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How to Make Ornaments Using Stuff from Your Backyard

How to Make Ornaments Using Stuff from Your Backyard main article image
Posted on November 30, 2022 by Jennifer Carroll

I have recently acquired a huge surplus of wood. Well, tree branches, really. We live in SW Florida and as you may know, we were hit with a category 4 hurricane on September 28th. Almost every hundred-year-old tree on our property fell. If the tree itself didn’t fall, the heavy canopy of leaves and branches did. It was a very scary experience, and we are thankful to be alive. However, it is still quite jarring to come home to the mess all around us every day. We’re certainly not alone because everybody around us is going through the same thing in varying degrees.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that I would need to craft my way through this wood pile. It is a practical way to use up literally tons of wood and crafting is very therapeutic. The best way to deal with my stress and anxiety was to get back in my workshop and start creating.

I didn’t need to go further than my backyard (or my front yard or side yard) to find my materials.

How to Make Ornaments Using Materials from Your Backyard

Wood Round Snowmen

  1. We don’t have the opportunity to make snowmen very often in Florida, and I was excited about the possibility of offering these at our October shows.
  2. I chose limbs of three circumference sizes, then my husband cut them into manageable size logs with the chain saw.
  3. Then I took them to my chop saw and cut them into pieces that were roughly an inch thick.
  4. To secure the three pieces together, I used wood glue and a brad nail. I applied wood glue to the bottom piece.
  5. Before it was dry, a used my brad nail gun to secure the two together, then I repeated the process for the top piece.
  6. Wood glue is probably enough to keep these together, but since I made these items in bulk, I didn’t have time to wait for glue to dry.
  7. While I was gathering branches to turn into logs, I also gathered a few twigs so that my snow men could have arms.
  8. I used the tips of the twigs to make tiny noses. I wanted it to be obvious that these were made from tree branches. People love a good story and “Hurricane Snowmen” have been a big hit at our Fall shows.
  9. I chose some twigs that were bent and a few straight ones too, then I drilled holes where the two arms should be and squeezed a drop of wood glue in each hole before I pushed the twigs into place.
  10. I painted the tips of my twig noses orange and waited for the paint to dry.
  11. I wanted my snowmen to resemble birchwood, so I gave them a light coat of white paint.
  12. After they dried, I drilled a small hole for the nose and inserted the little orange twigs.
  13. I used a black paint pen with a fine tip to add a face to my snowmen. You can stop right here, or you can add embellishments.
  14. I used floral wire and pom poms to give my backyard ornaments a cozy pair of earmuffs.

Note: After I cut the pieces the sizes that I needed, I dried them in my oven for 2 hours at 250 degrees.

These were practically free to make, and I’ve sold several hundred of them so far this season.

Tip: Depending on the type of wood you use; these can be heavy. I used a screw eye on the back with a loop of twine as a hanger.

Log Bundle Ornaments

To make these ornaments you’ll need a few twigs that you can clip into three-inch logs, twine, embellishments, and cardstock paper. I had everything I needed in my stash, so when the idea hit me, I was ready to craft.

  1. I used six of my logs to form a bundle with three on the bottom, two in the middle and one on top. I used hot glue to adhere them.
  2. Each bundle got a light coat of white paint.
  3. Then I wrapped twine around the bundle and secured the twine with hot glue on the bottom of the bundle.
  4. I tied a multi-loop finger bow with the same twine and glued that to the front of each ornament.
  5. When I am creating ornaments in bulk, I give myself two or three varieties depending on the materials I have on hand. For these, I had some tiny pinecones and a few holly leaves.
  6. I try to limit my choices so that I can make them quickly and so that my customers don’t have to look through every ornament to see if they’re all different.
  7. The last step was to add a small bible verse about the real meaning of Christmas. I used Cricut Design Space to do a print then cut on cardstock paper, then I used hot glue to add the verse, tucking it under the embellishment.
  8. I gave each ornament a twine hanger that I fastened on with hot glue.

Santa Faces

Just grab a branch that’s about 1.5” in diameter for these, some red and white paint, and nautical rope.

  1. I used my chop saw to cut rounds that were about ½ inch thick. If you’re using power tools, wear your safety gear.
  2. I painted the tops of the rounds red, left a space in the middle, then painted the bottoms white. I used a fine-tip black marker to give Santa eyes. I like the Painters brand pen that I get on Amazon.
  3. I added a beard using a few strands of the nautical rope.
  4. Just separate the rope into three cords, then use a section of one cord.
  5. Tie two strings in the middle of your cord then attach it using hot glue.
  6. To attach a jute hanger, drill a hole in the top, then double your string, hot glue the ends together, and stick them in the hole.

I made these a couple of ways. I added a red bead to a few for a cherry nose. Both varieties sold well.

I hope you can get out in your backyard and make a few ornaments this year – minus the hurricane! Until next time – happy crafting!

Please follow me here to see my latest creations.

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