the papercraft lab

Super Easy Christmas Craft and Gift: Toddler-Painted Ornaments


Whew! I needed a few days' break after blogging EVERY DAY through Week in the Life :) I'm going to write about Christmas crafts in my next few posts, because next week I'm going to be a guest on a podcast talking about making gifts for Christmas. (More on that in a few days!)

Due to the giant house remodel last year all my craft stuff was packed away, so we did minimal crafting around the holidays. The project I'm sharing is from 2012, when T was 3 and M had just been born. (That seems like a really, really long time ago.)

We have a well-loved fake tree that is high on sentimental value and low on interior design value. We will never have one of those "decorator" matchy-matchy Christmas trees with a theme. Each year we choose either white or colored lights (I abhor mixing the two) and more than half of our ornaments have some kind of personal significance. Many are from my childhood.

In 2012 I wanted to make some ornaments for our tree with T. I saw some cute plywood ornaments in holiday-themed shapes at Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts that were less than 50 cents each so I bought a bunch, letting T choose the shapes.

I liked them because they had some dimension to them - they weren't purely flat, but had a large enough surface to be painted.

We used washable kids tempera paint and I limited her to four colors since we only have four of those fantastic no-spill paint cups (best kid purchase ever, hands down!). She chose red, green, light blue and white - a perfect palette for Christmas, right?

I also mixed in some Colorations glitter paint additive, which is awesome because it's super-sparkly and doesn't flake off.

Funny story - we got this paint additive by accident when a box meant for a preschool showed up at our house. Discount School Supply insisted on sending a new box to the school and told us just to keep this one and it was a *festival* of crafty fun. We still have a lot of the paper and paint.

I gave T paintbrushes of varying sizes so she could experiment. IKEA has a great, cheap set of thin paintbrushes for kids. It took about a day for the ornaments to dry completely. I even made a few myself! (My painting skills are only marginally better than 3yo T's were.)

Once they were totally dry, I gave her two sheets of adhesive gems from Target to decorate the painted ornaments, and we worked together to spell out names with glittery letter stickers that I had in my plentiful scrapbooking supply stash.

Each member of our family (including the dogs!) got a personalized ornament, and we made some for T's grandparents and aunt as well, which we included in their Christmas gift packages.

I wrote the year on the back with a Sharpie so we'd remember when we made them, as I intend to hang them up on our tree as long as they're in good shape!

This year we'll be making ornaments using a kit by Kid Made Modern at Target and they're supposed to look like stained glass. I found it for half price after Christmas last year so the girls are excited about finally getting to use it!

Do you make ornaments for your own tree?

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