One of the great things about a Christmas tree is all the memories contained within its ornaments: the tissue-paper wreaths and popsicle-stick picture frames made by the kids in school, or the ballet slipper ornament someone acquired after a trip to The Nutcracker. Favourite toys also pack quite the nostalgic punch, so why tuck those old toys away in boxes when you could be admiring them on your tree every year?
What you’ll need
- old toys
- embroidery floss
- large sewing needle (optional)
- craft wire
- glue gun
- spray paint (optional)
Pick your toys
Have your kids select a few toys they’d like to turn into ornaments. We picked a small plush koala, a mini-skateboard, a mini tea set and a slinky. Action figures, small dolls, toy cars and even board books would also make great ornaments.
There are two ways to do this: super basic and ever-so-slightly advanced.
For the basic, you’re wrapping craft wire around some part of the toy or threading a bit of embroidery floss through a soft part of the toy. Obviously any toy with a built-in loop (like a mini teacup’s handle) will be the easiest. A Spider-Man or Batman figure with craft wire coming out of their wrist and attached to the tree would work well, too.
For the plush koala, we poked its ear with craft wire to make a loop and attached some string to hang it on the tree. If you want to get fancy, thread a big needle with the embroidery floss and poke the plush with it.
For the skateboard, we just wrapped some craft wire around one of the wheels and made the top of the wire into a hook for easy tree-hanging.
How to make it fancier
If you want to step it up just a touch, you might want to modify the toys a little. You can do this by gluing or painting. If you have a whole collection of toys you’re transforming, we think spray-painting them all one colour would look great.
While a stretched-out slinky would actually make a pretty neat garland, we glued ours together at several points along the spring to make it stay in one shape. Then we just took some string and tied a loop to the top of it.
For something with multiple pieces, like a tea set, first glue together any small pieces that go together: cup with saucer and teapot and sugar with lids. Then, you can either hang the pieces in close proximity to one another on the tree, or glue them all together to have one ornament. We glued all the pieces to some cardboard so they’d have a base.
Another option is to fashion a teeny tiny tea tray out of some cardboard and tin foil and glue all the pieces to that.
Pretty much any toy will work, so long as it’s not too too big. And now every holiday season as you trim the tree, you can reminisce about how you always used to trip over that mini skateboard or how your little one would never leave the house without their plush friend.