Our Home Spun Christmas, Part 2. Easy, Frugal Christmas Ornaments

          Most of us like to mix a variety into our lives, you know, to spice things up a bit.  What better way to not only add a variety to your Christmas decor, but also create memories with your loved ones than to sit down and make decorations with them?  These all cost less than $5 each, most of them cost less than $1 per project!  They may even be free if you have the right "junk" laying around your house.  They can be for your own tree, or even a gift for someone you love.


 The first project involves a whole lot of buttons in a variety of sizes.  I had bought a giant can of buttons to make a garland with, and even after 3 projects it is still half full.  These trees each used about 8 buttons or so.  I looked for a variety of colors too in order to make them pop.  Simply stack and string.  I ran a piece of green embroidery floss through 2 of each button's holes to add a little stability.  You may tie between each button to make your tree more secure, but it makes the tree look a bit lopsided when set on a flat surface.  Tie the thread at the top of the button tree, and top with a star bead.  Tie again to secure the bead in place.  Mine were free because I had them laying around the house from other projects.
Same idea for this tree.  I used a brown pipe cleaner as a trunk, in place of the sting in the previous project.  It also anchors the tree in the pot, I simply folded up a bit of the leftover pipe cleaner to fit the container. The wooden pot was a 30 cent find in a clearance bin at one of the local craft stores.  String buttons on pipe cleaner and line up the buttons.  It may be trickier to find buttons for this project since the button holes need to be big enough to fit the pipe cleaner.


        Speaking of pipe cleaners, aren't these adorable?  Each pipe cleaner comes in a 12  inch length.  You can buy variety packs of these with several different colors in them and they sell for less than $1 for the whole bag.  If you snip a pipe cleaner into 3 equal lengths at 4 inches each, you can get a dozen ornaments out of 6 pipe cleaners.  These literally took me about 2 minutes to make from cutting to twisting.  Pipe cleaners can be snipped with scissors if you must, but it will be much harder to cut with them than if you use a tool meant for the job.
        I measured each length with a ruler and snipped right at the 4 inch mark.  Begin twisting the red and white piper cleaners equally or you will have a leftover section of pipe cleaner at the end.  They can be tightly twisted like this one or loosely twisted.  I think they would also be cute if a bow was tied on these.  Bend over the top inch or so into a hook shape.  The great thing is they are already ready to hang on the tree too, no hanger needed!
        Buttons and twine are inexpensive crafting materials that many people already have laying around their house.  I made a garland for our Christmas tree with these materials.
         I cut the twine to measure a 9 foot length (a standard measure for many garlands it seems).  Every 6 inches, I tied a button onto the twine, first making a knot around the twine to secure the string to the twine, then tying the button on.  I used a crisscross pattern to secure the buttons to the twine making my knots on the back side of the button.  It should be noted that if you use a finer stringing material you may not need to use two different materials, but that would make a flimsier garland.  I also want to note, that if you will not be using this garland right away please securely wrap it around an empty paper towel tube or section of newspaper as it tangles easily.  Buttons tend to be a bit heavy, so you may want to tie one onto both sides of the garland.
  
        Doll pins come in packs with multiple pins in them.  They may also be labeled old fashioned clothes pins.  No matter what you call them, they make the cutest ornaments ever.  I got my pack of these MANY years ago at a garage sale or something so I can't accurately quote you a price on these, but I made these with my Sunday School kids when my son was in first grade as part of the Christmas story.  That was 8 years ago...  If I recall correctly they took about 10-15 minutes to make.
        Anyway, you need scraps of felt, yarn, tag board, and twine, hot glue, paint or permanent markers, and some doll pins.  If desired, you may also choose a material you would like to use for a halo for the angel.  I used a gold metallic pipe cleaner.  The felt scraps, angel winds, and halos were pre-made for this project because of the time constraints of our crafting time, so those may affect the amount of time this project takes you to make.
     First, measure a scrap of felt to fit the bottom length of the doll pin and cut it out.  If you don't have felt scraps, a 8x10 piece of felt costs about 20 cents.  Hot glue the clothing on your pin, pressing firmly onto the glue immediately.  This will be hot, so if you have youngsters working with you an adult may want to fill this function.  Tie on a belt if desired.  Add wings if desired, securing with hot glue.
        Next, select your hair.  This may be either yarn or a head covering like my Shepard is wearing.  Secure with hot glue.  Add your halo also securing with hot glue at this time, if desired.
        Hot glue your ornament hanger onto the back of the head of your  ornament.
       Draw or paint your face last unless it can sit quite some time prior to gluing the hanger onto the back of the head, as it may smudge otherwise.


            Another fun use for old fashioned pins is the reindeer.  This one is a really quick and easy project that even the littlest kids can make.  I made these with the toddlers I did daycare with about 12 or 13 years ago.  I had the children paint the clothes pin.  If you have time constraints you can always just use markers, though I would never advise giving a permanent marker to a toddler, they do work well to color wooden pieces.
        Let it dry, then gave them the pieces to glue onto it.  Some of them had noses and eyes in very interesting locations.   This was a one on one project so I could make sure the eyes and noses did not get swallowed.  I told them what it was, "this is the reindeer's nose", let them place it, then glued it myself with regular school glue.  All of my pieces were made out of felt for safety purposes, though tiny pompoms, google eyes, or paint with small paint brushes would work well for older individuals.  The hangers were added by myself while the children were having nap time and placed in small paper bags that the children had decorated as gifts to their parents for Christmas.
          The last item is a gift I made for each of the toddlers when my daughter was in the toddler room as their Christmas gift.  I had 25 toddlers (though never more than 21 at any given time)
          I cut tree shapes out of green felt, hot glued strips of rickrack on in bright colors, and placed sequins and bows as the ornaments also securing with hot glue.  The hanger was also hot glued on.  I used a small strip if metallic thread.  I placed one into a card that I gave to each family.  I am sure a toddler would easily dismantle these if allowed to, so I am hoping the parents just took care of them.
         I hope I gave you some fun, inexpensive project ideas to make with the children in your life!  Enjoy, and have a very Merry Christmas!

        Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. Please leave me a message, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Cindy

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