Stop and think about the holiday decorations, ornaments, and keepsakes you love pulling out the most every year. They’re probably not the expensive Hallmark ornaments or beautifully frosted globes you picked up on sale that bring you the most joy. The decorations that mean the most are often the paper ornaments your children made at school, the tiny handmade snow globe your niece crafted when she was little, or the wreath ornament you made with your best friend after a long day at work.
We could all spend a fortune on holiday decor. But spending time with friends and family making handmade ornaments makes lasting memories you just don’t get with store-bought decor. These easy Christmas crafts can help relieve holiday stress and add some crafty fun to your routine.
DIY ornaments can also save money during the holidays. Most of the time, you can decorate using things you already have inside and outside your home. These easy DIY projects are inexpensive and fun to create, and they make lovely gifts.
Affordable DIY Christmas Ornaments
The debate rages on over real versus artificial Christmas trees, but these homemade ornaments will make it look spectacular either way.
1. Christmas List Photo Ornament
You can make a keepsake ornament from a child’s wish list to Santa. You just need some inexpensive craft wood plaques, Mod Podge, and acrylic paint. Start by painting the wooden plaques with festively colored paints. Decoupage some decorative paper to one side of the plaque. While that dries, have your child write out their Christmas list on a piece of paper slightly smaller than the plaque, and decoupage the list over the decorative paper. You can decoupage their picture on the other side or leave it blank. Screw a small hook in the top, and use some holiday ribbon to make a loop to hang it on the tree.
Get the full instructions on Positively Splendid.
2. Family Picture Glass Ornament
To make this keepsake glass ornament, start by cutting your family picture to a glass ornament’s width. Attach a length of fishing line to the back of the picture using double-sided tape. Gently roll the picture into a tube shape, remove the metal top from the ornament, and slide your picture inside, taking care to keep the fishing line hanging out of the ornament. Use a small stick-like object, such as a paintbrush or chopstick, to unroll the photograph so it’s flat inside the ball. Next, thread the fishing line through the holes in the ornament’s metal top and tie it securely. You can decorate the top of the ornament with ribbon or twine.
Get the full instructions on Fynes Designs.
3. Clothespin Snowflake Ornament
If you have at least eight wooden clothespins lying around, you can repurpose them into a beautiful holiday ornament.
Start by separating the clothespins from the spring. You can paint the wooden pieces white with spray paint or acrylic paint or leave them natural for a more rustic look. Next, use a hot glue gun to affix the clothespins’ flat sides together, creating one “spoke” of the snowflake. Once all the spokes have dried, glue four of the spokes together to form a cross. Once the glue has dried, glue the next layer of spokes to the first layer, adding a spoke between each existing spoke. Glue a length of ribbon to the last spoke for hanging.
Get the full instructions on The Best Ideas for Kids.
4. Cut Glass-Imprint Clay Ornaments
Do you love the old-fashioned look of cut glass designs? If so, these homemade Christmas ornaments are for you. All you need is some air-dry clay, holiday ribbon, cut glassware, and a few kitchen utensils to get started.
Roll out pieces of clay, then press them into the cut glass to make a pattern. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes, and use a pencil to poke a hole in the top of each ornament. Let the clay dry completely, which can take 24 to 48 hours. String a ribbon through the top so the ornament is ready for the tree.
Get the full instructions on Better Homes & Gardens.
5. Pingpong Ball Snowman Ornaments
If you have some pingpong balls bouncing around the house, you can round them up and turn them into cute snowmen for your holiday tree.
These snowman ornaments are easy to make with kids and require minimal supplies you probably already have on hand: pingpong balls, a hot glue gun, toothpicks, a thumbtack, paint, string, and felt.
Start by gluing two or three pingpong balls together, one on top of the other, to make a snowman. Cut a hat shape out of felt, and glue or sew the string to the top for a tree hanger. Next, glue the hat to the top of the snowman’s head. Use the paint to decorate the snowman’s face and body. Last, use the thumbtack to poke holes on each side of the snowman’s trunk. Cut or break toothpicks to create the look of the type of sticks you might use for the snowman’s arms. Insert the toothpicks into these holes and glue them in.
