17 DIY Christmas Tree Decoration Ideas • Insteading

The holidays are a season of giving, so why not give back to the earth (and your wallet) by skipping out on the revolving door of disposable Christmas decor? 

Instead, try your hand at reusing the things you already have lying around the house, and create a beautiful, DIY Christmas tree decoration. You can adorn a tree in lovely homemade ornaments knowing you’re doing your part to protect the planet.

Important Details to Consider When Making Christmas Tree Decorations

Before you jump into your Christmas tree decoration DIY, you need a plan that ensures success. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

Christmas Tree Decoration Type

Are you going for a colorful, kid-friendly tree with lots of novelty? Or maybe something a little more “shabby chic?” 

The theme you choose will influence the type of DIY Christmas tree decorations you want to create. 

For example, colorful T-shirt pom-poms and salt dough handprint ornaments are ideal for a family memories theme. 

At the same time, felt coffee cups and ugly Christmas sweaters are darling for a passionate crafter to showcase their skills with a glue gun.

Choose crafts that work together to create a theme for the ultimate homemade holiday aesthetic. 

Types of Materials Used

Get creative with sourcing your materials! 

  • Junk drawers
  • Garden shed 
  • Garage
  • Craft box 

You may be surprised by how many bits and baubles you have lying around, waiting for the chance to be repurposed into a DIY decoration for Christmas tree enthusiasts. 

Start a box of possible supplies and keep it in an easily accessible spot. Every time you come across something you think shows promise for your crafting, toss it in the bin. 

Then, when you’re ready to get your hands dirty with hot glue and glitter, you don’t have to waste time hunting down materials. 

Tree Size and Placement

DIY Christmas tree decoration ideas need somewhere to hang out once you’re all done breathing life into them.

When it comes to size, a good rule of thumb is choosing a tree at least 6 inches shorter than your ceiling, topper included. Most homes have 8- to 9-foot ceilings, so a 7- to 7½-foot tree would leave plenty of clearance even with a 12-inch angel on top. 

Once you’ve picked a size, you need to find a spot to set up. First, don’t be afraid to rearrange the space to accommodate your tree. It should be the centerpiece in your home. Display it prominently. 

That said, avoid placing it in front of windows. In the winter, we’re desperately short on daylight hours, so choose a spot for your tree that allows all that gorgeous, natural light to shine through.

Of course, keep it away from radiators, fireplaces, or any other heat sources that might create a hazard. 

Other Considerations

Ask elderly loved ones or busy best friends if they’d be willing to let you organize their garage, attic, or craft room in exchange for you snagging some of the cast-off supplies gathering dust. 

Not only will you make someone’s day, but you’ll also avoid spending any extra green on trimming your tree. 

Free DIY Christmas Tree Decoration Ideas to Consider

Need a little inspiration to get started? Try out these 17 DIY Christmas tree decoration ideas.

Salt Dough Ornaments

You can create these adorable ornaments with just three ingredients and a little imagination. 

Whip up a batch of hard-drying salt dough with all-purpose flour, table salt, and water, then roll it out like cookie dough. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters, punch a hole in the top for your hanging ribbon, bake, and decorate.

T-Shirt Pom-Poms

pom pom ornament
photo courtesy of nola wedlake

Before you haul off your next donation to the local thrift store, keep back a few of your favorite T-shirts for these darling little baubles. 

All you need is a scissor, index card, and a little twine to fill a tree with fluffed pom poms in a full spectrum of colors. 

If you have some glitter or sequins, consider adding sparkle for an extra special touch. 

Cinnamon Stick Bundles

Cinnamon Stick Bundles
photo courtesy of consider the peel

Who knew that adding a little glitter and some jute twine to a bundle of cinnamon sticks could be so charming?

Any avid baker is sure to have a few bags of cinnamon sticks tucked away in a cabinet, but if you’re all out, swap them for a few sturdy twigs instead. 

Glittering Pine Cones

Glittering Pine Cones
photo courtesy of the spruce crafts

This ornament is an ultra rustic, effortless DIY Christmas tree decoration. 

Recruit your little ones to get all bundled up, then squirrel around in the yard finding the best and biggest pine cones. If you’re brave enough, you could even let them pour the glitter as a special treat for doing such an outstanding job.

Lightbulb Snowman

Lightbulb Snowman
photo courtesy of always the holidays

Next time a light bulb burns out, wrap it safely in a sock or soft cloth, and then tuck it away somewhere safe for this charming upcycled snowman decor.

The best part is that this little guy looks professionally made, but in reality, it’s as easy as putting down a few coats of paint and cutting up a scrap of felt. Spend some time digging through your fabric scraps and choose some of the cutest designs to mix up the snowman’s winter gear.

