Each year as Christmas approaches we search for homemade Christmas ornament ideas for our yearly ornament project. This year I've put my favorites together here in this article. We've also come up with a few ideas of our own.
Crafting plain popsicle sticks, also called craft sticks, into hand-made ornaments is a fun project for our entire family. We enjoyed making these cute ornaments from wooden craft sticks, paint, and glue.
1. Toy Soldier Popsicle-Stick Ornament
Jumbo craft sticks plus mini craft sticks can make a cute soldier. We were inspired by another toy soldier ornament we've had for a very long time. I looked at other pictures online to get ideas for colors. I wasn't going to paint his hands (leaving them the color of wood), but messed up and painted them red by accident. Soooo, I had the idea of painting them white like white gloves. I think it turned out OK.
The body is made from a jumbo craft stick, the arms are mini sticks, and the hat is a 3/4" end piece from a jumbo craft stick.
At the last minute, I added a thin stripe of lighter blue between the bottom of the pants leg and the black boot. The colors were both dark and needed some sort of separation.
2. Popsicle-Stick Airplane Ornaments
Make these using a clothespin, jumbo craft sticks, and a mini stick for the propeller.
This blog is one of the neatest things I've seen in my life. I called everyone over to the computer to look at the amazing little World War I airplanes this blogger is making from clothespins and popsicle sticks. He even gives a peek here (near the bottom of the page) at his process for making a few different miniatures.You won't believe the detail.
I took a spin off of this gentleman's idea to make a few airplane ornaments out of three different types of clothespins, plus jumbo craft sticks. In photo a) I used a round clothespin, for b) I used a flat clothespin, and for c) I used a traditional spring-loaded pin with the spring removed and the two halves glued together. I just want to mention quickly that depending on how the prop is glued on, the plane may not sit on a flat surface. You can see in the picture where I angled the prop, it keeps the plane from sitting flat. This won't matter for an ornament, but might for other uses.
To hang these airplanes, I found very small eye screws at Hobby Lobby (a local craft store). They are labeled "screw eyes 3 x 12 mm". To hang the planes level, the best place for the screw is just behind the top wing, or at the very edge of it. I had to use a sharp object to make a tiny starter hole.
3. Popsicle-Stick Sled Ornament
This one comes from an awesome crafter over at Instructables. It looks just like a tiny sled—so cute! This crafter gives wonderful instructions and pictures. The only thing I wasn't sure about was if the points on the sled runners should be up (against the sled) or down (against the ground/snow). I looked at pictures of old sleds, but couldn't find the right angle to see the bottom to know. I put the point down against the snow and I think what I did is right.
After making two of these I have to agree with the crafter that painting the pieces first is the way to go. If you try to paint it afterward, you realize there are parts of the sled that are hard to reach after it's glued together, especially where one piece is over another. We love this sled ornament, and wrote the year on the side of a runner in white paint.
4. Craft-Stick Christmas Ornament Candy-Cane Sign
Where's the North Pole? Two miles that way! This idea comes from Mrs. Ritenour's Class. I don't know Mrs. Ritenour, but stumbled across her webpage online and now wish I had been in her class. The kids' crafts displayed in her room make me want to try each and every one.
This ornament is so simple, yet perfectly colorful and festive. It's a cute candy-cane-decorated sign with directions to the North Pole. Mrs. Ritenour and students used white foam paper for the sign, but I didn't have any, so I'm using some other paper I had in my craft supplies. And I cut the jumbo craft stick at 5 inches (with heavy-duty scissors) so it would have a flat bottom.
I think even very young children can make this one. Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas, Mrs. Ritenour! I hope kids from her class stop by and say hello.
5. Snowman Popsicle-Stick Ornament
There are many versions of this one. I put together my own version of this cute snowman using what I had on hand.
The body is a jumbo craft stick and the hat brim is a section out of a regular size popsicle stick. Usually pop stick snowmen have black hats, but for mine I chose blue. I remembered I had some blue ribbon I got on sale after Christmas last year with pretty snowflakes on it. Honestly, this particular ribbon was difficult to tie because it was too wide. I ended up folding it in half to make it narrower and gluing down the ends to make them stay. I'm happy with the results. But I think felt strips would work much better—especially with kids.
