home made Christmas decorations…ornament making station

This year I am sharing our home made Christmas decoration station as a part of the Creative Christmas Countdown, if you missed it make sure to check it out… 24 fantastic ideas from 24 amazing bloggers.

Day 2: Home made Christmas Decoration… Ornament Making Station

Setting up an ornament making station is one of our family traditions. It started back when M and M were 2 and 4 years old… and it has been my favorite tradition ever since. While their skills and materials have increased over the years one thing has remained the same, their creative spirit always shines through.

home made Christmas decorations

Our art center has become the central hub of our home, it is where you can find the kids first thing in the morning and right before bed each night. Creativity is a reoccurring theme around here. Switching out a few items to add a little Christmas kick was easy, don’t worry if you are starting from scratch. You will be surprised how cheap and easy it is!

BEFORE YOU START!!! These materials are just to get you thinking. If you close up the computer, grab a box and start searching through your house I’m sure you will find everything you need to get your kids creating home made Christmas decorations. The most important part of these home-made Christmas decorations is that they are KID designed and KID made. Collect materials with no expectations in mind. Let them explore the materials (and perhaps add their own). Be proud of what they create (even if you can’t identify it). Sit back and watch their passion… it just might inspire you!

If there is place right next to your art area for a tree…PERFECT! If not, make some room near the bottom of your family tree. That way the kids can hang up their work.

home made Christmas decorations

Start with the bones…

Having a base for the ornaments and a way to attach everything is really important. Get creative with your collection but here’s a list to get you started.

Items for the base                                                   Items for attaching

1. Vitamin Boxes                                                                             1. White glue
2. Small boxes (like the one Vanilla                                        2. Glue stick
extract comes in.)                                                                           3. Stapler
3. Crayon boxes                                                                              4. Tape
4. Gum boxes                                                                                   5. Hot glue gun (this will be
5. Sticker boxes                                                                                the first year for it at    Christmas!)
6. Tic Tac containers
7. Mini Candy boxes
8. Lids of all shapes and sizes
9. Toilet paper rolls (some left whole,
some cut into round strips)
10. Egg cartons (cut into 12 small cups)
11. Ribbon spools
12. Anything small that
other things can be glued to!

home made christmas decorations

Add some odds and ends…

Odds and ends are my favorite part of the collecting process. My friends and family are happy to hand over their “junk” and I am always happy to take it! Sometimes I score at the thrift store or garage sales and once in a while I actually buy things full price… at the $1 store. 😉

1. Corks                                                                                             9. Make up sponges
2. Pipe cleaners                                                                             10. Bottle caps
3. String                                                                                            11. Candy wrappers
4. Marbles
5. Wooden craft pieces
6. Little cups or muffin cups
7. Ribbon (You can find tons of FREE ribbon at birthday parties all you have to do is offer to be in charge of the after present mess.)
8. Kit stuff (You know those kits you can get for groups of kids to make frames, ornaments or other cute things like that? If I know someone is going to use them… I ask for the left over pieces!)

home made decorations

Add some Christmas fun…

Yes this is the place I spend a little bit of money. (Hee hee, we are talking very little money!) I have a small box labeled holiday that I keep out of the kids reach which makes saving the left over supplies easy! When you are looking for Christmas art supplies think beyond the craft section. Some decorations can be cut up and pulled apart to offer interesting pieces for making home made Christmas decorations.

1. Felt                                                                                      10. Craft sticks
2. Fabric                                                                                 11. Pine cones and mini pine cones
3. Googly eyes                                                                     12. Candy canes
4. Pom poms
5. Beads
6. Sequins
7. Netting (Can be found wrapped around some produce)
8. Wooden pieces (these can be used as tracers or as a base)
9. Wrapping paper scraps (from last year or bought at the dollar store)

Home Made Christmas decorations

Add some Learning fun…

I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t add a little learning to our home made Christmas decorations! One way to encourage new little readers and writers to practice is by adding it wherever you can. In our art center we have name cards (the kind you can get at the teacher supply store and maybe Target) I wrote out the names of friends and family that are close to us. That way they can practice writing Grandma, Aunt L and each other’s names whenever they feel like it. You can do the same thing with Christmas words OR you can make your own cards like I did. I wrote out words that might get the kids interested, cut them out and used contact paper to seal them up.

