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Our DIY Ornaments—Some VERY EASY Ideas and Some Pinterest Fails

I’ve started crafting. It’s could be part of a larger post titled “My Shocking Shift into the Parody of a Domestic Housewife” that I’ll write later, but for now, I’m very happy to report that my crafting blood has been ignited by a 4 and 6 year old. FINALLY, they are old enough to participate and enjoy it. The weekend craft sessions are truly living out a fantasy that I didn’t really know I had.

Emily Henderson Diy Ornaments Crafting

Now I want to be very clear, this is a hobby, I love the process far more than the result. I have decent taste, but lack skill and attention to detail, as you’ll see. I won’t be setting up a booth at an artisanal market anytime soon. I’m more doing this with the kids to have something that we can do together that we actually ALL enjoy (plus I get adorable mementos for trees or scrapbooks that will help memorialize this time together).

Sitting at that table together, creating garbage ornaments feels incredibly bonding. The energy is so happy, the creative freedom has no restrictions and there is ZERO pressure on the results.

I went on the Pinterest and found some ornaments that kids could make, some inspired from the mountain house, others just looked like fun.

Emily Henderson Diy Ornaments Roundup 1
Top Left to Right Clockwise: Design by My So Called Crafty Life | Design by 2 Bees In A Pod | Design by Handmade Charlotte | Design by Create Craft Love | Design by Love Create Celebrate | Design by Naptime Buttons

Then I popped over to Michaels early on a Saturday morning and trolled the aisles for inspiration. The first time, I brought Birdie with me, accompanied with a fantasy that we would get creatively inspired together, that she would be drawn to the same colors and finishes that I would. I was brought back to reality when she somehow found the only Frozen related everything in the store and then tantrumed when our “craft” wasn’t coloring in Elsa’s hair on an already drawn ornament. Shockingly she wasn’t impressed with my raw wood embroidery hoops that I envisioned as wreaths or my white buttons to make snowmen.

The next week, I did a solo mission that was wildly more productive. I hadn’t gone to a craft store in forever, to just look for me, in a leisurely way. Up and down every row I felt a rush of serotonin that screamed I’m back.

So here we are. Currently joining the ranks of domesticity by way of haphazard DIY ornaments that I’ll cherish likely for the rest of my life.

I’ll show you the ‘inspiration’ first and then ‘what we did’ – although it will be obvious.

Self-Portrait Dioramas


Emily Henderson Diy Ornaments 1
Design by My So Called Crafty Life

There really wasn’t much of an inspiration out there for this, but our preschool has them do self portraits all the time as art, so I figured why not have them do it on a little wooden person, instead. It turned out SO sweet, if not a little janky.

What We Made:

Diy Ornaments Lores 9

We used plastic jars (so they are cheap), mini bottle brush trees (that you can buy in bulk), cotton for snow and wooden bead letters for their initials. I did the bulk of the assembling but the kids chose the trees and colored in their faces and clothes. You might think they are creepy, with little charlie leaning almost dead-like against the side of the jar, but I will always remember the afternoon that we did this together and as I look at them on the tree, I feel very happy. (I used hot glue to secure the ribbon, its kinda messy but that’s okay).

Button Ornaments


Emily Henderson Diy Ornaments 3
Design by Naptime Buttons

There were a lot of inspiration on these and I liked the simplicity of just one material, stacked. I thought that the kids could do it…

What We Made:

Emily Henderson Diy Ornaments Side By Side 2

Emily Henderson Diy Ornaments Button

I literally made all of those because despite using a low heat glue gun they still hate getting burned by hot glue (boring) and inevitably you do get burned when using a glue gun. We had to buy a decent amount of bags of buttons from Michaels (here) to have enough that really stacked so this isn’t the most cost effective. But we all know that crafting with kids is rarely about saving money and more about creating something together. So much hot glue all over that top snowman, but again, I love the process and memory not the result.

Please note that I signed and dated mine making it clear that while it looked like a child crafted this masterpiece, it was indeed the “skills” of this mama, in 2019. That one has broken a couple times as its fell (the hat coing off the body) so I would stick to the stacked ones.

Embroidery Hoops/Wreaths:


Emily Henderson Diy Ornaments 2
Design by 2 Bees In A Pod

How sweet are these? I thought that they would be great for the mountain house, so Scandi and pretty. They currently live on this tree but when we go up for actual christmas we’ll bring them up.

What We Made:

Diy Ornaments Lores 2

I actually LOVE how these turned out. The kids found their initials and chose the tree, but I did all the hot glue-ing. I don’t think they’ll last for long with the cotton being so fragile, but I think I’ll just rip it off and replace it when it gets gross. Easy peasy. I did one for “mommy” and “daddy” to practice before we did the kids’ ones, and it turns out having a custom ornament that says “daddy” feels totally creepy for unknown reasons.

