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13 Inexpensive Ornament Ideas for the Classroom

December 3, 2019 by Emily




It’s that time of year!!  The holiday season has once again quickly snuck up on us and some of you may still be looking for ornament ideas and/or parent gift idea.  Have no fear, this post is full of fun ideas to send your kiddos home with ornaments that are sure to delight.

Step 1 – Start with an Ornament

You have two choices, depending on which project you want to make.  Either purchase clear or white ball ornaments.

Each of the projects listed below can easily be done in a day.  Just allow them to dry for an hour or two if needed.  Then they can be wrapped by your students in a piece of tissue paper and sent home.

Fingerprint Christmas Lights Ornament

Materials: white ball ornaments, paint in various colors, black sharpie marker, holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  Put a little bit of paint on plates (you can decide which colors).  Students then dip their index finger and carefully make a pattern around the ornament with finger prints.  (Make sure that they space out the prints, so it looks like a string of lights.)  Once the ornaments have dried, you can add the tops and “string” in black sharpie.  Lastly, students can write their name and add the year.  Tie some holiday ribbon on the top and have the kids wrap them up in tissue paper.  TA DA!!

Snowmen Hand Print Ornament

Materials: clear ball ornaments, white craft paint, orange and black sharpie markers, holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  Put white paint on the child’s hand and have them put their hand on the ornament, with the palm slightly underneath the ball.  Make sure that they had enough paint on their hand, so the snowmen stand out.  Once dry, either you or your students can draw faces, arms/hands, and noses on their snowmen.   Finally, they can write their name and year on the bottom of the palm.  Tie some holiday ribbon on the top and have the kids wrap them up in tissue paper.  Happy Holidays!

Reindeer Fingerprint Ornament

Materials: white ball ornaments, brown craft paint, red and black sharpie markers, holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  Put brown paint on the plates.  Students will dip their index fingers in the brown paint and put them on the ornament, spacing them around the middle.  Once dry, they can draw eyes, noses, and antlers on their fingerprints.  They can draw a red nose on one for Rudolph. 😉  Then they write their name and year on the bottom of the ornament.  Tie some holiday ribbon on the top and have the kids wrap them up in tissue paper.  Yay!

Height of a Child Ornament

Materials: clear ball ornaments, decorative ribbon, ornament tag, holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  Using decorative ribbon, measure the height of each student and have them place that amount of ribbon inside the ornament.  Tie holiday ribbon on the top, along with the ornament tag/poem (Get the free tag here!) and have the student sign the bottom and write the year.  Wrap them up in tissue paper and you’re done!  Easy Peasy!

Penguin Ornament Craft

Materials: clear ball ornaments, multicolored felt, cotton balls, large pom poms, google eyes

Each student will need an ornament.  Have students stuff the ornament with cotton balls.  (They may want to pull the cotton balls apart to make it easier to stuff into the ornament.)  *You can have them all create a black and white penguin, or you can use a variety of colors to make them.*  They will cut out two feet and glue to the bottom of the ornament.  They also cut out two large ovals for wings and glue to each side of the ornament.  Lastly, they will attach a large pom pom to the top of the ornament.  Then add google eyes and a nose to complete the penguin.  Note*** you may want to help the students by using a hot glue gun to attach the feet, wings, head and beak.  The google eyes link above is for self-adhesive google eyes.

Christmas Tree Fingerprint Ornament

Materials: clear ball ornaments, green paint, glitter glue, holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  Using green paint, students will create a tree using fingerprints, starting at the top and moving to the bottom.  Once dry, they can “decorate” their tree with glitter glue.  (Dollar Tree has a 3-pack in their crafting section.)  After the glue has dried, students can sign their name and write the year.  Tie a ribbon to the top of the ornament and have the students wrap them up in tissue paper.

Child in a Snow Globe Ornament

Materials: clear ball ornaments, white crinkle paper, pictures of students (with arms up), holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  Using the white crinkle paper you would put in gift bags, have students fill their ornaments about 1/3 of the way full.  Then they will cut around their bodies in the picture.  Make sure they leave enough of the bottom to stand up in the ornament and be “covered” by the snow.  You will need to help them carefully fold the picture and place inside the ornament.  Once done, tie a ribbon on the top and have them wrap the ornament in tissue paper.

Pom Pom Ornament

Materials: clear ball ornaments, pom poms (various sizes), holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  Students choose a variety of pom poms and fill their ornaments.  Students can write their name and the year on the ornament.  Tie a ribbon to the top and wrap in tissue paper.  So quick and simple!

Snowman Ornament

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Materials: clear ball ornaments, styrofoam balls or cotton balls, pipe cleaners, pom poms, orange felt, black sharpie marker, holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  Students fill their ornaments with either styrofoam ball or cotton balls.  Using a sharpie, they draw eyes and a mouth.  Students will cut out a triangle from orange felt for the nose.  Lastly, they choose two pipe cleaners and twist them together.  Glue the twisted pipe cleaners and pom poms to either side of the ornament as the earmuffs.  (This will probably work best with a glue gun.)  Tie a ribbon to the top and wrap in tissue paper.  Hey There, Frosty!!!

Grinch Ornament

Materials: clear ball ornaments, green tissue paper, red felt, holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  Using modge podge, or a water/glue mixture, students will paint on pieces of green tissue paper.  (If you have more than one shade of green, the effect will look better.)  Once the tissue paper is dry, have students cut a heart out of red felt and glue to the center of the ornament.  Tie a ribbon on the top and wrap in tissue paper.  This Grinch’s heart grew 3 sizes today!!

Reindeer Thumb Print Ornament

Materials: clear ball ornaments, brown craft paint, black sharpie marker, holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  Put some brown paint on a plate and have students dip their thumbs into the paint.  Overlapping two thumb prints, they will create a reindeer.  Once the paint has dried, students can draw the antlers, face, tail, and legs onto the reindeer with a black sharpie marker.  Tie a ribbon on the top and wrap in tissue paper.

Gingerbread Man Ornament

Materials: clear ball ornaments, various paint colors, black sharpie marker, holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  I used brown, white, and red paint for my example, but your students can use other colors to make their gingerbread men.  A thumb print is used for the body.  The pinky finger is used to make the arms and legs, and the index finger is used for the head.  Once that paint has dried, students can decorate their gingerbread men in anyway.  They can add buttons, “icing”, and a face.  Once all dry, tie a ribbon on the top and wrap in tissue paper.  You Can’t Catch Me!!  I’m the Gingerbread Man!

Santa and Reindeer Ornament

Materials: white ball ornaments, various paint colors, black sharpie marker, holiday ribbon

Each student will need an ornament.  The reindeer are made the same way as the reindeer fingerprint ornament above.  For Santa, use a red thumb print for the body, peach/orange finger print for the head, and pinky prints for the hat and beard.  Once all of the paint has dried, students can add the facial details, arms, and legs on Santa, a well as the faces and antlers on the reindeer with black sharpie markers.  Tie a ribbon on the top and wrap in tissue paper.

*** Tips While Creating ***

  • To help the picture stand out on the clear ornaments, have your students stuff them with pom poms or tissue paper.
  • Paint their fingers using a sponge brush. (It helps to keep the picture looking more like a “fingerprint” and not just a blob.
  • Q-tips dipped in paint make excellent dots for noses or decorations around the fingerprint picture.

We hope that you find inspiration in these ideas.  Your students will have a fun time creating any of these ornaments, and the parents will receive something that they will cherish for years to come.

Happy Holidays from the Education to the Core Team!!

-Written by Janessa Fletcher and Jennifer Sego 

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