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.
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).
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.
Make it: Modern Geometric Ornaments
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.
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.
Make it: Peace-Sign Christmas Ornaments
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.
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.
Brian Patrick Flynn
In three simple steps, turn your baby's first spoon into a sweet ornament you'll treasure forever.
Make it: Baby Spoon Christmas Ornament
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
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.
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.
Buttons, pendants and leftover scraps of electrical wire make up these super cool flower ornaments that are great for the older kids to create.
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.
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.
Make it: Button Family Tree Ornament
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.
Make this adorable Santa ornament with basic craft supplies and whole walnuts. This is the perfect project for your little crafter.
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.
Make it: Walnut Santa Ornament
Bring in the scents of the season with these aromatic baked ornaments that will have your home smelling delicious.
Make it: Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments
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.
Make it: Handprint Snowmen Ornament
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>
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 >>