Homemade: Ornaments Part 1

I’m not sure how I got started making Christmas ornaments, but I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. My mom and other relatives got in on the act also, as this early ornament proves. It was given to me as a child, and it has been a part of my Christmas tradition ever since.


As you can see, not all of these ornaments are particularly fancy. My aunt Rosamond made this one for me by sticking some sequins into a styrofoam ball with pins, and then writing my name with a pen. Though it might not be elegant, it’s a treasured relic of Christmas Past. I called my aunt “Ro-Ro” when I was little because her name was too much for me to pronounce. Nobody has called me Davey in years!

My mother was into making ornaments too. She made quite a few using plastic beads and pipe cleaners, like this wreath, which is one of my favorites.

wreath ornament made from beads and pipe cleaner

wreath with candle (1970’s)

Many of my earlier ornaments used beads and sequins, with foam bases. This is one from the early 1970’s. The base is a disk-shaped piece of smooth foam. The tassel is metal. It must have taken me forever to pin everything on the foam.

bead and sequin ornament, circa 1970

bead and sequin ornament, circa 1970’s

Here is another one I made from the same era, with sequins and a gold braid pinned on a foam bell shape. Both of these were one-of-a-kind creations I dreamed up myself.

bell with sequins and braid, 1970

bell with sequins and braid, 1970’s

I’ve used a lot of different materials over the years. When I was heavily into woodworking, my ornaments were often made of wood, like this scroll-sawed dove made of thin maple. This pattern came from a magazine article. I remember there were several other patterns in the article, but this one ornament is all I ever made.

scroll saw dove, 1990

scroll saw dove, 1990’s

All of these ornaments are adorning our trees this year. I’ll show a few more 21st century ornaments in a Part 2 post next week. In the meantime, I need to work on an ornament for 2009!

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5 Responses to Homemade: Ornaments Part 1

  1. Nell Jean says:

    How wonderful to see some of your collection. I too have ornaments going back 40 years or more, mostly one of a kind made just to try out a new idea or pattern. Please show lots more.

  2. Hello,

    I just love this post! Homemade ornaments do mean so much. Each year I remember how little my children used to be when I hang up the ornaments they made for me years ago.

  3. One of the greatest things about our Christmas tree is reliving all the memories that come with the ornaments. We had no ornaments for our tree the first year we were married, 34 years ago. And no money to buy any. So we had a party, and we and our friends made a bunch of ornaments. It was lots of fun, and we still have many of them.

    • Villager says:

      You are so right about the memories. Every ornament has a story for me. My mother worked for a paint store store that sold Christmas decorations, and she brought home many different ornaments over the years. I always put a few of those on the trees each year too. This year we have the fir tree we picked out at the tree farm, plus a smaller artificial silver tree on the fireplace mantel. We could easily fill several more tree with all the ornaments we have collected over the years.

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