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12 Simple Homemade Christmas Tree Decorations and Ornaments

Frugal Parenting (featured column)
Submitted by Rachel Keller 

This time of year most stores glisten with a plethora of Christmas decorations, lights, and ornaments. Before spending a bundle on Christmas ornaments, try making some of your own.

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Aluminum Pie Tin Ornaments

This ornament is so simple to make. Recycle your old Christmas cards and those little tins that snack pies or meat pies come in. Cut out circular pictures from old Christmas cards and glue them into the tins. If you wish, you could glue lace around the edge. Punch a hole in the top and tie a string through the hole.

Christmas Card Ornaments

Some Christmas cards make great ornaments. Cut out the design. Add lace or glitter if desired. Punch a hole in top and attach to tree with yarn, string, or dental floss.

Christmas Card Chain Ornament

Recycle old cards by cutting into strips and making into a chain to decorate your tree. For more ideas on how to recycle Christmas cards, read 15 Creative Ways to Recycle Christmas Cards.

Creative Garland Ideas

Popcorn, pretzels, round cereal pieces, construction paper rings, or other such items make unique garland. Children will enjoy making and stringing on the tree.

Christmas Package Ornaments

Cut out small squares from cardboard. Glue Christmas gift wrap around it and tie with a bow. You can also use small pieces of styrofoam to make three-dimensional gifts. These make cute decorations!

Plastic Lid Ornaments

Save thin, solid colored plastic lids. Use a thin permanent marker to trace cookie cutters or other shapes onto the plastic lids. Cut out the shapes, and punch a hole in the top with a hole punch shape. Tie a loop with ribbon or string.

Painted or Glitter Ball Ornaments

Purchase some inexpensive clear plastic ornaments that open. Squirt some glue in the inside and sprinkle with glitter. Allow to dry and put back together. You can also paint the inside with paint markers or small tubes.

Clothespin Ornaments

Glue small decorative items on a clothespin with a glue gun. You can also make cute birds or animals with pom poms to glue on the pins. Clip the finished product on the tree.

Small Tin Can Ornaments

Glue old Christmas cards to the inside of a tuna, sardine, or other similar can. One of our sardine can ornaments contains a miniature nativity scene including small plastic figures for Mary, Joseph, and the baby Christ child.

Tin Can Lid Ornaments

If you have a can opener that removes lids without sharp edges, save the lids for ornaments. You can also use old canning jar lids and juice can lids. Read Creative Ways to Recycle Juice Can Lids. Using an awl or other pointed tool, such as a nail and hammer, punch a hole design. (Place an old phone book, newspapers or several cardboard pieces under the piece you're making so as not to ruin the surface your working on.) Glue a decorative trim around the edges and hang with ribbon, yarn, or dental floss.

Cookie Cutter Ornaments

Tie string or yarn through cookie cutters to hang on your tree. You can also use the cookie cutters to trace patterns on construction paper or cardboard with Christmas paper or aluminum foil wrapped around it. If desired, decorate these with glitter or other small items.

And for another Christmas ornament made with aluminum foil, read about our Stained Glass Ornaments.

Baked Dough Ornaments

Use your cookie cutters to make homemade ornaments. The following recipe makes 30 small inedible ornaments to hang on your tree or give as gifts. After making this recipe, try Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments for a wonderful ornament that smells like Cinnamon!

4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water (or more as needed)

Mix the flour and the salt. Make a hole in the center of the mixture and pour in the water. Mix thoroughly, adding more water if necessary (dough should be smooth, not crumbly nor sticky). Form into balls and store in plastic bags to prevent drying out.

On a surface covered with waxed paper, roll out one ball at a time to a half-inch thickness. Cut out the shapes. (We used cookie cutters.) You can reuse the scraps by kneading and rolling back into balls. Use a toothpick or straw to make a hole in the top of each ornament. (You can use copper wire or ribbon to hang your ornament.)

Bake the ornaments at 350 F for 45 minutes to 90 minutes or until pin inserted in dough comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool.

Use a small brush to paint details. (We even used markers to color the ornaments.) Allow the paint to dry and brush on two or three coats of polyurethane or varnish for a protective finish.

These are just a few ideas to help you personalize your tree while creating wonderful Christmas traditions and memories.

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Copyright © 2007 by Rachel Keller. All rights reserved.

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