DIY Ornaments

Make your tree unique with a little imagination and elbow grease

Anybody can hang a set of shiny red ornaments and a string of blinking lights on a fir tree. It’ll look festive. It’ll look Christmas-y. But where’s the character? Where’s the charm? The personality of your evergreen is limited only by your imagination. Tart your tree up right this holiday season by ditching the popcorn garland and getting crafty.

Go beyond the simple candy cane. The craft gurus at recommend stocking your tree with edible ornaments like cookies (bake the holes in first), chocolate balls wrapped in foil and jelly-bean garlands. While not as digestible, the fruit ornaments cooked up by Green Guide blogger Donna Garlough are one of our favorite ideas. “I’ll dry out round slices of lemons, grapefruits and blood oranges to decorate the balsam-fir wreaths I picked up at the tree lot. Accompanied by brocade ribbons saved from last year, they’re totally festive and rich-looking,” she writes. “Just cut the citrus fruits crosswise into one-eighth-inch slices, lay them on a baking rack and bake in a 175-degree oven for four hours. You can save these to use year after year.” Good-looking, aromatic and recyclable. Nice. 

What better way to make your holiday tree reflect your personality than for it to reflect your actual image? The easy way to do this might be to hang shards of a broken mirror from the boughs of your tree, though this could prove hazardous to young and old and runs the risk of reflecting other people’s images from your tree. There are also many companies that will imprint a photo of you onto a standard glass ball ornament. But far more clever is Photojojo’s inventive photo ornaments, which are easily made in 15 minutes and way cooler-looking. Just slice up your favorite sixth-grade class picture into strips, punch holes into the ends of the strips, stack them together, use brads to bind them, then fan them out into a spherical or ball shape. They look good, and so do you. 

Make zine’s Bre Pettis has a pretty sweet video on YouTube teaching you how to make “dorktacular, geektastic” ornaments using tensegrity (whatever that is) and in the shape of an icosahedron. If combining Christmas with esoteric geometric shapes makes your head explode, you could take the low-brow geek road and learn how to make a feltie. These felt-based stuffed animals are, at the moment, fairly hot in a DIY community in which nerdy and ’80s nostalgic themes run rampant. And why not? Who wouldn’t want to adorn their holiday shrub with Tetris blocks, Super Mario and the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

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About The Author

Joel Smith

Joel Smith is the media editor for The Inlander. In that position, he manages and directs and edits all copy for the website, the newspaper and all other special publications. A former staff writer, he has reported on local and state politics, the environment, urban development and culture, Spokane's...