Rustic Twig Christmas Tree Ornaments

We have a big Christmas get-together each year and as a tradition, we make homemade ornaments for everyone.  There’s almost forty of us,  and it’s never on Christmas day.  There is just too many of us.  We ALWAYS try to make these ornaments on the cheap, and I’m usually the one who has to come up with the idea… or maybe I insist, but who is keeping track?  Anyway,  I’d been tossing around ideas and came up with a rustic twig Christmas tree on a cutting of plain old cardboard.

Rustic twig and cardboard Christmas tree ornaments - StowandTellThe twigs were collected from the yard = FREE.   I salvaged the cardboard from cereal and soda cartons = FREE.   For the cost of some hot glue and a sparkly pipe cleaner, I was able to make these ornaments for almost nothing.

I’ll have to get final approval from the, ahem, Board of Annual Homemade Christmas Ornaments (aka: sister and nieces), but I’m pretty sure this is the ornament we are going to go for this year, and here is how we are going to make them:


How to Make Rustic Twig and Cardboard Christmas Tree Ornaments


Twigs collected from the yard (try for pencil sized diameter pieces)
Cardboard pieces from cereal boxes or soda cartons
Hot glue gun and plenty of glue sticks
Push pin
Pencil and paper
Christmas colored pipe cleaners (or any kind of ribbon or twine)


Collect twigsStep 1
Collect twigs and place them on a cookie sheet.
Pre-heat at 200 degrees (f)
Place cookie sheet with twigs into oven and dry for 45 minutes, this is done to kill off any critters.


Cut Cardboard

Step 2
Cut card board pieces 6″ x 1″
Take a push pin and make a hole 3/4″ down from top.
Take a pencil and poke through the hole

Step 3
Make a template on plain paper by drawing a line around the card board piece, mark for the hole, and then drawing a 4″ – 4-1/2″ horizontal line across about 1″ up from the bottom.


Sort twigs-Rustic twig and cardboard Christmas tree ornaments - StowandTellU

Step 4
Separate twigs into small, medium and large piles.  This step helps keep you organized. Break branch pieces off the larger part of the twigs and put them into the small pieces pile. Remove any parts of bark that seem to be crumbling.  Also, discard any pieces that are too wavy or knotted.

Step 5
Break a piece of twig 4″-4-1/2″ long and place on the horizontal line on the paper template. Continue to break more pieces, each one a bit smaller than the one below it to build the tree upward toward the marked hole.  Make sure to stop at the marked hole.


Rustic twig and cardboard Christmas tree ornaments

Step 6
Lay one of the card board pieces down on a non-porous surface, such as a piece of laminate shelving or the back side of a new cookie sheet.

Run a thick bead of hot glue horizontally, one inch up from the bottom of the card board piece and attach the first and largest twig.

Run a thick bead of hot glue just above the twig length, onto the card board piece and place the next largest twig down. Continue to build the tree, making sure to use the hot glue to secure each twig into place by loading lots of glue along the length of each twig.

Let the glue dry for a few minutes and then pry up the piece of card board from the surface you were using to do the gluing.


Rustic twig and cardboard Christmas tree ornaments - StowandTellUTips:

  • Alternate twig types and colors for a varying effect.
  • If you have knotted pieces, try to place the twig down with the knot facing upward.
  • Don’t worry about making the perfect tree.  Anything close will end up looking like a Christmas tree, trust me 🙂


Step 7
Add any kind of twine or ribbon to create a hanger.

I made some up with pipe cleaners, which is all I had on hand at the moment:

Rustic twig and cardboard Christmas tree ornaments - StowandTellURun a piece of pipe cleaner thru the hole and back to form a loop for hanging. Leave one end long and one a bit shorter. Twist the pipe cleaner together on both sides of the card board piece.


Rustic twig and cardboard Christmas tree ornaments - StowandTellUTwist the smaller piece into a ball.
Wrap the larger piece around a pencil to make a curly-Q.


Rustic twig and cardboard Christmas tree ornaments - StowandTellU

Rustic twig and cardboard Christmas tree ornaments - StowandTellU

Rustic twig and cardboard Christmas tree ornaments - StowandTellUI really like the variations of color and texture on the twigs and how that all comes together into a Christmas tree.  Not to mention, the cost for making these ornaments was almost free!!!     I hope these ornaments get approval as the chosen ornament for this year’s Christmas gathering.

Does your family have a holiday tradition like making ornaments?


See how to make a larger version of this project: DIY Branch or Log Christmas Tree

Looking for more cheap and easy ornament ideas?

Check out last year’s cardboard Elf Stocking ornaments

I hope you enjoyed and thank you for stopping by ~ Amy

 Linking up to:

Christmas Junkers United Link Party

Funky Junk Party Junk/ Branches and Twigs


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35 Responses to Rustic Twig Christmas Tree Ornaments

  1. Anne December 4, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    Adorable idea Amy! So cute!

  2. Feral Turtle December 4, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    This is so cute. I am hosting another craft party this weekend and might add this to my to do list!! Thanks for the inspiration. Cheers.

  3. Tanya December 4, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    Amy these are really wonderful, I love bringing nature inside all year, especially in the winter-xo

  4. heather f December 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Love this. And just so you know, I totally would have made this without cooking the wood. I am sure we would have had critters crawling all over. Blech.

  5. Mel December 5, 2013 at 3:46 am #

    That’s a beautiful tradition and I think the board made the right decision those are beautiful ornaments, great price too 😉

  6. Bliss December 5, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    You made that look simple. But you can’t trick me, no matter how simple I know I don’t have time to make any this year.

  7. Shanna Gilbert December 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

    Oh Amy these are too cute! You have to link them up to Funky Junk Donna’s linky party!

  8. casacaudill December 9, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    I absolutely love this idea! Your committee HAS to choose this idea.

  9. Debbie @Dewdrop Gables December 13, 2013 at 6:42 pm #

    These are so cute, cheap and not too difficult! Great idea when you need to make a slew of them, and I bet everyone loves them.
    Saw you featured at Roadkill Rescue
    Debbie 🙂

  10. gail December 13, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    found you at beckie’s rr

    Love these ornaments, so cute!

  11. Laura December 13, 2013 at 11:17 pm #

    I love using nature for Christmas decor. This is a brilliant idea. 🙂

  12. nafis January 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm #


    • Amy January 3, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      Thank you, Nafis, for stopping by and taking the time to comment

  13. Rose November 13, 2014 at 10:35 pm #

    Amy, WOW!! What a great ideal. I am going to make some.

    • Amy November 14, 2014 at 6:29 pm #

      Thanks, so much, Rose. I hope you have fun making them for the holidays!! Have a great weekend – Amy

  14. Nancy @ A Joyful Cottage November 25, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    These are super cute, and I can’t believe how easy it is to make them. Made with free stuff is a plus, too. 🙂 Thank you. Consider these pinned! xxx ~ Nancy

  15. Carissa Bonham December 18, 2014 at 2:32 am #

    I love these so much! I wanted let you know that I featured your ornament on Creative Green Living this morning!


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