6. Nutcracker Ornament Made with Popsicle Sticks
Make these in any color you like; we used blue and green.My 13-year-old daughter and I came up with this one using one of the nutcrackers in her room for inspiration. These ornaments are more detailed and take more time and care than some of the others, but we love them and would make them again.
How we did it: After we glued them and they dried, I lightly sketched lines on the wood to show color placement. Then we added one color at a time. Thankfully acrylic paint dries very fast on the craft sticks so we didn't have to wait in between colors. We simply chose colors that weren't touching for the next color. The trickiest part was the face and mouth. The mouth is white paint, which we let dry, and then outlined in red ultra fine marker for the traditional Nutcracker "teeth." The gold sequins were actually an afterthought, but made all the difference (in our opinion).
Materials: one jumbo stick and three regular craft sticks, cut and glued as shown below.
7. Santa Ornament Made From Craft Sticks
Here's a Santa Claus with hat and beard, made from mini craft sticks. The link for this craft is no longer available :(. Anyway, it turned out really very cute we think. This design takes a little planning with the cardboard background (you'll see what I mean).
For mine, I didn't have any face ("flesh") colored paint, so I glued down a small piece of paper that was about the right color. For the cheeks we used a Q-tip dipped in some blush make-up. We like the pinkish cheeks.
You have to make a cardboard background for this ornament (see picture at right). If I were making these with kids, I would make a template for the cardboard for the kids to use.
8. Snowflake Ornament From Craft Sticks
Here you stack the craft sticks in a snowflake pattern. Using two different colors of blue was a complete accident! But I love the depth it gave this snowflake ornament. This is quite simple and can be layered with as many popsicle sticks as you like. We painted all the craft sticks first. We used three regular-size sticks, one horizontal and two vertical sandwiching the horizontal one and glued them together. Then we added two mini sticks in an "X" shape on each side, and finished with a final horizontal mini on each side. We found the snowflake embellishments at a craft store.
The pictures show how we layered the sticks.
9. Frame Ornament Made From Mini Craft Sticks
9. Frame Ornament Made From Mini Craft Sticks
There's so much that can be done with this simple idea. Add photos, images from old greeting cards, or original artwork. A picture of a child, or a small piece of artwork made by a child, looks super.
We cut this colorful penguin out of an old Christmas card and used it for the decoration. In my mind I can imagine an entire Christmas tree covered with these little frames from a classroom or Sunday-school project.
We used mini craft sticks so the frame is only about 2½ inches square. I think next time I'll use two mini sticks and two regular craft sticks and make a rectangle so it's tall and narrow. I think that would look VERY neat with a tall, thin image.
10. Craft-Stick-and-Clothespin Reindeer
Sooooo adorable! This one comes from Crafts For All Seasons. I've seen similar reindeer, but I think this one is especially cute. The googly eyes (approx. 5 mm size) and red pom-pom nose are the perfect touches. The instructions show how to make a cute bell necklace for the reindeer, but I didn't have a small bell so I left it off. I'll add one as soon as I can.
The only difficult thing about this one is painting it; everything else is very quick. In the picture, I see where I missed some spots on the inside of the clothespin.
Penguin Popsicle-Stick Ornament (Bonus)
11. Penguin (Bonus)
I know this article is labeled as "10 ideas," but I just came up with this new idea and wanted to add it too. Here's a penguin popsicle-stick ornament. For the body, use a jumbo stick with the bottom end cut off straight. And for the wings, cut each end off of a regular size stick: about 1¼ inches long apiece. Then snip off just a little of the corners of the wings so they will fit closer together on the back (you can see this in the picture).
We used black and white paint, and after the white paint dried, we used an orange permanent marker over it for the beak and feet.
Which Is Your Favorite? Please Vote and Let Me Know Which One You Like the Most
More Cool Designs—I'll Add More As I Find Them
- Christmas Wreath out of Craft Sticks
The instructions call for jumbo sticks (I'm going to try it with mini sticks).
- Another Idea for a Snowflake
This one is cute with lots of buttons added to the snowflake. And the red checked ribbon is very festive.
- Easy Reindeer for the Littlest Crafters
Very very cute.