Get the full instructions on HGTV.
6. Cinnamon Stick Bundles
These easy rustic ornaments will make your house smell like the holidays.
Take a small bundle of cinnamon sticks, and tie them together with colorful bakers twine. You can add a bell, beads, or dried fruits to the top as accents. You can also dip the tips in glue and then loose glitter for some added sparkle.
7. Vintage Cars Toting Christmas Trees Ornament
These nostalgic ornaments are the perfect project for Hot Wheels-loving kids and vintage car lovers.
Gather several favorite vintage Hot Wheel cars, some bakers twine, and some bottlebrush Christmas trees. Using wire snips, remove the wooden base from the Christmas trees. Next, tie one Christmas tree on each car’s top, leaving a loop at the top large enough to hang it on the tree.
Get the full instructions on Eyeballs by Day, Crafts by Night.
8. Hardware Ornaments
You can make beautiful snowflakes for your holiday tree using hex nuts, a hot glue gun, spray paint, and glitter.
Arrange the hex nuts in a snowflake pattern, and glue them together with the hot glue gun. Once the glue is dry, spray-paint them, and then quickly dust them with the glitter. Thread a ribbon through one of the top hex nuts to hang it.
Get the full instructions on HGTV. The article also includes ideas for using a light switch cover to make a glittering picture frame, transforming small glass bulbs into sparkling ornaments, and making a rope ornament.
9. Mason Jar Band Ornaments
You can transform Mason jar bands into beautiful holiday wreath ornaments with just a few craft supplies. You can also use these wreaths to add a special touch to wrapped gifts.
To make the wreath, glue faux eucalyptus or boxwood leaves to the lid to cover all the metal. Decorate the wreaths by gluing small bells, pom-poms, or small dried fruits, like cranberries, to the leaves.
Get the full instructions on Better Homes & Gardens.
10. Recycled Little Golden Book Ornaments
Many people grew up reading Little Golden Book classics such as “The Night Before Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” or “Frosty the Snowman.” The vintage illustrations in these books are nostalgic and charming, harkening back to a simpler time that many of us are yearning for right now.
You can create beautiful ornaments using the illustrations out of old or reissued holiday books like these. While the original vintage editions are expensive on Amazon, you can often find them for a dollar or less at thrift stores, flea markets, or garage sales. And if you can’t find Little Golden Books, the craft works with any children’s book, though it looks best with vintage-looking illustrations.
To make these ornaments, lay a craft wood slice over an image from the book and trace a circle around it. Cut out the image, and then use Mod Podge to adhere it to the wood slice. Apply at least two coats, and once it’s fully dry, thread bakers twine through the hole in the wood slice. You can also cut out the text that goes with the illustration and use the Mod Podge to affix them to the back of the ornament.
Get the full instructions on Little Vintage Cottage.
11. 2020 Toilet Paper Ornament
If you’re looking for a humorous decoration to add to your tree, look no further than this toilet paper ornament commemorating the unforgettable TP shortage of 2020.
Cut some brown card stock to the width of a large wooden spool. Wrap the card stock loosely around the spool, and use double-sided tape to attach both ends. This tube is your miniature toilet paper roll. Next, use another piece of tape to attach white grosgrain ribbon to the toilet paper roll, and then start rolling up the ribbon. As you roll, add a piece of double-sided tape now and then to make it more secure.
When you get to the end, attach one more piece of tape to make sure it won’t unroll. Customize the end with “2020” using small number stickers or a fine-tipped permanent marker. Trim the ribbon edge with pinking shears to finish it off, and thread a holiday ribbon through the spool so it’s ready to hang.
Get the full instructions on Fireflies and Mud Pies.
12. Needle-Felted Christmas Cookie Cutter Ornaments
These Christmas cookie cutter ornaments are an excellent way for beginners to get into the art of needle felting, which is the process of turning loose wool, called wool roving, into a set shape or form. Although you need some specific craft supplies for this project, like felting needles and wool roving, they’re relatively inexpensive. You also need a few Christmas cookie cutters, a square piece of foam, and some embroidery thread.
