19 DIY Christmas Ornaments to Make With Kids

Want to add a personal touch to your Christmas decorations? These DIY ornaments are a cinch to make, and they'll get kids excited about trimming the tree. 

Handmade Ornaments Tiny Art Books
Photo: Dane Tashima

Trimming the tree is a fun holiday tradition, and it's also extremely sentimental. From store-bought baubles to personalized trinkets, your ornament collection brings back memories of Christmases past. Want to make your decorations even more special? Consider making some DIY Christmas ornaments with your family this year!

We rounded up homemade ornament ideas for kids of all ages. Some require items you might already have—like cardboard and yarn—while others might call for a trip to the craft store. Either way, these DIY ornaments will keep your family entertained for an afternoon, and they'll also help your kids get in the holiday spirit.

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Painted Wooden Balls

Handmade Ornaments Painted Wooden Balls
Dane Tashima

Place 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch beads from a craft store onto thick pipe cleaners, folded in half so kids can easily hold while painting them. Remove pipe cleaners once painted. Finish with 1/4 inch grosgrain ribbons knotted on one side of each bead.

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Yarn Pom-Poms and Tassle

Handmade Ornaments Yarn Pom-Poms and Tassle
Dane Tashima

To make the tassels, cut a 4 x 3 inch rectangle of cardboard. Wrap yarn around the long side of the cardboard until you reach the desired tassel thickness. Slip a 10 inch piece of yarn under the wound yarn and knot tightly at the top to cinch all the yarn together. Slide the yarn off the cardboard and cut the bottom. Use a large-eye embroidery needle and thread one end of a piece of the tassel's yarn and pierce it through the center of a large pom-pom to connect pom-pom and tassel; knot and trim. Use the needle to thread an additional yarn loop through the pom-pom, knot off, and trim.

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Washi-Tape Stripes

Washi Tape DIY Ornament
Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh. Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

Have your child cover the surface of a clear shatterproof ornament with one color of washi tape. Then wrap a few stripes of contrasting colors on top; the slightly see-through tape creates a cool effect when layered. Smooth the tape down, but don't get too crazy trying to get it to lie perfectly flat (the rounded surface makes it impossible).

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Corrugated Tree

Handmade Ornaments Corrugated Tree
Dane Tashima

Cut triangle trees from cardboard and let the kids decorate them with paint. To create the dotted ornaments, use the eraser end of a new pencil as a stamp. Dip wooden skewers into white glue and stick into the base for trunks. Pierce a hole in the top for the string.

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Cardboard-Tube House

Handmade Ornaments Cardboard-Tube House
Dane Tashima

Paint cardboard tubes in bright colors. Cut an eraser into rectangles and squares and use it as a stamp for windows and doors. Craft roofs from cupcake liners by cutting along the radius with scissors. Wrap the cut edges over each other and secure with an adhesive dot. Double-knot a string loop and thread through top of roof (with the knot inside). Use tacky glue to attach roof to top of cardboard tube. Let dry.

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Gingerbread Friends

Gingerbread ornament
Burcu Avsar

To craft a couple gingerbread friends, trace cookie cutters onto felt, cut out two silhouettes, and help your child (age 4 and up) sew together with a whipstitch. Stuff with batting and decorate with buttons, yarn, and felt accessories.

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Sticker Polka Dots

Dot DIY Ornament
Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh. Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

Colorful dot stickers are a simple way to customize a plain sphere. Even a preschooler can do this well! Pick a color theme (warm hues, red and green, shades of blue), and let your child play with the size and placement of the dots. Or for a more elegant look, use only gold glitter circles on a metallic ball.

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Sew Sweet

Sewn cardboard ornament
Burcu Avsar

Let your child practice their fine motor skills with this simple design. Cut circles from cardboard and punch a pattern with a thick nail; your kid can "sew" the design with a plastic embroidery needle and yarn.

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Tiny Art Books

Handmade Ornaments Tiny Art Books
Dane Tashima

Create mini books to hang from the tree. Cut white paper to 5 x 3 inches, stack, fold in half, and staple with your kid's artwork as the cover. Punch a hole through the book and thread a string through to hang. Fill the pages with your holiday memories.

