Saturday, November 8, 2008

Recycled Christmas Crafts: Ornaments

I've discovered a fun new way to fuel my passion with handmade crafts. Recycled Christmas ornaments!
No, not antique, re-gifted or one-man's-trash-is-another-man's-treasure "Hey look what I found in the dumpster!" sort of recylced.
But a way to find NEW uses for those things that seemed to have fulfilled their only purpose.
For the past few years those things have been light bulbs and baby food jars.
(I can't believe I haven't blogged about these before, as least I don't think I have as I can't seem to find the pages ANYWHERE but if I am repeating myself forgive me for I know not what I do. Having babies makes your brains fall out.)
(Back to the ornaments!)
They're fun, easy and best of all CHEAP & oh-so GREEN!
The internetz is full of ideas and patterns. With a little searching you're sure to find a project you can do, or become inspired to make up one of your own.
PAY ATTENTION 'cuz I am about to divulge all of my secrets to you.

Last year, inspired by my daughter's love of all things Mumble, I made this Penguin ornament:

I adapted and simplified the pattern from several other penguin light bulb ornaments I found online. The only materials needed were the paints and toddler socks which were used for the hats. (Trimmed, cuffed over and hot glued into place then tied off with the silver rope ribbing.) I make and give ornaments as gifts every year to family and friends, and since socks come in so many different colors, each of these little guys was able to get his own color/patterned hat!

The year before I had an infant who was making her way into solid foods. I had baby food coming out of my EARS! Literally and figuratively. So I found a way to re-use the jars and made these tealight ornaments:

I made this one up as I went along. Basic instructions can be found at the bottom of this post. Oh yeah, and I still have BOXES of these jars stored in my sunroom thanks to donations from the Moms in my daughter's playgroup so... yeah, there WILL be more baby food jar ornaments for years to come.

And this is the bugger that started it all, in 2004.

Instructions for The Grinch light bulb ornament can be found here. All I have to say about this is THANK GAWD for tracing paper! This was the most involved of all the paint jobs I have ever done. But totally worth it.

Baby Food Jar Snowman Ornament/Tea Light Holder

Start with a clean stage 1 baby food far (label removed).
Cover it with the paint-on snow. Apply it thick and sloppy to give it texture.
Let dry overnight.
Meanwhile... make little carrot noses out of orange molding clay (bake according to package directions).
Next day, use black dimensional fabric paint to dot on eyes and mouth and use a dab of hot-glue to attach the nose.
Wrap soldering wire around top of the jar and bend into hanger.
Hot glue black velvet ribbon around the top.
Drop in a battery-operated tea light. Hang on tree, place on your mantel or shelf and enjoy! We always put ours on tree first, then keep it out as Winter decoration once the tree is tossed.
(Note: We tried using a real tea light but the wire hanger gets VERY hot.)

Who says it's not easy being green?
As for this year, you'll just have to wait and see.
(Mostly because I have no idea what I will be making yet.)


macocha said...

Oh my gosh - those are awesome! I might steal your ideas if I get a creative bone in my body and get motivation!

movin' down the road said...

Oh my gosh, I love the grinch one! Brilliant! We have ornaments from when I was a kid and every year the kids get to pick a new one out and add it to the tree. We have WAY too many. But I like the idea to do as gifts!

Kalle said...

What a cool idea. I love the tealight ornanment.

Amanda Petite Mommy said...

The Grinch idea is great. If I could paint I'd give it a try.

cb said...

Those ornaments look cute.

bemoreonline said...

I love crafts that are one-of-a-kind, recycle stuff AND look professional !!! Thank you for sharing !!

Bangkok Hotels said...

Hey Wicked Stepmom, this is a great article, I must say. It's time to pack away the decorations and say goodbye to the Christmas tree. St. Louis has three locations in the city where you can recycle your Christmas tree. A cut tree should last as long as 5 weeks when watered properly. Remember to recycle your Christmas tree after you have enjoyed it.

Nanny to 12 said...

My granddaughter & I have been making light bulb ornaments for 9 years. She makes they as gifts for all her Aunts. It's become a tradition and even at the age of 16 she still is looking forward to this years' creation. Things we have made. snowman,angel,santa,elf,reindeer,penguin,dog,
polar bear fishing,xmas tree.

christmas gift crafts said...

Such a nice collections/information about toys,here i have got more about different type of toys and gifts for the kids like christmas gift crafts, Creative toys,light up toys, personalised kids gifts and many more...

Anonymous said...

These look great!
And it's always, always nicer to have handcrafter things on the Christmas Tree :)

Anonymous said...

Have you tried using the fingers from magic knit gloves for the penguin hat? I wonder if they will work. I am making 100 of these with the third graders at my school.

Kelsey said...

These are adorable! I am hosting a Christmas series on my blog and would absolutely LOVE it if you would share this tutorial with my readers! My blog is if you'd like to check it out. If you want, you can email at

Tracy Babington said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tracy Babington said...

Can you please tell me what kind of decorative snow you use? Is it the spray can kind you use to decorate doors and windows? Doesn't that just wipe off? Any help would be much appreciated as I would love to make the Grinch ornament for my mom this Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tracy, I don't use the spray snow cuz you're right, it would wipe off. I use a textured snow that comes in a tub...and has fine glitter in it for some added sparkle. I don't recall the brand name, but I think it might be called "glitter snow." I have purchased it at Michael's stores.

Good luck! Let me know how they come out.


Pepper Caselman said...

I hope you don't mind that I use your Grinch idea? I do have to ask what you used for the snow look on his hat? I can not find anything around here so I mixed cornstarch, rough glitter, white paint, and school glue. It works but not as well and I can't see the glitter regardless how much I use. Thank you