19 Rustic Christmas Decorations Made Inexpensively From Upcycled Items

Using nature and a little ingenuity, you can create holiday decorations for just pennies. Check out these projects made from vintage items and a few things pulled out of the recycle bin.
By: Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Joanne Palmisano

©Joanne Palmisano

Photo By: Susan Teare

Photo By: Susan Teare ©Susan Teare

©Susan Teare

©Susan Teare

Vintage Sugar and Creamer

Fill tarnished-silver servers with moss, berries, evergreens, pinecones and succulents to create a charming hostess gift or to use as a centerpiece. 

Grandma's Old Brooch

Upcycle old costume jewelry into sparkling tree ornaments. Add beads and ribbon to stiff jewelry wire to hang the pin or brooch. 

Christmas Sweater Turned Wreath

Have an old wool sweater you can’t part with? Then hang it on your front door. To make this wreath pouch, felt the sweater then cut the sleeves and neck off. Use embroidery thread to sew the bottom, sides and neckline together and prevent fraying. Then stuff the bottom with paper bags and add florals, evergreens, berries and pinecones. Find more wreath projects >>

Wood Shingles Turned Garland

Use wood siding to make holiday garland for the mantel. Paint designs on each shingle then seal it with polyurethane. If you're lucky, the siding pieces will still have nail holes in the top. Thread with wire to string the shingles together then adorn with greenery. 

Denim Stars

Cut old jeans into oversized stars. Sandwich a folded piece of ribbon in between two star shapes and then stitch a fun pattern across both pieces to hold them and the ribbon together. Add a vintage piece of jewelry – an old earring or brooch – for some extra bohemian flair.

Toy Truck Turned Tree Decoration

Making an ornament out of an old toy is child’s play. Use a hot-glue gun to secure a piece of sturdy ribbon to the truck then fill the truck’s bed with a pinecone or some greens. 

Fence Turned Door Hanger

A piece of picket fence was cleaned up then used as a canvas for some holiday art. A couple of upholstery nails and copper wire make a charming way to hang to this welcoming winter craft.

Faucet Snowflake Stampers

Go green and save money by wrapping gifts in brown paper bags. Use doilies or outdoor faucet handles as stencils to create snowflake patterns.  

Cereal Box Photo Tags

Print your favorite holiday and family photos then glue them onto the front side of a discarded cereal box or piece of cardboard. Cut the photo in a tag shape and then hole punch the top. Finish by threading a pretty ribbon through the hole. Use the tags for gifts, as place card holders at the dining table or hang them on the Christmas tree. 

Tree Stands Turned Vases

Old tree stands are plentiful at thrift stores and garage sales. Grab a trio and turn them in vase holders. We spray painted these white, added glassware then filled them with holiday flowers, evergreens and berries.

Picture of Nostalgia

Who would have thought an old frame and a repurposed ice skate would make such a perfect pair? 

Tin Can Planter and Place Card Holder

Dig into the recycle bin for this project. Wrap a tin can in ribbon and secure it using decoupage glue. Then fill the can with dirt and a succulent or holiday plant. Clip a photo or name tag to the can to use as a place card. When it’s time for your guests to go home, they can take the plant as a holiday favor.

Rustic Wood Coasters

Simple silhouettes on vintage wood is the perfect combination. Cut reclaimed wood into squares and sand them smooth. Decorate with holiday designs (use cookie cutters stencils) and then seal the paint with decoupage glue. When they’re dry, stick felt rounds to the bottom.

Birch Bark Christmas Wreath

Take inspiration from the beautiful outdoors this winter by crafting a holiday wreath from birch bark and pinecones. Find more wreath projects >>

Cranberries + Coffee Candles

Repurpose dessert and candy dishes as candleholders. Line the containers with pieces of birch bark. Then place a large candle in the middle of the container (make sure the wick is above or at level with the top of the containers). Then pour in dried cranberries or coffee beans.

Felted Sweater Topiaries

Old sweaters, some scraps of wood and a few crafting supplies was all it took to make this trio of lollipop trees. This project took just a couple hours to make and cost less than $15. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Upcycled Beads

Old necklaces were cut apart and the beads were reused to make these pearly ornaments. The beads were threaded onto straight pins and then the pins were inserted into Styrofoam balls. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Old Buttons and Electrical Wire Flowers

Not sure what to do with that leftover electrical wire in the basement? The solution is simple, make a holiday ornament. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Driftwood Star

Next time you walk along a shoreline, gather a pile of driftwood to make this rustic star. This easy, budget project only costs a few dollars to make — scrap plywood was used so the only expense was the hardware to hang up the star. Get the step-by-step instructions >>

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