Teare, Susan Teare

Atlas Snowflake

Repurpose an old road map into a cool snowflake ornament that highlights a favorite travel spot. To make it, cut thick cardstock to size by tracing a snowflake silhouette with a pencil, then update it with a light mist of spray snow. Cut a map to size, then fold it accordion-style to add texture. Finish with a small, brass embellishment in the middle for a metallic touch.

Road-Map Snowflake

Road-Map Snowflake

Make It: Cut thick card stock to size by tracing a snowflake silhouette with a marker, then update it with a light mist of spray snow. For a splash of color, an old highway map was cut to size, then folded accordion-style to add texture. Lastly, small brass ornamentation was added for a metallic touch.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Baby Spoon

In three simple steps, turn your baby's first spoon into a sweet ornament you'll treasure forever.

CI-Jess-Abbott_Baby-spoon-made-into-Christmas-ornaments_h

CI-Jess-Abbott_Baby-spoon-made-into-Christmas-ornaments_h

Upcycled Light Bulbs

Don't throw away those old school, burned-out light bulbs. Turn them into a cute little cluster of ornaments with fun ribbon and metallic spray paint.

Old Light Bulbs Turned Into Christmas Tree Ornaments

Old Light Bulbs Turned Into Christmas Tree Ornaments

Reinvent old light bulbs as tree ornaments by spray-painting them with metallic paint, then grouping together in clusters with ribbon. Smaller light bulbs work best grouped in odd numbers, while larger light bulbs are best as single ornaments.

Colorful Confetti

There are so many cute and easy ways to dress-up a clear ornament. Have the kids fill clear ornaments with multicolored paper confetti as a simple project they can tackle themselves. Another option? Try tinsel.

Confetti Ornaments

Confetti Ornaments

A fun DIY project for the kids, these confetti ornaments are a party for your tree. Use store bought confetti or have the kids punch some out with a hole punch. Carefully fill each glass ornament with the confetti pieces. Add in a few metallic stars for an extra holiday sparkle.

Flower Power

Buttons, pendants and leftover scraps of electrical wire make up these super cool flower ornaments that are great for the older kids to create.

Original-Wire-Flower-Ornaments_Christmas-Tree2_s3x4

Original-Wire-Flower-Ornaments_Christmas-Tree2_s3x4

©Susan Teare

Susan Teare

Make Flower-Shaped Christmas Ornaments

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Re-Wired Decor

This is the perfect craft for the teenager or pre-teen in your house. In just five easy steps, you’ll have an adorable flower ornament made from left-over home materials.

©Susan Teare

Tools and Materials

For this project, you will need scraps of bendable electrical wire, wire cutters, scissors, a hot glue gun, large buttons or pieces of old costume jewelry or belts (we used a silver and turquoise piece from a broken belt) and ribbon.

Cut Wire For Petals

Cut the electrical wire into 4" to 5” lengths.

Bend Petals

Bend the strands of wire into a u-shape and place around the center piece to make sure the flower petals are about the same size and that you have enough to go all the way around.

Start Glueing

Place one of the bent wire pieces on the back of the center of the flower, and glue it in place. Hold the piece down until the glue dries (sometimes the wire will pop off). Do that for each piece of wire until you have a complete circle of petals.

Add Plenty of Glue

After attaching each petal, add a little more glue on the top of the wire in the back to keep them from coming off.

Tie On Ribbon

Add a piece of ribbon and hang your beautiful new ornament from your Christmas tree.

Small Handprints

Create a lovely keepsake of your child's handprint using a homemade salt-dough recipe. String through a ribbon for hanging and write the name and age of your child with a permanent marker.

CI-Jess-Abbott_Christmas-ornament-salt-dough-hand-print_h

CI-Jess-Abbott_Christmas-ornament-salt-dough-hand-print_h

Cute as a Button

This one's a fun craft for the older kids. Stack together a variety of different-sized red and green buttons to form a family Christmas tree. Use a black or metallic permanent marker to write each family member's name.

CI-Jess-Abbott_Christmas-tree-ornament-made-from-buttons-step10_h

CI-Jess-Abbott_Christmas-tree-ornament-made-from-buttons-step10_h

Mini Terrariums

Simply take a clear glass or plastic ornament and fill with moss to create the look of a tiny terrarium. Add a mix of green and brown for a beautiful, natural aesthetic.

Photo by: Marc Kelly

Marc Kelly

Craft Nature-Inspired Ornaments

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Nature "Tree"

You don’t need an entire tree to spread holiday cheer in your home. A simple arrangement of faux or real branch clippings becomes an elegant and modern way to display nature-inspired ornaments. 

Step 1: Nature "Tree"

Hold the branches perpendicular to each other. Bind them by wrapping the cross section tightly with leather cord. 

Photo By: Marc Kelly

Step 2: Nature "Tree"

For a different look, feel free to use any sort of sturdy twine or yarn you’d like. Tie a knot the cord in a knot when the branches have been bound tightly.