To make the needle-felted ornaments, simply tear off a sizable piece of wool roving and stuff it into the cookie cutter. Note that as you felt, the wool roving will decrease in size. Place the cookie cutter on the foam square. Use the felting needle to poke the roving, going up and down with a quick, repetitive motion. Keep poking until the roving is very dense and matted down. If you need to make your ornament thicker, add more roving, and use the needle to felt it down to the existing shape.
Get the full instructions on NorthPole.com.
Or check out the instructions for making a felt monogram Christmas ornament with trendy ombre coloring on Better Homes & Gardens.
13. Salt Dough Ornaments
Making homemade salt dough ornaments is a fun project to do with kids because they get to help make both the dough and ornaments.
First, use your favorite recipe to make a batch of salt dough. Roll it out on parchment paper, and use cookie cutters to cut out your desired shapes. Use a straw to poke a hole at the top of each ornament so you can thread string, ribbon, or ornament hooks through it to hang it on the tree. Now, add texture to the ornaments using forks, steel wool, scissors, or anything else you have around the house. When your ornaments are textured, bake them at 300 degrees F for about an hour. When they’ve cooled completely, you can paint them with spray paint or acrylics. Once the paint is dry, add a thin layer of Mod Podge to preserve the salt dough ornament.
See examples and get a salt dough recipe on Wholefully.
14. Glitter Animal Ornaments
Does your child have lots of small plastic toy animals they no longer play with? If so, you can quickly transform them into beautiful holiday ornaments.
Start by spray-painting each animal on both sides. Festive spray-paint colors like gold, silver, or white are popular choices. Next, apply a layer of Mod Podge, and then quickly dust the animal with glitter. Once that coat is dry, you can apply another layer of Mod Podge to seal the glitter. Last, use the hot glue gun to attach a looped ribbon to the top, and it’s ready to hang.
Get the full instructions at Curbly.
15. Gumball Machine Ornaments
Add some fun and whimsy to your holiday tree this year with these gumball machine ornaments. The tiny details are what make them unique.
Pick up some clear plastic ball ornaments and fill them halfway with rainbow-colored candies. Cut a strip of construction paper, roll it into a tube, and glue it to the globe ornament with a hot glue gun. Use air-dry clay to make the tiny handle and silver adhesive vinyl to make the tiny opening and metallic frame around the handle. Last, thread some bakers twine through the loop at the top for hanging.
Get the full instructions on Aww Sam.
16. Painted Nuts Christmas Ornaments
Do you have a bag of assorted uncracked nuts in your kitchen? If so, you can turn them into Christmas tree decorations with some glue, acrylic paint, and ribbons. For example, you can transform hazelnuts and pecans into snowmen by gluing three of them together, paint almonds to look like Christmas trees, and turn walnuts into llamas using macaroni shells as ears.
Get the full instructions on Handmade Charlotte.
17. Glitter Pine Cone Ornaments
Turn small pine cones into beautiful Christmas ornaments with this simple craft anyone can do.
First, bake your pine cones in the oven at 200 degrees F to open them up a bit and drive out any bugs. Next, use a foam brush to apply Mod Podge to the pine cone’s tips, and then sprinkle liberally with glitter. Let the pine cone dry overnight, and then glue a piece of ribbon to the top or attach an ornament hook so it’s ready to hang.
Get the full instructions on The Spruce Crafts.
18. Wood Bead Wreaths
These Scandinavian-inspired wreaths will add a touch of minimalism to your holiday tree.
Start by cutting a length of craft wire long enough to hold nine wooden beads. Thread the beads, then bend the wire into a circle and twist the ends together to close the loop. Use some bakers twine to add a hanging loop. You can also embellish your bead wreath with a small bell or painted bead.
Get the full instructions on HGTV.
19. Tattoo Ornaments
You can make beautiful, vintage-looking ornaments using temporary floral tattoos. Simply apply the temporary tattoo to a white globe ornament, and let it dry. Then, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to seal it, and thread a ribbon through the top so it’s ready for the tree.
And there’s an impressive number of temporary tattoos on Amazon, so you don’t have to stick with a floral theme. You can make ornaments using anything you can imagine, including watercolor birds, watercolor cats, and butterflies.
Get the full instructions on The Crafted Life.
