Make Christmas Ornaments from Toys

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How to Make Christmas Ornaments from Toys - an easy tutorial for creating character ornaments at a fraction of the cost.

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As many families do, we give our kids new Christmas tree ornaments each year. These are designed to be their personal ornaments so that when they leave home someday, they have Christmas-in-a-box to take with them. My mom did this for me and my siblings, too.

One thing that I like to do is choose ornaments that commemorate a milestone or a special interest for the year. It’s fascinating to look through their ornament boxes and see a reflection of how they’ve grown and changed over the years. FishChick5 has quite a few Dora ornaments that she claims she doesn’t like anymore.

Yep, that ship has sailed.

There have been times over the years when buying “the perfect ornament” hasn’t been possible. Either the budget was too tight, the ornament I imagined non-existent, or both.

Sure, buying ornaments at after-Christmas sales is one option, but I’ve found others that work better. I can give the ornament as a gift at Christmas and know for positive that I’ll actually have that gift in hand. After Christmas sales are pretty unpredictable.

The solution I’ve come to on more than one occasion is the same as my alternative to expensive cake toppers


How to Make Christmas Ornaments from Toys - an easy tutorial for creating character ornaments at a fraction of the cost.

Over the years I’ve turned to toys to close the gap for us between our wallets and expensive character ornaments. Here are three ways that you can easily do the very same thing.

1. Use action figures.

How to Make Christmas Ornaments from Toys - an easy tutorial for creating character ornaments at a fraction of the cost.

Last Christmas I really wanted to get each of the kids a different Avengers ornament, I had a hard time stomaching the price that the movie studio wanted to charge. Instead on a brain storm at Target I settled on a better solution. I found these Avengers action figures for $6.98 a package. I scoured every shelf in sight and talked to two Target associates to make sure that I walked away with the complete collection.

Why yes, yes, I am a Marvel geek.

I bought all nine action figures for about $21. In addition, I bought a picture hanging kit. When I came home with the loot, FishPapa drilled a small hole in the head of each one and screwed in a small dodah (aka screw eye).

The job was done and the kids each had a Marvel ornament for about $2.50 each!

You can do this with any small plastic toy, giving you endless options. I’ve not tried it with Playmobil or Lego, but I’m seriously considering it.

2. Use keychains.

How to Make Christmas Ornaments from Toys - an easy tutorial for creating character ornaments at a fraction of the cost.

The year that we read through all the Harry Potter Books as a family, I wanted to get the kids Harry Potter ornaments. Yeah, right! Instead I hunted on the Lego website for inspiration.

Instead of ornaments, I found minifig keychains of four different Harry Potter characters. Yes! I added a ribbon to each one and voila! Instant tree ornament.

Minifig selection changes fairly often, so keep an eye on the clearance section at for more options.

3. Use stuffed animals.

How to Make Christmas Ornaments from Toys - an easy tutorial for creating character ornaments at a fraction of the cost.

One year the kids and I placed really high in the Chick-Fil-A facebook photo contest. I think we ended up in second or third place. That particular year children weren’t allowed to win prizes, but as a gift, Chick-Fil-A sent them each a little stuffed cow.

Rather than pick up six cows fifty-two times each, I stowed them in their Christmas ornament boxes. These serve as a great memento for the kids that they can nestle in the branches of the tree.

You can repeat this technique with all kinds of small stuffed animals or Beanie Babies. That elf that folks put on the shelf? Well, it’s actually a replica of a series of small elves that my mom had in the 1960s that were used as decoration. One year my parents’ tree was decorated entirely in elves!

If you love it, make it into an ornament!

Just because it isn’t sold as a Christmas tree ornament, doesn’t mean it can’t be one! We’ve turned all kinds of things into ornaments, like old car keys and small picture frames. If it’s special to you or your child, it counts.

More Ornaments You Can Make

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  1. I just grabbed a cheap bag of small animals at Dollar Tree today,by a stroke of luck, said toy animals were all horses (my friends’ new girlfriend’s daughter LOVES horses).
    From there it was as easy as drilling a hole in each horse and adding an eye-from a cheap picture hanging kit I also happened upon at same store and WALLA-HORSE CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS.

    Yes,I did tie cute ribbons 🎀 around each.

    1. Just a standard twist drill bit that you would find in an index.  Normally used for metal and wood. You just want to pick a bit size that is slightly smaller than the treads of the eye screw.

  2. We always give the figurine from their birthday theme. Last year my daughter wanted the little mermaid for her 3rd birthday so I bought the Hallmark version. Very expensive so it stays on the big tree, but love the idea to make one so she can put it on her little tree. She has 10 Ariels that we could easily do this. My husband and I also give each other an ornament(that we started when we got married) that reminds us of something from that year. I then take a picture of the ornament and put in a photo album and write on an index card (or take a picture – of her on her bday with the cake or of us on vacation, etc) of why we choose that ornament. So one day when the kids take over (if they want them) they know what the meaning was behind it. We love going through each year reminiscing!

  3. My husband was really into Legos as a child. One year his mom had him turn a bunch of the smaller figures into ornaments. All it took was assembling them with a thin string between the Legos at a good spot for them to hang well. We have an entire box of these homemade ornaments, enough to cover a full tree.

  4. We did this a few years ago to commemorate a new car purchase. We bought a duplicate matchbox size car and add a “doodah” on the top. It was a little tricky to get it in without caving the roof in, but after one trial, we figured it out. Now our tree includes not only an ornament for the new car, but also a couple of other “wishful thinking” cars as well. (My sons are all into cars.)

    1. How do you make the doodah my Christmas tree theme is cars and I cannot work a way to make them hang horizontal rather than vertical

  5. baby shoes make a great ornament. Plus we saved some of the kids toys and put them under the tree each year.

  6. My daughter and I took the small stuffed animal idea one step further. She really liked the Build A Bears that came in Happy Meals last month but is a bit too old to play with them, so I came up with the idea to add string to them to hang from the tree. All it took was a darning needle and some yarn and about 30 seconds, here is my post about it
    Also my daughter added to the decor this year by using duplo to make all sorts of figures, Santa, Santa’s wife, elves, Christmas cookies and much more, they look so cute in the pop out window of my dining room.

  7. My husband is known as “Uncle Moose” to his nieces and nephew. Last year they gave him a tiny stuffed moose. Well, what is a grown man going to do with a stuffed animal? I added a ribbon loop for hanging and added it to the Christmas ornaments! It’s fun to hang on the tree and doesn’t add to the household clutter.