Photo By: Marc Kelly

Step 3: Nature "Tree"

You’ll need two vases or decorative pails to act as stands for your branches. Fill them with stones or marbles to anchor the arrangements.

Step 4: Nature "Tree"

Simply fill clear glass or plastic ornaments with moss to create your own terrariums. These ornaments enhance the arrangement’s rustic tones.

Photo By: Marc Kelly

Step 5: Nature "Tree"

In order to really fill out this outdoorsy display, you’ll need some smaller air plants and thread.

Photo By: Marc Kelly

Step 6: Nature "Tree"

Tie each ornament and plant on to your main branch, spacing them a few inches apart.  Varying heights will add visual interest.

An Arrangement of Greens

Another way to repurpose clippings is to arrange them in a vase. Crisp ball ornaments give this centerpiece a modern, fresh look.

Book Tree

If you’re more of a bookworm, consider using washi tape to attached some pages to the wall. Start with the edges to make the shape of the tree and then fill in the rest.

Photo By: Marc Kelly

Book Tree

Two pine branches give the piece a wintery feel. Simply tie them together with decorative cording and use a pushpin holds it in place. 

Photo By: Marc Kelly

Jewelry Tree

There’s no need to buy ornaments when you’ve already got some sparkle at home. Small trees can be beautifully decorated with costume jewelry.

Photo By: Marc Kelly

Jewelry Tree

What a charming way to show off your bauble and bling collection. An eclectic alternative to a traditionally trimmed tree. 

Santa Claus

Make this adorable Santa ornament with basic craft supplies and whole walnuts. This is the perfect project for your little crafter.

Walnut Santa Ornament

Walnut Santa Ornament

Perfect for the littlest crafters, this easy project uses materials you probably already have on hand. You and the kiddos can turn a bag of walnuts into a whole tree-full of everyone's favorite elf in no time flat.

Sweet Cinnamon

Bring in the scents of the season with these aromatic baked ornaments that will have your home smelling delicious.

CI-Laurie-March_Scandanavian-Christmas-Cinnamon-ornaments-beauty_h

CI-Laurie-March_Scandanavian-Christmas-Cinnamon-ornaments-beauty_h

Fingerprint Snowmen

Yet another wonderful craft for your little one's hands. Use kid-safe washable paint and place their painted hand on a clear ornament to create five precious snowmen. Embellish with black and metallic permanent markers as the finishing touch.

CI-Jess-Abbott_Christmas-ornament-fingerprint-snowmen2_h

CI-Jess-Abbott_Christmas-ornament-fingerprint-snowmen2_h

More Easy Christmas Crafts

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Flower Power

Recycled electrical wire, costume jewelry and old buttons come together to make these colorful ornaments. They look great on a Christmas tree, put can be used anywhere and any time of the year. Simply bend strips of wire into petal shapes then hot glue them to the back of a button or piece of costume jewelry. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

©Susan Teare

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

Easy and inexpensive, these aromatic cinnamon ornaments smell great and lend a classic look to your holiday decor. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Photo Gift Tags

Kids always get a kick out of looking at old family photos. This year have them help you make gift tags from old pictures. They can pick out what photo to use, scan them, cut them out and tie the ribbon. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Giant Candies

This is a good project for older kids. Large wood discs are painted in red and white swirls then wrapped in big pieces of cellophane to look like massive mints. To make it easy for the kids, pencil the lines on the wood then have them paint in each section. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Beaded Necklace Turned Ornament

This is a great craft for an older Girl Scout troop or teenagers looking to make a nice gift. These ornaments are made from old costume-jewelry necklaces that were cut apart and restrung on dressmaker’s pins. The pins are then inserted into polystyrene balls and then hung with a pretty piece of ribbon. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare

Peace Out

Add some groovy vibes to your holidays by having the kids create pom-pom peace signs. These are so simple and fun for little kids to make. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare

Embellish a Plain Stocking

With the help of self-adhesive felt and a pair of craft scissors, a child can take store-bought stockings from plain to family heirloom. Have them add bells, polka dots, flowers or any shape they want. Find more stocking projects >>

Chalkboard Wall Ornaments

Have the kids help you make a holiday message center for quick notes or holiday wishes. Craft-store discs are painted to look like Christmas tree ornaments and then a coat of clear chalkboard paint is applied to make them writable. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Glitter Trees

These holiday decorations couldn't be easier to make. Styrofoam cones from the craft store are covered in glitter then a pretty snowflake ornament is added to the top. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Yarn Star

These Scandanavian ornaments are easy and inexpensive make, and a fun project to craft with the kids. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

©Marc Kelly

Fringe Trees

Here’s another project for bigger kids. Cut white linen or burlap fabric into strips. Pull out some strands of thread to make the strips fringed. Then simply wrap and glue the strips around the cone-shaped tree forms. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Far Out Frames

Have the kids glue ribbon, felt and old buttons onto picture frames. We used old frames from the thrift store, but you could use lightweight wood frames found at craft stores. Fill the frames with family photos from holidays gone by.

Photo By: Susan Teare

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