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18 Upcycled Christmas Ornaments

The easiest way to save on your holiday budget is by using what you already have. But, if your old ornaments just aren’t doing it for you anymore, there are plenty of ways to give them a little update. Plus, I’ve found several projects to recycle other materials you already have lying around.

Many of these crafts are simple enough for children and would make a great activity for winter break! I know I’ll be looking for ways to entertain the girls this week, as I finish up my own last minute holiday projects and wrapping.


  • Button Wreath 1 of 18
    Button Wreath
    String buttons on wire to create this wreath ornament. I love the look of the red & green, but I think you could create some fun ornaments with whatever leftover buttons you have around.
    Tutorial at Penelope Waits
  • Cookie Cutters 2 of 18
    Cookie Cutters
    Put all those extra cookie cutters to use on the tree! I actually let the girls hang a few of ours on the tree on their own, but I love the idea of turning them into picture frames.
    Tutorial at Martha Stewart
  • Filled Ornaments 3 of 18
    Filled Ornaments
    A package of clear balls and a few leftover craft supplies create these fun ornaments. We've used feathers, glitter, and curled ribbons for home projects, but I am loving this ornament that showcases a wedding invitation. I'm hoping I can find one of ours tucked away somewhere.
    Wedding Invitation Ornament tutorial at From Glitter to Gumdrops
  • Golden Snitch 4 of 18
    Golden Snitch
    Our first tree featured several colored balls, including a few gold ornaments we still have lying around. I totally want to add glitter & tissue paper to make this Golden Snitch.
    Golden Snitch ornament tutorial at Tiny Apartment Crafts
  • Hot Glue Snowman 5 of 18
    Hot Glue Snowman
    This is a fun project for kids — a puddle of glue and a few leftover beads make for an adorable melting snowman.
    Hot glue snowman tutorial at Craft Elf
  • Juice Lid Photo Ornament 6 of 18
    Juice Lid Photo Ornament
    I know, I know. I mentioned this one already as a class party idea, but I just love it that much! I think I'll let the girls have some fun with the empty lids we're about to have.
    Juice Lid Photo ornament tutorial at The Crafting Chicks
  • Painted Ornaments 7 of 18
    Painted Ornaments
    Pour a bit of paint inside a clear ornament, then twist & turn for amazing designs. We have been doing this for years, and the ornaments always come out different but so pretty.
    Painted ornaments tutorial at A Yellow Bicycle
  • Puzzle Piece Candy Cane 8 of 18
    Puzzle Piece Candy Cane
    I can't even begin to tell you how often I pickup random puzzle pieces off the floor. What a cute way to reuse them!
    Puzzle piece candy cane tutorial at Family Crafts
  • Revamped Balls 9 of 18
    Revamped Balls
    A little glitter and glue will breathe new life into old ornaments. This is another one I'm going to let the girls tackle over winter break.
    Instructions for revamping ornaments at Inexpensively
  • Santa Ball 10 of 18
    Santa Ball
    Add felt and glitter glue to a red ornament, and you've got Santa!
    How cute is that?
    Santa Ball tutorial at Our Forever House
  • Scrabble Tiles 11 of 18
    Scrabble Tiles
    If you've got an old Scrabble game lying around, these holiday word ornaments are so fun! Glue your words to the wood rack and add a ribbon for hanging. I'm not even planning to paint mine.
    Scrabble tile ornament tutorial at Instructables
  • Sea Shells 12 of 18
    Sea Shells
    I can't believe how simple it is to turn sea shells into ornaments. We have a collection from beach trips past that would be fun to hang on the tree.
    Sea shell ornament tutorial at Martha Stewart
  • Snowflake Buttons 13 of 18
    Snowflake Buttons
    Wire + buttons = snowflake! And, it's so easy to do.
    Button snowflake tutorial at Shanty 2 Chic
  • Snowman Light Bulb 14 of 18
    Snowman Light Bulb
    This snowman is too cute! I love the idea of turning old light bulbs into something new. You can even paint a few penguin light bulbs to go with your snowman.
    Snowman light bulb tutorial at Kelsey Bang
  • Snow Globe 15 of 18
    Snow Globe
    Here's a fun twist on the filled ornaments — faux snow & ribbon. I'm actually working on a project with the same concept that features sand & tiny shells to commemorate last year's Myrtle Beach trip.
    Snow globe ornament tutorial at Curbly
  • Sparkle Print 16 of 18
    Sparkle Print
    Mod podge vintage pages or tissue paper, then add glitter, for these gorgeous sparkle print ornaments.
    Sparkle print ornament tutorial at Flea Market Style
  • Spool Wish List 17 of 18
    Spool Wish List
    Commemorate your child's Christmas list with an empty spool and paper. It's such a fun & unique way to watch kids grow on the Christmas tree.
    Wish List ornament tutorial at Craft Snob
  • Vintage Toys 18 of 18
    Vintage Toys
    This is genius! You can expand the concept far beyond wooden puzzles. Just attach string to any small toys you'd like to preserve as a keepsake.
    Vintage toy ornaments via Creature Comforts Blog

Photo Credit: Honeybear Lane, guest posting for Craft Snob

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