20. Edible Globes
If you have a sweet tooth, add some candy-filled globes to your tree this year. To make them, fill clear plastic ornaments with small candies or sweets. Good options include Skittles, holiday-themed M&M’s, or jelly beans.
You can also make a hot cocoa-themed ornament by filling a clear ornament with instant hot cocoa, crushed candy canes, and mini marshmallows. When someone’s ready to have a cup, they just dump the contents into a mug of hot water, and stir. They make adorable gifts for co-workers or neighbors.
Get the full instructions on Creme De La Crumb.
If you’d like your ornaments to be for decoration only, coat the inside of each ornament with a clear sealer, like Mod Podge. Let the varnish dry for 30 minutes, and then pour in some candy sprinkles. Shake the ornament until the sprinkles have completely coated the inside. Place the topper back on, and thread it with a ribbon to hang.
Get the full instructions on Gimme Some Oven.
21. Rustic Twig Ornaments
You need to be able to handle shears and a hot glue gun to create these twig ornaments, but that doesn’t mean this craft isn’t kid-friendly. Just let the kids take on twig collection and the wrapping and decorating part.
Start by collecting small twigs from your yard or a nearby park. Use gardening shears or clippers to trim them into smaller pieces, then shape them into a Christmas tree or star and glue them together with a hot glue gun. Once the glue has dried and the shape is stable, decorate the twig ornaments by wrapping them with yarn, holiday twine, pipe cleaners, or tissue paper. You can also add other textures and colors with pom-poms, beads, or miscellaneous items you find around the house.
Get the full instructions on HGTV.
DIY Christmas Decorations
This year, we’re all spending more time at home. So why not make it as festive as possible? Holiday decor doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, and these DIY craft ideas can help make your space cozy and welcoming for the winter season.
22. Holiday Picture Wall
You probably have thousands of digital photographs on your phone that you rarely look at. Instead of keeping these stored on your phone, print out your favorites on your home printer, online at a printing service like Shutterfly, or at a retailer like Walmart or CVS, and use them to decorate for the holidays.
One idea is to make a wall-size collage of photographs. Use wall-safe tape to hang photos on a wall, overlapping each picture to form a collage. You can frame your collage with wrapping paper or festive ribbons or use colorful holiday washi tape.
23. Candy Cane Wreath
You can make a festive and fun door wreath by arranging candy canes in a circle so all the hooks face the same direction. Hot-glue the hook of each candy cane to the back of the one next to it until all candy canes are affixed, forming a circle. Fill the hole in the middle by gluing peppermint candies to the candy canes, and use a ribbon to hang it on your door.
Get the instructions on Country Living.
24. Dried Fruit Garland
Dried citrus fruit always looks festive, especially when you string it up to make a beautiful garland to hang above a window. For this project, you can use oranges, lemons, limes, or a combination of all three.
Start by thinly slicing your fruit. If you have a food dehydrator, place the fruit on the drying trays and dry at the correct setting. If you’re drying the fruit in your oven, place the slices on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Dry the fruit in a 150-degree F oven for three to four hours, flipping the slices each hour. When finished, the fruit should be dry but still colorful and not shriveled. Once the fruit slices cool, string them into a garland using a needle and embroidery thread. The fruit slices also make beautiful Christmas ornaments.
Get the full instructions on A Beautiful Mess.
25. Gingerbread Barn
Many people make gingerbread houses during the holidays. However, you can add a rustic touch to your holiday decor by making a bright red gingerbread barn — complete with edible barnyard animals.
Making a gingerbread structure from scratch can be a time-consuming project, which is why it’s perfect for a cold winter day stuck indoors.
If you’re already set up for holiday baking, you’ll likely have most of the ingredients you need in your pantry. Some everyday baking staples you need to make a gingerbread barn include shortening, molasses, sugar, flour, light corn syrup, eggs, graham crackers, marshmallows, and lots of candies like jelly beans and edible glitter.
Find the full instructions, from baking the gingerbread to constructing the barn, on Taste of Home.