Do You Think You May Use Any of These Ideas? Please Let Me Know...
joshua howden on April 15, 2018:
i love these amazing decorations
linda welling on November 16, 2014:
how cute ,quick and so simple to make for gift giving or tie ons for your holiday packages..going to start making them this week of november 17,2014..happy holidays to all..
Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on December 16, 2013:
Innovative! Nice lens! - Ms. Charito from the Philippines
kabbalah lm on March 03, 2013:
Never thought of it. Cute stuff
anonymous on December 17, 2012:
Most definitely! I searched high & low and these are by far the best & exactly the type, skill level, and style I had in mind. I plan to use these when my un-laws are over Christmas Day. Every year we each make a homemade ornament for the tree & it's a great way to interact. Thank you & Happy Holidays
DearReview on December 12, 2012:
I remember making these when I was little! Thanks for taking me back!
Judith Nazarewicz from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on December 07, 2012:
Some great ideas for the grandkids! Thanks so much! :-)
lilymom24 on December 05, 2012:
Haven't done popsicle stick crafts with the kids in a long time and these cute craft ideas bring back memories. My favorite is the snowflake. =)
puzzlerpaige (author) on December 01, 2012:
@anonymous: Thank you very much for your nice comments. The idea to write the names and years on the ornaments is really neat. And to have a little part of people from your community is priceless.
anonymous on December 01, 2012:
I'm helping to coordinate the holiday open house for an art-inspired community center in my neighborhood. At the open house this year we are going to have kids make one of these ornaments, put their name/year on it and hang it on our tree. Throughout the years, the tree will show the historical archives of the people in our community. Thanks so much for the ideas/instructions on this page--it is a life saver for a non-crafty person like me:)
anonymous on May 09, 2012:
anonymous on March 20, 2012:
Great ideas. I've made a few of these over the years--eating popsicles is a great side benefit.
anonymous on December 19, 2011:
Wow, Good Idea ,thanks
anonymous on December 08, 2011:
They are also called "paddle pop sticks" in Australia. :)
love4randomness1 on December 03, 2011:
Cool ideas! I LOVE making ornaments and I love crafts! Squid-liked. Please check out my lens 101 things to do with ribbon. Hugs :)
GraceKing on December 02, 2011:
I will show your lens to my little daughter, she loves making crafts.
Thanks for your great information!
seosmm on November 27, 2011:
These are too cute! Very nice lens!
savenlives on November 13, 2011:
Lee Hansen from Vermont on November 09, 2011:
I'm saving these ideas! I've seen the photo frame and sled ornaments but some of these are nifty and new to me. I really LOVE the airplane made with clothespins and craft sticks.
julieannbrady on October 16, 2011:
Wow ... what a really neat crafty idea ... I can see using these are bookmarks in a heartbeat!
Stephen Carr from Corona, CA on December 29, 2010:
I think I made some of these as a kid! Terrific lens!
Rita-K on December 17, 2010:
What fun! I may have to go hijack a kid and make a few!
javr from British Columbia, Canada on December 17, 2010:
I bet the children love making these. This lens has been blessed by a Squid Angel.
hotbrain from Tacoma, WA on December 14, 2010:
These are GREAT! Ornaments that I could make :) Angel blessed! This really is a terrific lens....
nosajreef lm on December 10, 2010:
I just hung some of these same style ornaments on the tree my kids made years ago good memories nice lens
Ann Hinds from So Cal on December 10, 2010:
You are a lifesaver. My ornament that is to be with me at a party in 6 hours is not dry. Then I discovered your lens, which by the way I am blessing for having what I want, with the Popsicle sticks and now I can go with a completed ornament for the exchange.
TheCountrySignS on December 10, 2010:
I am going to use your airplane ornament for my cub scout Christmas party next week. Every year I bring an ornament craft for the kids to make for their Christmas tree at home and you have given me a fantastic one to make with them this year. Thank you so much!
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on November 19, 2010:
As always, a very creative article. I loved all of the ideas. Totally fabulous!
Kiwisoutback from Massachusetts on November 16, 2010:
Now that I've seen the photos, I remember making these in art class when I was a kid. Nice work!
Paul from Montreal on November 15, 2010:
One xmas I made 2 whole armies out of old fashioned wooden clothes pegs, felt and gold ribbon for my brother :)
Mary Beth Granger from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA on November 08, 2010:
Love these ornaments. You are so clever.