Shrinky Dinks


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Design by Handmade Charlotte

Sure, I thought it would be fun but I had no idea how much my kids would love shrinky dinks. Hours, HOURS of drawing on different occasions.

What We Made: 

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photo by veronica crawford

The biggest hit by far. At first, these turned out way too small to even be readable, but then I had them do larger ones that took up the whole page and once shrunk down were big enough for ornaments. 100% the most fun for them. Watching them curl up and then flatten out in the oven is always nerve-wracking and then so satisfying. We use colored sharpies or paint but please let me know if you can use other mediums to do this. We are ever-expanding our shrinky dink portfolio.

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One night, when they were out of town, I took some of my favorite drawings of theirs from this year and traced them to memorialize them as ornaments. They didn’t see the fun in that when I first proposed it, but once I showed them how a drawing could be a hard permanent ornament, they felt very special, like artists whose work was worth the effort.

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You really have to use one big page for each shrinky dink. We made so many the size of our hand which turned into tiny ornaments the size of my fingerprint. If you want a white background get the matte white paper, but if you want to color all of it then get clear. Google how to do it, but I set my oven for 340 degrees and do it for about 3 minutes until they flatten out. Darker colors go even darker so stay light if you want bright.

When the kids saw the above ornaments, they were sooooo happy.

Nordic Style Ornaments


Emily Henderson Diy Ornaments 4
Design by Create Craft Love

These wood circles are at every craft store and are incredibly cheap (or you can saw your own, obviously). The potential is certainly huge, but I kept it simple as this was our first one and just put their initials and the date on them. The letters were readymade and just used hot glue and ribbon.

What We Made:

Emily Henderson Diy Ornaments Side By Side 1

So easy. Not very impressive, but so pretty. Next time maybe I’ll do the date on the back or in something more intentional.

So here they all are…

Diy Ornaments

This is just a snapshot from my iPhone of all the ornament types we made together this year and they all make me (and us) so happy. If you go back and look at my living room holiday reveal here, you’ll absolutely see these on my more “personal” tree and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We are moving on to snowglobes next weekend and the kids are VERY excited.

We’d love to see yours so DM us on social (or tag #showemyourholiday) especially if you try any of these “ideas” that we can repost on stories.

I know ornaments can be a big tradition for some families, and I’d love to hear about yours in the comments… 🙂

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4 years ago

Fun! i’ve used colored pencils on shrinky dinks, you just need to sand it first to roughen up the surface- not a big deal!

Sarah D.
4 years ago

I love this post! It feels so authentic and what the holidays are supposed to be: tons of family time, diy art and a home that reflects the imperfection of a beautiful life well-lived. Thank you!

4 years ago

A tip – you can use any plastic labeled with a recycling #6 to make shrinky dinks! Often these are things like the containers cookies come in from the grocery store bakery. A good way to upcycle and save some money!

4 years ago
Reply to  Emma

– WOW. Awesome to know.

4 years ago
Reply to  Nat

really? such a good tip. thank you!

Paige Cassandra Flamm
4 years ago

Oh my gosh, these are all so adorable! I totally need to make some of these with my kids this season!


4 years ago

The saddest day for my husband was when my daughter stopped saying “lellow”.

4 years ago

LOVE crafting with kids! So much fun and you’re right, no pressure what-so-ever! I used to love to hang the kids’ homemade ornaments on the tree (they would be SO proud) I feel like if I did that now, it would just be odd (they’re 21 and 22) so I’ll postpone that idea for another time.

Susie Q.
4 years ago
Reply to  Lea

My sister-in-law saved her kids’ best ornaments and put them all on a wreath. It’s really cute!

4 years ago

Ah the hot glue gun. I have a love hate relationship with it. I hear if you hit the finished product with a hairdryer it will get rid of all of the little extra strings- maybe someone else can confirm? I may just have to try the embroidery hoop one!!

4 years ago

I could barely pay attention to your crafted ornaments, as I couldn’t get beyond that photo of your darling children with what appeared to be BOTH snacks AND paint over a white rug! You’re a far better mother than I…..

4 years ago
Reply to  Cindy

i’m lazy with discipline for sure. I try to say “yes” more than “no”. not saying that is the way to do it, but its the way I do it, apparently. 🙂

4 years ago

I’ve never commented but I feel you need this information in your crafty mama life.
The Christmas tree button craft my kids did in kindergarten. They used a pipe cleaner to poke through the button holes and create a loop on the top to hang on the tree. Does that make sense? The buttons need at least two button holes to make this work. And no glue gun! I’m sure you can google it and see an idea. Also they put a star bead on the top.

4 years ago

ha! that comment about the custom ornament labeled daddy feeling odd made me laugh!

