Let your little ones in on the holiday fun with these simple decorations they can craft themselves.
One of the best things about Christmas: The joy children infuse into every single holiday tradition. Whether it’s baking cookies or trimming the tree, there’s beauty in the perfectly imperfect handiwork of your kids. So set them to work making ornaments to decorate your own tree and to give to friends and family! Each of these ornaments is easy enough for younger kids to make (with a little help from a grownup), and leaves plenty of room for creativity when older kids want to personalize them. Whip up some hot chocolate and break out the crafting supplies, a night of ornament making is about to become your family's new favorite tradition.
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Peg People Cool Crowd
Another twist on a classic: Cute clothespin ornaments from Brittany Jepsen at The House That Lars Built that can be endlessly customized to look like friends and family. To do: Have a grownup or older child drill a hole into the top to screw in a small eye hook, and through the sides of the chest to thread through the arms. Paint the clothespins with acrylic paints, then accessorize them: Use beads for buns, pompoms for earmuffs and mittens, wire for the arms, and bits of ribbon for scarves. Once dry, thread through a hanger.
Clay Pot Jingle Bell
Turn a small clay pot into a sweet ornament with this project from Marie-Laure Pham for Hello, Wonderful—and encourage your child to decorate it however they like. To do: Paint a small clay pot with acrylic paints. Once it’s dry, glue on stars cut or punched out of glittery wrapping paper. String a bell onto twine or a chenille stem, then thread it through the opening in the bottom of the pot. Hang it upside-down on the tree.
Colorful Folded Paper Balls
These cool geometric baubles from Cakies blogger Rubyellen Bratcher for A Beautiful Mess are a fun twist on the traditional ornament ball, and they’re easy to customize in your favorite colors. To make a six-inch diameter ball: Punch 20 circles per ball from card stock, then fold each into a equilateral triangle as shown. Glue the flaps together, alternating the triangles up or down as you go, until they’re all connected (tuck the knot of a loop of string in before you glue the last flaps together for a hanger).
Melted Crayon Salt Dough Ornament
Salt dough ornaments are a classic kids’ craft for Christmas, but this version has a twist: Artful Parent blogger Jean Van’t Hul used melted crayons instead of paint to get rich, saturated color. To do: Make your salt dough ornaments (one good recipe: 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, and ½ cup water, then bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 3 hours). Pull out one ornament at a time and place it on a protected surface, then draw with the crayon while it’s still warm. The crayon will melt and glide over the ornament.
Funky Photo Shadow Box
Great for grandparents: A cute photo ornaments with your child’s own spin on it, from Meri Cherry. To do: Print out a photo small enough to fit inside a small gift box, then cut a piece of transparency paper to the same size. Decorate the transparency paper with chalk markers (hold it in place on top of the photo to use it as guide). Glue the photo to the bottom inside of the box, thread string through a hole punched in the top for a hanger, then use washi tape to attach the transparency paper to the box’s opening.
Snowy Diorama Ornament
If snow isn’t in the forecast for Christmas, have your child make it himself like Amanda Kingloff from Project Kid did! To do: Line a gift box with blue paper, then cut a curved mound from fluffy filler for the snow. Accordion-fold green semicircles of paper for the trees, and stack pompoms and glue them together for the snowman, with a bit of ribbon for the scarf. Encourage your child to improvise using their own tiny toys or cutouts from magazines.
Coffee Cup Sleeve Finial
An excuse to splurge on a Peppermint Latte or two: To get a coffee cup sleeve your child needs to make this easy ornaments by Kimberly Stoney of The Tiny Funnel. To do: Open up the cardboard sleeve, then trim it into a long triangle shape. Glue a knotted string to the largest part (on the sleeve’s outside), then add glue along the whole thing and roll it up, from the largest end to the smallest end, with the corrugated side facing out and the string in the middle. Once the glue has set, decorate it with paint and glitter.