Hot Cocoa Felt Ornament

Hot Cocoa Felt Ornament
photo courtesy of flamingo toes

Is there anything better than snuggling up with a cup of hot cocoa, a Christmas cookie, and your favorite holiday movie?

Bring all that coziness to your Christmas tree with a hand-stitched mug complete with marshmallow friends. It’s an easy beginner project for older kids to learn basic sewing techniques, like cutting patterns and making a whip stitch.

Rustic DIY Reindeer Christmas Tree Decoration

Rustic DIY Reindeer Christmas Tree Decoration
photo courtesy of DIY n crafts

Repurposed wood is a traditional craft material, and these reindeer pals give you an excuse for getting rid of smaller logs you might have cluttering up the woodpile. 

If you’re hesitant to fire up the chainsaw, you can chat with your local lumberyard or woodworking hobbyists in the neighborhood about taking scraps off their hands.

Mason Jar Ring Map

Mason Jar Ring Map
photo courtesy of Happy Mothering

Thanks to our smartphones, there are plenty of long-forgotten maps tucked into glove boxes and trunks just waiting to be recycled into Christmas ornaments.

These are unique gifts for a loved one who lives out of state. Send them one with your location (and you hang on to one with their city featured). Even when you can’t share the holidays in person, you’ll always have a little bit of long-distance love on the Christmas tree.

Felt Coffee Cup Ornaments

Felt Coffee Cup Ornaments
photo courtesy of Amy Latta Creations

Prefer a cuppa joe over a mug of cocoa? You won’t have to feel guilty about using this disposable coffee cup because you’ll pull it out year after year from your Christmas storage boxes. 

This ornament is even more accessible than the hot cocoa one. You can skip the stitching and hot glue everything together.

Cookie Cutter Ornaments

When it’s time to retire those beloved cookie cutters, you don’t have to condemn them to life in your little one’s play kitchen or in a heap at the local landfill. 

Instead, show them the love they deserve for their years of faithful service with a super easy DIY decoration that can help you get rid of some leftover scrapbook paper.

Christmas Tree Decoration DIY Ribbon Garland

Christmas Tree Decoration DIY Ribbon Garland
photo courtesy of the DIY mommy

Jazz up your Christmas evergreen by skipping the tinsel and swapping rolls of wide ribbon. You can use this idea for a striped tree as a DIY outdoor Christmas decoration. Just wrap it around the tree to create a festive look. 

You’ll want to use a wired variety, as it gives you better control of the draping and helps keep the ribbon tucked between the branches.

Scrabble Letter Ornaments

Dig out the Scrabble game from the bottom of the cupboard and reuse the letters to spell out seasonal messages. 

Once you’ve nailed that triple letter score, it’s time to add a dash of jolly. This outdoor DIY Christmas tree decoration offers many options. You can dress them up with scrapbook stickers, add dainty bows, or create horizontal hangers with button-and-felt mistletoe.

Rustic Twig Ornaments

Rustic Twig Ornaments
photo courtesy of the DIY dreamer

Turn your yard of twigs into a blizzard of snowflakes or a smattering of stars. 

These homespun ornaments are as natural (and inexpensive) as it gets, so they’re perfect for a “cozy cabin” Christmas theme, especially when combined with other rustic DIY Christmas tree decorations like the reindeer woodcuts or glittering cinnamon stick bundles.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters Ornaments

Take your love for ugly Christmas sweaters beyond the wardrobe and into your holiday interior design. 

You can make hangers out of craft wire or paper clips, then deck out the front of felt sweaters with any knick-knacks you have hiding in drawers. 

In case you don’t have any mini jingle bells or tiny string lights tucked away somewhere, get creative with a scissor, and create the tacky sweater of your dreams.

Paper Candles

Paper Candles
photo courtesy of the house that lars built

As pretty as it would be, hanging lit candles on a Christmas tree is a recipe for disaster. But, with some metallic cupcake liners, thick paper, and a dash of glitter, you can get that cozy feeling without risking a house fire. 

Don’t worry about making a craft store run for special clips. Use mini clothespins, binder clips, or even small snap barrettes to secure faux, flameless candles to your Douglas Fir.

Dried Orange Slice Garland

Dried Orange Slice Garland
photo courtesy of dear lillie studio

The dried citrus garland is a traditional holiday decoration dating back to Germany in the 1600s. 

It’s easy to understand why it’s still going strong when you experience that dreamy citrus scent wafting through your home, or see the light sparkling through the stained glass — like slices of a Cara Cara or Seville. 

This garland is a straightforward idea that makes a huge impact.

DIY Christmas Tree Door Decoration

DIY Christmas Tree Door Decoration
photo courtesy of simplicity in the south

Spread the cheer before your guests even step inside your upcycled winter wonderland with a Christmas bulb door hanger.

It’s a sustainable way to repurpose old bulbs that may have lost a bit of their luster, or to give a sneak preview of your interior design.

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