I just bought a bulk amount of laser cut-out wood ornaments on ebay (they have doves, stars etc) and had my four year old daughter paint them with craft paint. I was thinking I may use them as gift tags on family and neighbor gifts/ cookie plates.

Patti dort
4 years ago

Oh i love all your crafty things and playing with your children. Everything looks so honey and comfortable. You all did a great job. … made me happy to see.

4 years ago

When I was growing up my town held an annual craft fair as a fundraiser. Grown ups would get all the supplies for ornaments and other different holiday-themed crafty things, set up on giant tables in the school cafeteria, and we’d buy tickets to trade in to do crafts. It was SO fun, and we’d all have tons of presents to give to aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. 25+ years later, my parents’ Christmas tree is still filled with assorted ornaments we made there!

4 years ago
Reply to  Erica

that sounds so wonderful, I want to do that, if it existed here, for sure. xx

Deb S
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily

Check around some local elementary schools. This is an annual event at my son’s school, but anyone can participate. They call it a “Make It, Take It” Craft Fair.

Amy | Delineate Your Dwelling
4 years ago

You are making my crafty heart sing, ha! Emily Henderson, AKA crafting mama – I just love it. And take stock in shrinky dink… your kiddos will that stuff for years and years to come! Mine are 7 and 8 and they still love it. ps – colored pencils also works really well on them.

4 years ago

About 10 years ago we made a TON of ornaments with our kids using this method.

So, so easy, and my kids loved it. I thought they’d last a season and next year we’d take them out and all the Glitter would be at the bottom of the glass ball. Surprisingly they have lasted 10 years and I just broke out the supplies last week when we had some young kids over, who also had a blast! They’re beautiful and since they’re so cheap and easy to make, you don’t cry when one gets broken! They’re homemade, but don’t look like cheesy homemade!! Just be careful if little fingers over the openings when shaking the Pledge and glitter around as some can be a little sharp. A folded up paper towel helps prevent any glitter explosions.

I love projects with my kids, even now that they’re all teenagers, sigh…how quickly that happens!

Judith Connell
4 years ago

As a lifelong crafting mother and grandmother, every single one of your ornaments is an improvement on the original designs. Sure, all of your design inspirations are lovely, cool and fun, it’s just that your versions speak not only to the heart of your family, they speak volumes to all of our hearts. Only glorious success.

4 years ago

Thank you for the inspiration to have the kids do crafts. I’m going to try the shrinky sheets.

4 years ago

This is great! My kids are now 14 and 12, and they still love to get out their ornaments they made when they were little. Some are from school, some we did together at home, and some are even just colored paper with pictures and Merry Christmas drawn on them, and I poked a hole and tied it up with ribbon. They like to see what their penmanship looked like when they were little. So you will love them one day, but I think down the road it will surprise you how much they will too. They’re all on my “special” Christmas tree, and then I have a “Fancy” tree for the blingy fancy ones I fall prey to, lol.

Elizabeth Bear
4 years ago

Emily I love your ornaments and so precious that your kids got involved with this project. Love seeing kid art and projects and how they interpret things. Thanks for sharing.

4 years ago

“creating garbage ornaments”….lol, they’re the best ones that will be treasured forever. Great post!

4 years ago

Emily I love this sweet personal post! Every bit made me smile. My eldest is four and loves to craft with me, but my little girl is 1.5 and too young still – I can’t wait til they’re both a good crafting age like your two! I’ve had so many DIY attempts with my son. Last year we foraged for pinecones and bits to make wreaths and attempted a succulent Christmas tree, he was three and it was much harder than I ever thought it would be! Often I realise that I’ve optimstically aimed a little too high for his age; but like you say – it’s the process that makes it so fun and memorable, not creating perfection. Never knew how to make shrinky dinks – going to add that to our list.

4 years ago

You melted my beart into a warm, gooey puddle of happiness.
Thank you for sharing such beautiful, memory making moments!
Gorgeous ?

4 years ago

Loved this post 🙂 Thank you for the awesome inspiration! You seem like a great Mom Emily. Merry Christmas!

4 years ago

One of the best crafts ever is to use air dry clay – roll out and use cookie cutters to make hanging decorations, make little jewellery dishes for the dressing table or little tealight holders. Once dry you can leave unpainted and white (very chic) or paint (use fire retardant paint for tealight holders!). When making decorations, I have even used stamps (the kind you make cards with) to imprint pattern, texture and lettering into the clay – the possibilities are endless! Fun for adults and kids alike

Susie Q.
4 years ago

I remember loving shrinky dinks as a kid. Another very popular 1970’s trend were salted bread dough ornaments. Those were so fun to paint. You cut them out with cookie cutters, bake them (they become rock hard) and then paint them.
The downside was that during the summer I guess a mouse in the attic found them and nibbled them–yuck. So if you do make some, store them with care!