It is Christmas time again and what better way to spend it than creating DIY Christmas ornaments! Back when Kristen and I were in high school, we decided to decorate our family tree with only DIY ornaments. We decided on dried orange slices, popcorn and cranberry garland, and salt ornaments, and it turned out beautiful! This year, my husband and I ended up with two Christmas trees (because why not?), but we only had enough ornaments for one tree. Instead of purchasing more ornaments, I remembered my sister and I’s DIY tree from years ago. So stick around and learn how you can make DIY Christmas ornaments for your tree!
Why should you DIY ornaments?
- It’s fun
- It’s festive
- It’s easy
- It’s inexpensive (I spent less than $10 on this entire project. I only purchased oranges, cranberries, and popcorn kernels. Everything else I was able to scrounge up from around my house)
- It’s gorgeous
Let’s get into it.
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Dried Orange Slices
First, I made dried orange slices. There are three super-simple steps to these beautiful DIY ornaments.
You will need:
- A sharp knife
- A dehydrator or oven
- String or ribbon
- Slice oranges: Using a sharp knife, slice the oranges ¼ to ½ an inch thick. You will want to slice off the ends to make sure that the orange segments show from both sides of the slice. Try to make the slices as uniform as possible which will help them dry evenly.
- Using a dehydrator: Place the slices in a single layer in your dehydrator and let dehydrate for 6-9 hours (my slices were on the thicker side, so I let mine dehydrate overnight (about 9 hours) and they were perfect).
- Using an oven: Place your orange slices on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake at 200 degrees for 2-3 hours.
- String them up: Using any type of string or ribbon, cut pieces about eight inches long (I just eye-balled it). Thread your string/ribbon through the center of the orange where a hole has formed from the dehydrating process. Tie it, and done!
- The last step is to hang your DIY ornaments on your tree!
Popcorn & Cranberry Garland
Next, I began stringing many, MANY pieces of popcorn and cranberries to create garland.
You will need:
- Air popped popcorn (nothing added)
- Fresh cranberries
- Pop the popcorn kernels using an air popper or over the stove. I did two batches (4 tablespoons unpopped).
- Place the cranberries in a bowl.
- Thread the needle and start stinging. Pierce the popcorn through the thickest part of the kernel and pierce the middle of the berries to make sure they stays threaded. From here you can get creative making different patterns using the popcorn and cranberries. I found it was easier to keep the thread attached to the spool and slide the popcorn and cranberries down every few inches or so.
- Tip: Turn on a movie and get comfy on the couch while doing this. I watched a total of 2 movies over 2 evenings while threading.
- Once your garland is about four feet long (I found that if I went any longer, it was hard to keep it from tangling up on itself), cut the thread and tie off the ends.
- Repeat. Keep this up until all the popcorn and berries are gone. You get to decide when enough is enough.
- As you finish the garland strands, arrange them on your tree by draping them over the branches.
Salt Dough Ornaments
Lastly, I baked salt dough ornaments which were my favorite part.
You will need:
- 3 cups flour + extra for rolling out the dough
- 1 ½ cups salt
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 tbsp Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp Nutmeg
- 1 tbsp Ground cloves
- 1 tbsp Ginger
- Rolling pin
- Cookie cutters
- Parchment paper
- Cookie sheets
- Mulling spices for decorating
- String or ribbon
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and spices (minus the mulling spices).
- Add the water and mix until well combined.
- Sprinkle your work surface with flour and roll your dough so it is about ¼” thick.
- Using the cookie cutters, start cutting out shapes and lay them on parchment-lined cookie sheets. They can be close together because they will not spread at all.
- Continue cutting and re-rolling out your dough until all of it is gone.
- Once all of your ornaments have been laid out on the cookie sheets, take the straw and poke holes in all of the ornaments.
- Next up is decorating the ornaments. This is optional! I used mulling spices to create different patterns by pressing the dried spices into the dough.
- Tip: If you have pets or a baby/toddler, you can press their paw/foot/hand into the ornaments for a fun keepsake.
- Once all of your ornaments are cut, decorated and have a hole poked in them, bake them at 250 degrees for 2 hours (your house will smell heavenly with all of the spices!). Once they are done baking, let them cool completely.
- While they are cooling, cut pieces of string/ribbon about eight inches long, and after they are cool, thread the string/ribbon through the holes and tie it off to create a loop.
- Lastly, hang your DIY ornaments on your tree.
There you go! Three super easy DIY Christmas ornaments that will give you a gorgeous-looking Christmas tree. I LOVE the pop of color the orange slices give and the texture that the popcorn and cranberries garland adds to my tree. The two salt ornaments of my dogs’ paw prints turned out so cute and I look forward to pulling those out to hang on our tree for many years. So if you are looking for something a little different this year to decorate your Christmas tree, try out one or all three of these super easy DIY ornaments. Happy crafting!