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Good Yarns

good yarns ornament craft on pink background
Aaron Dyer

Variegated yarn that changes color in a single strand (often called print yarn) is the secret to these ornaments. (The bases are cardboard.)

Make It

1. Cut 3 inch stars or 2 inch squares from cardboard.

2. Stick Glue Dots to corners.

3. Wrap yarn around shapes, crossing Glue Dots when turning corners , until fully covered. Knot end when finished.

4. For star shapes, tie on yarn or string for hangers.

5. For gift-box shapes, tie yarn bows around squares, and add a loop for hangers.

Tip: An adult can get things started by cutting out the shapes, then the kids can apply the Glue Dots and have at it with the yarn.

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Tiny Toboggans

Tiny Toboggans
Burcu Avsar

Create seasonal sleds that your child can decorate with paint and glitter.

What You'll Need

Ice-pop sticks (nine for each sled), paint and paintbrush, hot-glue gun and glue sticks, metallic chenille stems

Make It

1. Lay out five ice-pop sticks side by side in the shape of a sled.

2. Hot-glue two more ice-pop sticks across the laid-out ice-pop sticks to create crossbar supports.

3. To create the sled runners, lay an ice-pop stick on its thin edge so it rests on the crossbar supports. Hot-glue into place. Repeat with final ice-pop stick.

4. Let your child paint the sled to decorate. (Sprinkle any parts you like with glitter while the paint is still wet.)

5. Twist two metallic chenille stems into a horseshoe shape and hot-glue to sled runners for hanging.

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Tiny Toboggans How-To Video

Learn better by watching how a craft is done? Our video offers step-by-step directions for making the tiny toboggan ornaments.

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Frosty in a Frame

frosty in a frame ornament craft on pink background
Salvaging empty boxes? How cool. Aaron Dyer

Grab a small box from the recycling bin (or gift-wrap stash) for this mini diorama.

Make It

1.Paint the inside of a small gift box pale blue.

2. Use white paint and a small brush to create falling snow. Cut box's white stuffing (or a piece of batting) into a hill shape and glue into place.

3. Glue small, green-paper triangles to tiny pieces of twig, and glue them into the scene.

4. Glue three pom-poms in a stack, then add paper eyes and nose and a felt scarf. For a hat, glue a black fusible bead to a small black paper circle. Glue the snowman into place at the base.

5. Glue thin ribbon around the sides of the box, leaving an open loop at the top.

Tip: We used Aleene's Original Tacky Glue for most of these crafts: It's thicker (and therefore more kid-friendly) than other water-based glues.

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Fuzzy Polar Bear Friends

Polar bear ornament
Burcu Avsar

Styrofoam balls become a family of polar bears with the addition of yarn, pom-pom noses, and felt ears.

What You'll Need

Styrofoam balls, white yarn, white felt, off-white felt, pencil, scissors, glue, small black pom-poms, black beads, greening pins, ribbon to hang

Make It

1. Wrap a Styrofoam ball in white yarn, completely covering the ball. Tie a knot at the end to secure.

2. Trace an ear shape onto white felt twice and repeat with a slightly smaller ear shape on the off-white felt. Cut out.

3. Glue the off-white felt ear pieces to the center of white felt ear pieces. Then, glue the ears in place on the yarn-wrapped ball.

4. Glue on a black pom-pom for a nose.

5. Glue on black beads for eyes.

6. Push a greening pin into the top of the polar bear's head to hold the ribbon used for hanging.

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Polar Bear Ornaments How-To Video

See how to put together the polar bear ornaments with styrofoam balls, yarn, and pom poms.

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Elf Buddies

elf buddies ornament craft on pink background
Shelves are great, but the tree is best!. Aaron Dyer

Hooray, a cute way to reuse the wine corks!

Make It

1. Wrap a wine cork in felt, and secure with glue. Then glue a 1 inch wooden bead on top.

2. Tie a 1/2 x 3 inch strip of felt where the bead meets the cork.

3. Roll and glue a 2 1/2 x 1 inch triangle of felt into a cone; glue to top of bead.

4. Cut small slits in sides of body felt and press two 1 1/2-inch pieces of craft wire into cork. Slip small beads over wire ends and twist to make hands.

