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Fill ornaments with sentimental reminders, such as a wedding invitation. Cut the paper into strips and wrap around a pen to curl. (Republican Eagle photo by Danielle Killey)

DIY: Ornaments

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DIY: Ornaments
Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

The snow is falling, holiday music is playing and presents are piling up under trees.

The holiday season is in full swing, so why not take the chance to keep the festivities going by making your own decorations?


Homemade ornaments can be used to celebrate creativity, important events and the season. It’s a fun and easy craft families can do while kids are home on break, individuals can spend free time on or those who just want to get into the holiday spirit can enjoy.

Make your own ornaments to fill gaps on your tree or to give as gifts to friends and family.

The easiest way to create your own ornament is to buy clear ones from most stores that sell ornaments or craft supplies, and fill with whatever you’d like. Both regular glass and plastic, less breakable clear ornaments are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Clear ornaments allow for lots of creativity. Simply take off the top and stuff with anything significant or special to you. Some ideas include wedding invitations cut into strips, photographs or beads.

Another option is to use a graduation tassel, with the string pulled through the top of the ornament and used as the hanger.

Here are some other homemade ornament ideas for the holiday season.

Painted ornaments


• Clear ornaments (any shape/size)

• Paint

• Paper towel

• Ornament package, empty egg carton or other container (to allow for drying)

Remove the top cap of the ornament. Pour in paint, either multiple colors or one.

Place a folded paper towel over the open hole on the ornament and swirl the paint around inside until you have a design you like.

Place the ornament upside down in the packing or empty egg carton to allow extra paint to drain and dry. Replace the top and hang.


•Don’t use too much paint — you just need enough to cover the glass on the inside.

•You can write with a permanent marker on the outside if desired — create a design or write a name, date or lyrics to a favorite holiday song.

Ribbon words


•Letter tiles or stickers

•Ribbon (one wider, one thin)


Simply choose a festive word, such as “merry,” “joy,” “celebrate” or “snow” and find the letter tiles or stickers tiles needed.

Fold over the top of wider ribbon to create a loop. Put the thin ribbon through and tie to create the hanger.

Glue or stick the letters to the front of the wide ribbon.


•Lay out your stickers or tiles on the ribbon before you cut to make sure it is the right size.

Button trees


•Four or five brown buttons, roughly the same size

•Assortment of green buttons, various sizes


•Star shaped button/bead

Cut a length of string. Loop through the holes in the first brown button, so the string is U-shaped. Stack the brown buttons the same way; this will be the trunk of the tree.

Add the green buttons, starting with the larger on the bottom and ending with the smaller on top. Add the star button or bead, if desired.

Tie the string to create the loop for hanging the ornament.


•Make sure to choose a string that is thin enough to get through all the button holes.

•Stack your green buttons ahead of time to make sure they roughly create the triangle shape of the tree.

Popsicle stick trees


•One large popsicle stick

•Four or five narrower sticks

•Green paint or makers

•Stickers, shaped confetti or other decorations for ornaments

•Yarn or ribbon


Color or paint the popsicle sticks green.

Cut or break the smaller sticks to create a triangle shape for the tree. Glue the smaller pieces on to the larger popsicle stick.

Glue or stick on decorations to represent ornaments.

Glue ribbon or yarn to the top back of the larger stick for hanging the ornament.


•You can space out the smaller sticks rather than stacking them all together and still create the tree shape.

Dough imprint ornaments


•1/2 cup cornstarch

•1 cup baking soda

•3/4 cup water

•Cookie sheet, lined with parchment paper

•Toothpick or skewer


•Item you want to imprint (ex. key from first house)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Mix the cornstarch and baking soda in a saucepan. Add water slowly, stirring as you pour. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it’s well combined. Let it cool.

Roll the dough into balls and press to flatten, or use rolling pin.

Firmly press in the item you want to imprint, such as a key from a first house, a paw print of a pet or other shape.

Use a toothpick or skewer to make a hole at the top of the ornament for hanging.

Bake the finished ornaments on the cookie sheet for a half-hour or until hardened.

Let cool and add the string or ribbon at the top. 


•Make sure to choose an imprint item that has a good outline and will make a solid print.

•You can use a permanent marker to write on the front or back to remind you what the shape is, such as the year, pet’s name or address.

Danielle Killey
Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.
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