15 Awesome DIY Christmas Tree Ornament Ideas

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15 Awesome DIY Christmas Tree Ornament Ideas
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Ideally, every Christmas tree should reflect your personal taste and creativity. That's sometimes difficult, because stores all sell more or less the same selection of ornaments and decorative pieces. One way to cut through the clutter of the "same old, same old" and have unique pieces to make the tree definitively your own, is to turn out some DIY tree ornaments. There are options out there for every skill level, so don't fret if you're craft-challenged. One of these carefully curated ornament ideas is sure to be just what you need.

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A cluster of four handmade glitter ornaments on a blue tablecloth, with a hand performing final assembly on the foremost ornament
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Handmade Glitter Ornaments

Glitter ornaments are appropriate on almost any tree, and they're surprisingly easy to make at home. You'll need to visit a craft store for a supply of clear tree decorations in plastic or glass, several colors of glitter and specialized adhesive to make the glitter stick to the ball's interior. This easy DIY gives you the option of building a completely customized color scheme for your tree, if you really want to push your decor to the limit.

Handmade ornaments of red and white striped fabric and a cinnamon stick, hanging on a Christmas tree
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DIY Cinnamon Scented Fabric Tree Ornaments

Tree ornaments in general are skewed heavily to hard and shiny surfaces, from traditional glass balls to plastic figurines to bells and angels in real or faux metals. Adding different textures to the mix is a quick way to make your tree stand out. One simple option, for those with even modest sewing skills, is to turn out a batch of these cinnamon-scented fabric tree ornaments. The textures and colors of your chosen fabric, and the organic look — and signature scent — of the cinnamon stick will all bring a pleasing contrast to your tree.

DIY ornament consisting of a small circular mirror surrounded in a sunburst pattern by gold-painted toothpicks, hanging from a white Christmas tree
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Miniature Sunburst Mirror Ornaments

A rustic, handmade appearance is often the whole idea of DIY ornaments, especially when you make them with the kids, but there's also room for handmade ornaments with a more polished appearance. That's what you get with these surprisingly elegant, sophisticated-looking mirrored sunburst ornaments. They're a scaled-down version of the striking sunburst mirrors you'll often see as a design element on a wall, and they're easier to make than you'd think. As long as you have a glue gun and a bit of patience, you're good to go.

Gingerbread-man cookie ornaments hanging from an evergreen wreath
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DIY Gingerbread Christmas Ornaments

Gingerbread cookies are a much-loved part of the holidays for a lot of families, with spices and molasses giving them a seasonally-appropriate fragrance and flavor. You may never have realized it, but you can use those cookies to make gingerbread Christmas tree ornaments as well. Just make a hole near the top of the cookie before it's baked, for the string or ribbon to go through. Most standard recipes will work fine for a cookie that will hang on the tree for a while before it's eaten. If you want heirloom decorations that will last for years, look up a recipe for "structural" gingerbread that's not intended to be eaten.

DIY decoration of a snowman with top hat and red scarf, hanging from a Christmas tree and illuminated from behind by one of its lights
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Make a Snowman Ornament Out of Glue

Glue is an essential component in many DIY crafts, but did you know it can be used as a crafting material in its own right? Ordinary white craft glue dries to a hard, translucent plastic-like substance, so you can use it as a sort of low-tech version of 3D printing for decorations like this kid-friendly glue snowman ornament. Just draw out your shape on wax paper, then fill it in with the liquid glue. Apply any necessary details or decorative elements while the glue is still wet, then just wait a day or two until it's fully set and dry.

Rings of pale wooden beads, suspended by gold-colored cord from a white Christmas tree, on a white background
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Wooden Bead Christmas Wreath

Most Christmas trees are all about over-the-top excess, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. When it comes to decorations and ornaments, more is usually better. That's not necessarily the case, though, if your personal style and the style of your home lean more to Scandinavian minimalism. If that's the case, try these miniature wreath ornaments made with simple wooden beads. The natural wood tone brings a simple, effective element to a fresh tree, but it's especially effective when paired with a white artificial tree.

