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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Make-your-own Holiday Ornaments

Dec 17, 2012 12:00AM

Decorating is a big part of the holiday season. Bins are taken out of the attic or garage and decorations are once again given a chance to shine for several weeks before being packed away again.

Among the many decorations families use to deck the halls are ornaments made by hand. Creating homemade ornaments can be a crafty project that helps families make new holiday memories.

Christmas tree ornaments come in all shapes and sizes and often tell the stories of holiday traditions. There are several different ways to create personalized, do-it-yourself ornaments and leave the cheap, easily broken ornaments from the dollar stores behind.

Photo ornaments

Fun photo ornaments showcase how a family has changed and grown over the years. Experiment with different ways to create these holiday keepsakes. Photos can be glued to a ceramic ornament and cover it with decoupage glaze to set it permanently. Another alternative is to purchase clear, glass ornaments. Remove the top of the ornament, which is usually spring-loaded, before slipping a photo inside and replacing the top. For a simpler version, you also can laminate a photo, punch a hole in the top and affix a ribbon.

Ceramic ornaments

The popularity of paint-it-yourself pottery has led to an increase in ceramic and crafts shops across the country. During the holiday season such shops offer many holiday items that can be painted. The store will then fire the pieces after they are painted so that they are shiny and hardened for display.

Those who want to do their painting at home can visit their local craft or hobby shop, where typically there are unfinished ceramic ornaments that can be painted with acrylic paints found right in the next aisle. A finishing coat of clear glaze will help protect the ornaments from year to year.

Wood crafts

Many of today’s craft centers have expanded to include sections devoted to unfinished wood items. Everything from letters to animal cutouts to boxes and rocking horses can be purchased and finished. Turn keepsake boxes into painted and ribbon-adorned gift boxes. Stain a treasure chest that can be used to store reindeer snacks for Santa’s crew. Turn small decorative pieces into ornaments for the tree. Paint and affix wood initials onto stocking holders to identify to whom each stocking belongs. Crafty individuals also can turn plain wood plaques into signs with clever sayings, such as “Park your sleigh here.”

Scavenge the house

Young children can use any medium for making ornaments. Garlands made of macaroni or popcorn are traditional. Fabric scraps can be sewn and stuffed with potpourri for homemade scent satchels. Hand-drawn pictures can be made and laminated and hung on the tree.

The only obstacle with regard to DIY ornaments is a limited imagination. Homemade items can add whimsy and a personal touch to the holiday season.