Christmas words

1. Santa Claus                                                                       7. Tree
2. Mrs. Claus                                                                         8. Stocking
3. Christmas                                                                          9. Chimney
4. Christmas Eve                                                                10.Gingerbread
5. Snowflake                                                                         11. Gifts
6. Reindeer                                                                            12. Family


Enjoy and then save your Home-Made Christmas Decorations 

These are decorations made by M and M a few years ago. The box marked home-made decorations is the most exciting one to open. It reminds me of what they were doing in the past… and gets me anxious to see what will come! They decorate their own tree and we enjoy it all through December. Then, when it’s time to take Christmas down we all pick a few of our favorites to save. (Trust me there are way too many to save them all!)

Here’s what the kids have done so far. Notice the wide range of difficulty for each project!

I mark the date and the name of the artist on our home made Christmas decorations and then carefully package them for safe storage… they are after all my most valuable ornaments. 🙂

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  1. Wonderful post, Jillian! I love that the materials are set out as a bit of a “craft buffet” for the children to create freely with! Their creations are so sweet! Great list of suggested materials too! What a wonderful way to recycle every day items into treasures!

    1. That’s when we started. Use stickers, tape and whatever materials they are already comfortable with. Your littlest little one will probably enjoy placing things on the tree without necessarily “creating” anything. I think the main changes I’ve made in the last two years is adding the hot glue gun and stapler.

      If you punch holes in square pieces of paper they can color them or add stickers or glue objects to them and then have something to hang up. Since it wouldn’t be safe to leave all of the “little” pieces out and you probably don’t want a 1 year old with access to crayons all the time your art station could be super simple and held in a box that come out with supervision.

  2. I love this idea! I have ornament making on our list for advent but was feeling bad because I wasn’t sure how to choose one type of ornament to make, this way we can make several different ornaments! We’ll be doing this 🙂


  3. Hey Jillian!

    Great post – hey, just a heads up – I clicked the facebook link in your post (and the one at the top of the page) to like you, but the link doesn’t seem to work. Just wanted to let you know 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

  4. I love this. My kids love getting creative and make beautiful things throughout the year. But at Christmas we tend to get stuck in the rut of making paper chains and not much else. This year I’ve already designated the bottom of the tree to them and they’ve picked new decorations to put there, but I’ll definitely be encouraging them to make their own and add them to the tree.

    1. Yes a box would make it easier for such a little one. I love looking at the beginning ornaments from when M and M were so small. It’s neat to see how much they’ve changed in just one year.

      1. We have a box. And my 10 month old helped me stick a sticker on a clear lid, so I’m very happy with that. My 3 year old started doing a rubbish collection with his truck. He took away the card, and the ribbon, and the shapes, and the stickers, and everything else he could get his hands on! He loves his pretend play at the moment. We’ll make ornaments another day, I suppose.

  5. Great inspiration tonight!! I need to let my class do their OWN creative work but I too often expect theirs to look like mine in the end! Shame on me!!!

    1. Cheri,
      You are not alone! It isn’t easy to let go of what you think is the “right” way but it does get easier with practice… I promise. 😉

  6. What great ideas! My 3-year old daughter already has a table all her own for art (I need to clean up the mess!) so it shouldn’t be too hard to set her up for Christmas. It’s getting really fun to watch her and see what she comes up with — suddenly, she draws the cutest stick people!
    Thanks again for the ideas!

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  10. Wonderful post, Jillian! These creative activities are fun to do. My daughters will definitely love these ideas.

    Thanks for sharing so amazing posts!

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