Monday, December 10, 2012

DIY Dog-Themed Christmas Tree Ornaments

By Tamara McRill

I’m not sure if it’s the mad love for my dogs or all those hours spent on Pinterest, but I have decided my boys deserve their own little Christmas tree. Decorated completely in – you guessed it – handmade dog-themed ornaments. From photos to paw-tastic ribbons, there are so many options to choose from and each one can be customized to fit in with my current holiday decor. Since I am in full-on craft mode, I decided to make the ornaments myself. Figuring that my fellow dog lovers might also want in on the fun, I’m sharing some of the easier ornaments I’ll be making and others under consideration. Enjoy!

Frame Ornaments

This one is easiest if you already have some photo frame ornaments sitting around. Then all you have to do is print out some pictures of your pets and put them in the frames. To match your current decorations and make the look more cohesive, also frame other graphic images of dogs, bones and paw prints. You can find these in your Christmas colors online, or buy some dog-themed wrapping paper and cut out the details you like best.

I don’t have any frame ornaments on hand, so I am turning to my trusty glue gun and silver spray paint. Here are the steps:

Supplies: Cardboard, scissors, exacto knife, glue gun, glue sticks, silver spray paint, ribbon and your image.

1. With scissors and an exacto knife, cut out ornate frames in different shapes from cardboard.

2. Poke a small hole at the top, wide enough to string ribbon through.

2. Spray paint them and allow to dry.

3. Glue the edges of your image to cardboard backing.

4. Glue the backing to your photo frame.

5. String a ribbon through the top hole and tie the loose ends in a knot.

Embroidery Hoops

This ornament is similar in concept to the photo frame ornaments, but produces a more “homey” look. All you need are small embroidery hoops and some fun holiday fabric featuring festive canine-inspired images. Simply cut out the parts of the fabric you would like to feature, including enough around the edges so it will fit in the hoop. You can trim off any excess showing fabric later.

Lay your cutout over the smaller circle of the hoop and fit the larger circle over that. Hang your new ornament with a pretty ribbon.

Mixed Media Labels

Have you ever seen Christmas trees bedecked in long decorated package labels? They resemble bookmarks, which is probably why the writer in me loves this ornament idea. You can cut your labels out of cardstock and string with a ribbon.

There are too many options of what you can put on these labels to list, but I am thinking of mixing a picture of my dogs, stamping on their names, bone cutouts and adding holiday motifs. Spray adhesive should keep everything together.

Most of the time when I see photographs of trees decorated with labels, there are also fake birds sitting in the tree. Give that common motif a canine spin and trade the birds out for some lightweight dog stuffed animals or plastic figurines.

Paw Print Baking Molds

This is a nice vintage look I wish I had the budget to pull off. Which is a shame, since it’s so easy! All you do is take little paw print baking molds (or any other dog-inspired molds) and glue on ribbon. These look so adorable hanging from the tree.

Cardstock Silhouettes

I like this idea for a more modern theme. Go for solid colored cardstock in your favorite colors. Using a template, cut out a few different dog silhouettes. Those of your dog’s breed are an obviously meaningful choice. To keep the look a little more designer, don’t use more than three complimentary colors and always use the same color for each template.

Caution on Using Bones

Bones and other dog treats may seem like an obvious choice to use as Christmas tree decorations. There’s no denying how cute it looks. But strongly consider whether your dog will be able to resist a taste. That would ruin your decoration and, most importantly, could harm your dog if they ingest other parts of the ornament.

Do you have any other ideas for pet-themed ornaments, or perhaps you’ve made some yourself? Feel free to share in the comments!

Photos by Tamara McRill

Read more articles by Tamara McRill


  1. I use the tags from my best friends who have crossed the bridge. It's a nice reminder and feel them near.

  2. Those are such good ideas and what a fun thing to do. We don't have any good ideas for ornaments but I like the idea of tags for the ones that have crossed the bridge. I think that would be great to have.

  3. THESE are Cool Drool Ornies. THANKS fur the ideas.

  4. What a cute idea! Of course they would have to be dog ornaments cause kitty ones would be knocked off the tree!


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