White ball-style tree decorations hand-painted with blue decorative patterns in the style of Chinese porcelain
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DIY Chinoiserie Ornaments

Some words act as a sort of code for "expensive" and one of those is chinoiserie. Its literal meaning translates more or less as, "in the Chinese style," and for centuries it was reserved for the kind of upscale pieces that wealthy and aristocratic collectors would accumulate. When you're talking about Christmas tree ornaments, it means balls painted in the white-on-blue style of classic Chinese porcelain. Those are often costly to buy, but they're a surprisingly simple DIY project. At least some modest drawing skill is helpful, but mostly all you need is a steady hand.

Sand dollar hung with a pink ribbon from a Christmas tree
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Sand Dollars Make Beautiful, Natural Decorations

Some DIY ornaments don't require a whole lot of actual "doing." The simplest ones of all come down to finding something that's already decorative, and hanging it on your tree. If you live near the coast, sand dollars are exactly that kind of completely natural ornament. The disc-shaped sea creatures are simple to collect and easy to hang, since they come complete with a suitable hole for your ribbon or twine to pass through. Their distinctive pattern even has a rich history of religious symbolism, making them doubly appropriate.

Handmade decorations consisting of a store-bought glass ball with a personalized photo inside
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DIY Photo Ornaments

There are lots of ways to personalize your tree ornaments, but few are as intensely personal as family photos. Whether they're intended for gifting or for your own tree, photographic ornaments make a one-of-a-kind, custom element. They're surprisingly simple to make, too. All you need is clear glass or plastic decorations from the craft store, a pair of scissors, and some suitable photos. Cut your printed photo to fit the ornament, then roll it up and slide it into the globe-shaped ornament through the hole in its top.

Closeup of rolled-out dough, centered on a star shape made with a cookie cutter
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DIY Holiday Ornaments From Dough

Edible cookies make fine tree ornaments are aromatic and seasonal, but they're not your only option for BIY (Bake It Yourself) decorations. Cookies made for eating generally don't last well because they usually include ingredients such as eggs and baking powder to give them an enjoyable texture. Baked tree ornaments made from a salt-based dough are much more durable because of their salt content and lack of leavenings and eggs. Even better, because the base recipe has such a neutral color, you can easily tint the decorations with food coloring or other ingredients.

Three handmade salt dough decorations, each stamped with Christmas-themed images, displayed on evergreen boughs in a rustic galvanized bucket
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No-Bake Salt Dough Ornaments

There's one minor issue with baked tree decorations: The closer it gets to the holidays, the more likely your oven will already be in use with holiday meals or seasonal baked goods. That's why no-bake salt dough ornaments can be an especially appealing option. Make up the dough, roll it and cut it just as you would for baked ornaments; but then leave the shapes out uncovered on a cookie sheet to dry. Turn them every day for 3 or 4 days until they're completely dry and hard, then decorate them with stamps and ink, paint, glitter or anything else that appeals to you.

A handmade birdseed ornament in the shape of a Christmas tree, hanging outdoors on a bare branch
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Birdseed Christmas Ornaments

It's not written in stone anywhere that you can only decorate the tree in your living room. A lot of people also decorate an outdoor tree, in conventional or unconventional fashion. One "unconventional" approach is to hang birdseed tree decorations on suitable branches around your yard. You and your kids will have fun making them, the birds will love eating them, and your feathered friends themselves become a kind of living decoration you can enjoy through your windows. Everybody wins!

Colorful hand-painted glass ball decorations in a shallow bowl, shot from above, on a pale blue countertop with a pine cone to the rear
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Hand-Painted Glass Ball Ornaments

Hand-painted glass ball ornaments aren't the sole preserve of the artistically gifted. The truly skilled can churn out a jovial Santa or a realistic reindeer with a few paints and some fine brushes, but that's not the only path to a charmingly personalized decoration. Instead, pick up a handful of clear glass balls from the craft store and create these evocative, eye-catching and colorful ornaments.


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