How to Make Rustic Homemade Christmas Ornaments – Recycled / Upcycle

6 Materials
2 Hours

This tutorial will show you how I made these fun rustic homemade Christmas ornaments from some recycled tin cans and a few items from the Dollar Tree. They are inexpensive to make, and you can cut them in a lot of different shapes. I used a bell, star, snowman, stocking, and a couple of ball shapes for my ornaments, but you could also make candy canes and gingerbread men. You want to keep the shape reasonably simple. You can find lots of shapes online or use some Christmas cookie cutters to make your paper patterns. Just make sure that the size of your design fits on the piece of the flattened tin can.

By the way, I do know that it is August, but maybe if you are like me, you could use a little Christmas right now.

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For this project you will need:

  • Several tin cans
  • Tin Snips
  • Center Punch Tool
  • Cordless Drill or a Nail and Hammer
  • Glitter
  • Sequins
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Jute or Cording
  • Small Paint Brush
  • Clothspins
  • Christmas Shaped Paper Templates

Step 1 – Empty and Rust Tin Cans

The first step in making these homemade rustic Christmas ornaments is to rust the tin cans. Once the cans are empty, you can rust them quickly using the method in this video tutorial. You can also work with tin cans that are not rusted, but they will be much stiffer and harder to flatten.

Step 2 – Cut and Flatten Cans

To repair the rusted cans, I used my tin snips to cut down the side and across the bottom of the can. Next, I cut off the bottom and the reinforced top rim. Once this is completed, the piece that is left can be flattened by hand. Be sure to wear gloves as the metal edges can be sharp. Further, flatten the metal using a hammer on a hard surface.

Step 3 – Use Templates to Cut Shapes

Secure the paper template to the piece of metal using the clothespins and carefully cut around the paper shape using the tin snips.

Step 4 – Mark and Drill Holes

To make the holes in my handmade rustic Christmas ornaments, I used a tool called a center punch to mark the spot where the hole would go, and then with a cordless drill, I made a hole in each piece.

Step 5 – Decorate

My tip for this step is to have fun. I used some acrylic paints, glitter, and sequins. I found most of these items at the Dollar Tree. You could also use fabric scraps, air dry clay, twigs, beads, craft paper, etc. I recommend using Mod Podge to apply your decorations as well as to seal and finish the ornament. It even rounds off some of the sharp edges of the metal.

Step 6 – Add Cording

The last step once your shapes are decorated and dry is to attach the cord and hang them up. Unless it is the middle of August oh who am I kidding I don’t follow those rules. If you want to go out and throw up some Christmas decorations right now.

That’s what I did.icon

Resources for this project:

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Cindy @ Upcycle Design Lab
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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  • April April on Aug 16, 2021

    You could glue lace or other trim folded around the edges to make them safer.

  • Lisa West Lisa West on Aug 23, 2021

    Now I really like this idea. I would use the cookie cutter with a sharpie, then cut, these are super cute. Omg seashells or mermaids would be cute to. Loving this idea and my mind is spinning,

    side note, you could use resin to seal and dull the sharpness to for those who have more time and patience for the mix and drying time.