26. Not-Your-Childhood Paper Snowflakes
If you’re ready for snow, but Mother Nature isn’t cooperating yet, try making some paper snowflakes to decorate doors and windows. And these aren’t the cheesy printer paper snowflakes you made as a kid. Once you get the hang of the paper folding technique, you can make an endless array of unique snowflakes. And since all you need are paper and scissors, it’s an inexpensive way to decorate for the winter season.
Get the full instructions on Martha Stewart.
27. Painted Mason Jar Vases
There are so many ways to use the humble Mason jar in crafting projects. If you have some acrylic paint, clear sealer, and sandpaper on hand, you can make painted Mason jars to use as holiday vases.
Start by painting the outside of the Mason jar with the acrylic paint. Once the first coat is dry, apply a second coat. Let the jar dry completely overnight. When the paint is fully dry, distress the paint with the sandpaper by rubbing the glass gently until you’ve achieved the level of distress you want. You can even take an emery board and remove the paint off the Ball logo for an added touch.
You can fill these vases with holiday flowers or greenery or use them to make bouquets as a gift.
Get the full instructions on Mason Jar Crafts Love.
28. Scrabble Christmas Tree
If your family loves game night, then this DIY holiday craft is a perfect fit. What makes this project so charming is that it’s completely customizable. You’re making a Christmas tree out of Scrabble tiles, and you can spell out whatever you want. For example, you can spell out a line from a favorite holiday song, the names of everyone in your family, or even a religious verse or text your family finds meaningful.
Get the full instructions on Thistlewood Farms.
29. License Plate Christmas Tree
Many people have a stack of old license plates stashed away in their attic or garage. If this is you, dig them out and use them for Christmas decor. This project can be especially meaningful because the license plates represent all the places you’ve lived in the past.
Make the tree by nailing each license plate into the wall, starting with one plate for the top tier, two plates for the next tier, three plates on the third tier, and so on. Add some holiday whimsy with fairy lights and a creative topper, and you’re all set.
Get the full instructions on A Piece of Rainbow. The website offers a printable license plate star you can cut up and put on top of your tree.
30. DIY Advent Calendar
Advent calendars are wonderfully fun ways to count down the days until Christmas, and that’s true whether you’re 9 or 99.
One DIY idea is to use star-shaped paper mache boxes to make an Advent calendar garland. Once you’ve painted and numbered them, you can drape the garland over a mantle or around a tree and fill it with tiny gifts and surprises.
Get the full instructions on A Beautiful Mess.
Or if you’d like a less labor-intensive Advent calendar, make one using small holiday gift bags, like they did on A Subtle Revelry.
31. Lightbulb Garland
This lightbulb garland is the perfect way to display dried flowers from a wedding or other special occasion. You can also use dried lavender or other blooms you have on hand. Or you can simply fill the bulbs with colorful glitter to add sparkle to your tree or tabletop arrangement.
To make the garland, fill clear lightbulb ornaments with your dried flowers or glitter. Use bakers twine to tie each lightbulb to a fresh or faux pine garland. You can also turn filled lightbulbs into ornaments for your holiday tree.
See an example on Liz Bushong.
32. Spray-Painted Twig Tree
If you don’t have the room or funds for a large Christmas tree this year, make a mini-tree instead. Forage for a small branch that has several subbranches from your yard or a nearby park, and spray-paint them with a festive holiday color, such as gold, silver, or white. Arrange the twigs and branches in a vase, vintage glass jar, or bucket, depending on their size, and decorate it with small handmade ornaments.
See an example on Good Housekeeping.
This year, we all need some extra holiday cheer. And decorating your home for the winter holidays with homemade crafts is one way to do just that. With a few baubles, some Mason jars, and ribbon, you can transform your space and make lasting memories with your whole family.
Another benefit to making decorations and ornaments is that you save money during the holiday season. Homemade crafts are typically much less expensive to make than store-bought ornaments and decor. They’re also far more interesting and special, which means they can also make meaningful DIY gifts for family and friends.
If you’re really trying to save money, decorating with nature is free and can add a soothing tone to your home’s interior. Pomegranates, pine cones, pine boughs, and pears mixed with ornaments and garland can make an inexpensive yet beautiful centerpiece. You can also use extra tree trimmings from your local big-box store or Christmas tree lot to decorate a mantel or holiday table.