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Homemade Christmas Ornaments – From Trash to Treasure

Published by Lovie Guillotte

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The holiday season introduces more trash than usual into our homes – wrapping paper and boxes, packaging, and greeting cards that are used one time and thrown out. You can reverse the trend by rescuing an item you might have thrown away and turning it into a unique homemade ornament for your Christmas tree. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Select a Base for the Christmas Ornament

To begin, select something that you can use as the base for the ornament. It needs to be sturdy enough to support whatever embellishments you plan to attach to it. The finished ornaments shown here were made from a juice can lid, a promotional CD, and a leftover laminate sample, but there are many other possibilities. Be sure to wash any food container items thoroughly before using.

Cover the Ornament Base

Next, decide whether you will paint the ornament base, cover it with patterned scrapbooking paper or something else, or leave it as it is. Lightly sand any metal or shiny surfaces that you plan to paint.


To cover a juice can lid, use a die-cutting system, circle cutter, or template to cut a 2 1/2″ circle from paper or cardstock. This will fit perfectly inside the rim.

To cover a CD or tag, trace the shape on patterned paper or cardstock, and cut it out.

Before gluing the paper to your ornament base, remember to add any eyelets, brads, or snaps that you plan to use. If you want to ink the edges of your paper or add texture with hand or machine stitching, this is the time to do it.

Decide How You’ll Hang the Ornament

Once you’ve adhered the paper to the base of the ornament, you might need to punch a hole so you can attach a loop of ribbon. An ordinary hole punch won’t work well on metal lids or CDs. You’ll need a Crop-A-Dile or something similar. Laminate samples and clothing tags are easy to work with because they come with a hole already.

Decorate the Christmas Ornament

The final step is the most enjoyable: decorating the ornament. The CD ornament shown here was embellished with brads (added before the paper was glued to the CD), ribbon, and epoxy stickers. The juice can lid has a metal-rim tag, an epoxy sticker, and microbeads. The laminate sample is decorated simply with images cut from patterned scrapbooking paper and an epoxy sticker.

Tips for Making Homemade Christmas Ornaments

  • For these ornaments, I used the Joyful line of scrapbooking paper, epoxy embellishments, and ribbon from KI Memories. Using a coordinated line of craft supplies simplifies the creative process by reducing the number of decisions you need to make.
  • If you don’t scrapbook, you needn’t go out and purchase special papers or embellishments to make these ornaments. Instead, look around your home for items you can use. Cover the ornament base with a scrap of fabric, leftover wrapping paper, or colorful tissue paper. Decorate it with images cut from greeting cards or holiday packaging, buttons, ribbon, and trim.

With a little creativity, you can turn everyday trash into colorful holiday ornaments that your family will enjoy for years to come.

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