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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Making 'Natural' Ornaments

Thistles, Pinecones, Leaves, Sticks, Wood Scraps and Nuts!

You can't get more natural than that, can you?

These are ornaments that I made quite a few years ago. These first two are made from thistles. You see them growing along side the road all the time. In the summer they are pretty and purple, now they are drab and brown and dried up, but they are still beautiful in their own natural way. But be warned, they are prickly! If you are not sure what to look for, check them out on google images and lots of photos will come up for you to see.

You can pretty much tell how to make the following ornaments by looking at the finished product.

I spray painted the thistles gold. You could choose any color you wish. On this first one get a small piece of lace and hand baste a length of thread through the top of it, pull on the thread and gather it together and sew a few stitches to make it stay. Glue this 'hat' of lace to the top of the thistle, tie a little ribbon bow and glue it on top and then glue on a wire hanger. You can glue the wire hanger on first and put the lace on top of it, if you wish. Voila!

This next one is a little more complicated, but still easy. I saw ornaments like this at Tamarack one time and they were selling for an outrageous price. I said to myself, "I can make these." Cut out a circle from muslin material, baste thread around the edges, put a handful of cotton in the middle, pull the thread together and tack it to make the body. Glue a little piece of lace around the top of it for her collar, make a bow with raffia and glue on the back for her wings. Lay a small thistle on it's side and glue it on top for her head, glue a little string of pearls around the top of her head for a halo and glue tiny black seed beads on her thistle head for eyes and nose. Glue a piece of wire on the back for a hanger.

Next is a pine cone snowman. I love these. If you've gotten your cones outside, condition them by putting them on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven for around 30 minutes. This will open them up and get the sap out and kill any critters that may be hiding inside. Keep an eye on them while in the oven. Allow them to cool.

I painted mine white and glued on small buttons here and there on the tips. Hot glue a wooden ball on the fat end of it for the head. Paint it white and paint a face on it. Make a hat and scarf out of scrap materials. Make a hanger out of ribbon and glue it onto the back of the snowman.

Angels can be made by spraying the pine cones gold. I glued a hazel nut on for the head. I used artificial leaves cut from an old bunch of flowers and glued them onto the back for wings. An artificial holly bunch would work good for this. You probably could even use real holly leaves and spray them gold. I glued a little piece of string pearls around her neck for a necklace and you can use anything you want to glue around her head for the halo. Glue a ribbon on the back for a hanger. Everything will be spray painted gold, so it doesn't matter a lot what you use for her adornment. I made a lot of these one year. You can tell they are not as shiny as they used to be, because I made them a long time ago.

I made this angel out of a scrap piece of wood! I had the adults in vacation Bible school make these one year out of scrap pieces of old wood from the old church floor that was replaced. They loved them. Leave the bottom of the wood natural and paint a small top section flesh color for her face. Paint a face on her. I had pipe cleaners that looked like a pine branch, I cut them and glued them around her neck, you could also use plain green pipe cleaners. I cut strands of yarn and tied them together around the middle and glued it on top of her head for her hair. Again I used a small piece of string pearls for her halo and I glued a wire on the back of her head and wrapped the other end of it around a wooden star that I painted gold. I cut two pieces of ribbon for her arms and glued them to the side of the wood stick, just under the green pine. I tied them together at the bottom for her hands and glued them and two tiny roses against her body. For her halo I doubled a paper doily in half and glued to the back. You could also make a bow with raffia for her wings.

This next star is very simple. Use sticks or grape vine pieces. Cut them into the size you want and wrap strips of scrap material around them. Glue the ends of the scrap material onto the sticks. Place the sticks into a star shape and hot glue together. If you want, you could omit the material or you could spray paint the sticks gold.

Some of these are a little easier to make than others. Some could be made very easily by the novice crafter. The thistle with lace, pine cone angels and star are very easy to make. I used a hot glue gun when making these projects. You can always add your own special touches and make them a little different than I did. I showed these to inspire you and give you ideas of how you can make ornaments using things found outside around you.

Here is a picture of an artificial holly bunch and the string of pearls I used for the wings and necklaces and halos of the angels.

Here is a tip for painting eyes. Dip the blunt end of the paint brush into the black paint and quickly dot it on for the eye. You may want to dot it on a piece of paper first, in case you have too much paint on it or for making a practice eye. Then get a toothpick and put it in the white paint and use it to make the white dot of the eye.

Have you made these before? Let me know if you give any of them a try.

Happy crafting!


  1. Janet,
    I thought I was having a crafty day!!! You really out did yourself. What a lot of great ideas and all so cute.
    NANCY Jo

  2. I like all of those, Janet! The little thistle on is so cute. My daughter has been painting sweetgum balls and making a lot of ornaments out of them. Yesterday, hubby brought home some acorns that are bigger than the ones here at the house, so I'm trying to think of what to do with them.

  3. Oh I don't know which ornament I like the best. You've really outdone yourself - they're all so cute!! I am always so inspired by you. Thanks for I really must get my glue and spray paints out...

  4. Cute, cute, cute! And thanks for that tip on how to get the critters out of the pine cones. Never knew that, but will use it next time I find some. xxoo

  5. I love the angel with the thistle head and muslin body. The snowmen pinecones are cute and so easy, but I would never have thought of it. I have a tree with all snowmen, but haven't put it up for several years. It was my mother's favorite tree of mine. I used to put trees in every room but just can't get in the spirit last few years.

  6. What cute ornaments. I just found your blog. I am in WV as well- Pocahontas County!! I am going to try and make some of these ornaments with my boys!

  7. All of these are great ideas. And so cute! You are a very creative person!

  8. I love them all-but the angels are my favorite. I don't think I've made any of the ones you've shown-but now I know how : )

  9. What a great list of "natural" decor ideas! I love them all, very clever!
    thanks for sharing. I'd like to feature this in my Christmas decorations pinterest board, if it's allowed. Cheers!

    1. I am glad you liked them. You may share on your pinterest board.


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