5. Insert two 3 inch pieces of wire into cork bottom and slip barrel beads over ends and twist for feet.

6. Draw on facial features with paint markers.

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Winter Wonderland

Platic cup ornament
Burcu Avsar

A stiff felt base and a plastic cup form a snow-globe ornament that your kids can fill with a seasonal display.

What You'll Need

White stiff felt, pencil, round object, scissors, wooden bead, paint and paintbrush, miniature trees and animals, tacky glue, polyester quilt batting, plastic cup, sequin trim, hot-glue gun and glue sticks, thin cord

Make It

1. Trace a round object slightly larger than the opening of your plastic cup onto white stiff felt; cut out.

2. Paint wooden bead; let dry.

3. Glue miniature trees and animal figures onto stiff felt; let dry.

4. Glue small pieces of batting around the miniatures to create snow.

5. Apply a thin line of glue around the cup's top rim and glue to the felt circle, covering the snowy scene; let dry.

6. Cut sequin trim to fit around the cup where it meets the felt; glue into place.

7. Hot-glue bead to top of cup so that the bead's two openings are parallel to the top of the cup.

8. Cut cord to desired length and thread through bead.

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Winter Wonderland How-To Video

Watch our video to learn how to make a different snowy scene with colorful birds, branches, and cotton ball "snow."

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Cross-Country Cuties

Clothespin ornament
Burcu Avsar

Wooden clothespins and ice-pop sticks are the foundation for these fashionable ski bunnies.

What You'll Need

Wooden clothespins, ice-pop sticks, bow-tie-shaped sticks, paint and paintbrush, glue, markers (Optional supplies for accessories: patterned and colored washi tape, eye hooks, yarn, pom-poms, wire and cutter, hot-glue gun and glue sticks, buttons, needle and thread, scissors)

Make It

1. Paint the clothespins and ice-pop sticks; let dry.

2. Glue ice-pop sticks to clothespin's open side for skis; bow-tie-shaped sticks make snowboards.

3. Draw a face on the skier.

4. Decorate skier and skis with washi tape, if desired.

5. For the knit hat, hand-screw an eye hook into skier's head. Wrap base of eye hook with yarn and glue end to secure. Glue pom-pom on top.

6. For earmuffs, cut a short length of wire and bend it around the head. Sandwich wire between side of clothespin head and a small button on each side. Hot-glue into place.

7. For the pom-pom hat, pull a thread through eye of needle and double it up. Push needle through center of pom-pom, but don't pull thread all the way through. Leave the two open ends on one side and tie a knot on the other; double knot and snip off needle. Hot-glue pom-pom to skier's head. Use this thread to hang ornament, or tie a decorative string to threads to hang.

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Clothespin Skier Ornaments How-To Video

Not sure how to put together the clothespins and ice-pop sticks? Our video has the detailed steps to help you make the skiier ornaments like a pro.

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Home Sweet Homes

home sweet homes ornament craft on pink background
Aaron Dyer

No baking required for these "gingerbread" houses; they're cardboard.

Make It

1. Cut out various building shapes from cardboard.

2. Draw windows, doors, and roof tiles with a white paint pen to resemble frosting.

3. Glue on colorful yarn and tiny pom-poms to decorate.

4. Glue small loops of yarn to the backs to hang.

Tip: Skip the string if you prefer, and line up a few houses on the mantel to make a holiday village.

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Peg Ornaments

Peg Ornaments Arctic Characters
Aaron Dyer

Paint, felt, and pipe cleaners are all you need to transform wooden pegs into a whole cast of Arctic characters for your tree. From Rudolph, a Puffin, Molly the Ox and more, these will make for great gifts too! So gather your materials, and show the kids these guys to help them dream up their own oddball ornaments (our narwhal was inspired by the movie Elf).

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Paint-Pen People

Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh.

Big kids can draw sweet or silly faces on clear ornaments with oil-based paint pens. To prevent smudging, try to work in sections, moving from left to right. Simple shapes like circles and squiggles are easiest for younger kids to draw themselves.

Additional research by Amanda Kingloff
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