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20 Super Easy Trash To Treasure Christmas Crafts

November 21, 2021

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20 easy and elegant home decor Christmas crafts from second hand and thrifted items.

Repurpose, reuse and recycle what you have on hand to decorate your home for the holidays.

20 Trash To Treasure Christmas Crafts Collage

Christmas crafting is one of my all time favorite holiday activities.

There's something about creating new decor pieces and gifts by the light of the tree that fills me with holiday spirit.

Whether I'm in front of the fire listening to Steve and Eydie harmonize about the falling snow or Harry Bailey toast to his big brother George, the richest man in town, it's all infinitely more festive with a glue gun or paint brush in hand.

All the way up to Christmas Eve.

So as you can imagine, I have a lot of Christmas crafts to share. 

I've rounded some of them up before, but since I'm always making new ones, and my last round up was way back in 2016, I thought it was time to share what I've been up to since.

Now, most of these craft projects are upcycles from things I've found at the curb or thrift store.

I think that's my favorite kind of DIY, turning trash into treasure, so to speak. 

But I promise, they won't look like trash. 

Plus each and every one of them is easy to do, requiring no special tools or expensive supplies. 

So sit back, crank up the carols and let's get festive!

20 Trash To Treasure Christmas Crafts

1. Felt Stocking Banner

The first craft on the list is the last one I made for the holidays.

Stone Fireplace decorated for Christmas with tiny stocking banner

It's a felt stocking banner that I put together late in 2020, using leftover supplies in my craft closet.

The mantel looked incomplete all season and until these teeny socks were hung by the fire.

I love the softness that it brought to the stone fireplace.

2.Vintage Flexible Flyer Makeover

And it paired well with the vintage sled my husband found over the summer.

Green painted Flexible Flyer with wreath

It was given a quick makeover with paint and a wreath. 

Beautiful. I can't wait to bring it out this year. 

3. Mini Sled Update

Sometimes a little paint is all you need for a total transformation.

Small wooden sled decorated with Merry Christmas napkin next to Santa on table
Sometimes it takes a little more. Like a napkin. 

That's what I used to add holiday flair to another second hand sled. This one was much smaller, but had just as much charm. 

Maybe even more. 

4. Fan Blade Junk Christmas Angel

Fan blades might not bring visions of sugarplums to mind as readily as sleds, but with a bit of imagination, they can be a rustic addition, too. 

Junk fan blade angel sitting on a table with roses

I turned and old ceiling fan blade into a junkie Christmas angel with a few scrap wood accessories.

Leftovers never looked so good.

5. Macaroni Angel Ornament

I've actually whipped up angels in many forms over the years. One of my absolute favorites is this throwback I made for the tree.

Small macaroni angel painted white on a tree

Fun for the whole family. 

In fact, it was inspired by a twenty-five cent purchase at a PTA fun fair when I was teaching.

6. Sock Angel Doll

Another craft fair find was an angel doll I always wanted to try to recreate. Old socks were the key, along with a very unusual drying technique.

Sock angel doll on a table with a snowflake

One that was suited more to Halloween than Christmas, but that's another story!

The results are darling and with a few accessory swaps this angel can stay out all year long.

7. Sock Angel Ornament

I was so smitten with her that I had to make an ornament in the same style, using baby socks instead. 

Small sock angel doll ornament hanging on a tree

This darling ball of sweetness can be hung on the tree as is, personalized for Baby's First Christmas or added to a gift in place of a bow. 

And if you make it with an old sock from one of your kids or grandkids, it becomes an instant heirloom.

8. Christmas Tree Sticker Sign

Next up, I have a collection of signs. I adore decorating with homemade signs, I'm just not great at lettering so I cheat my way there.

Christmas tree from words sticker on a wooden board on a table with apples

The easiest way to get a perfect result is with a holiday themed sticker. I've made many of these over the years...and why not?

You just cut a piece of scrap wood to size, paint or stain in and slap a sticker on.

Instant fabulous. 

9. Gift Bag Christmas Sign

I've also used gift bags to make signs. No lettering with this method either.

There are so many great bags out there, it's easy to find one that suits your style.

Or pull one out of your stash.

Merry Christmas Gift Bag Sign Over A Window

And with two sides, you can make two signs, which is precisely what I did with an especially lovely Merry Christmas sack.

I cut it up into pieces and created an entirely new look.

10. Framed Christmas Gift Bag Art

For an even simpler sign, with absolutely no painting or gluing, you can frame a dollar store gift bag.

Framed candy cane gift bag on a table with red roses

Yup. Choose a bag that fits your frame, easy enough, since the come in a wide variety of sizes and place it under glass.


11. T-Shirt Transfer Christmas Sign

The last sign on my list was created with an iron and my computer.

Green wreath and red word that says Joy in center on canvas

Seriously, I'll do anything to avoid that stencil! 

I printed a custom design onto a t-shirt transfer and then ironed it onto a stretched canvas I had tucked away in my closet.

Unique and more elegant than I expected. Christmas surprises are the best.

12. Button Christmas Tree Craft

To be honest, that closet is where I find most of my supplies.

Button Christmas Tree mounted on wooden frame and twine stem on table in front of Christmas tree

During the eleven months prior to Christmas, I pick up things, here and there, not always knowing what I'm going to do with them.

I pop them into the closet and then hope inspiration hits when the creative spigot gets turned on in the weeks after Thanksgiving. 

For example, when I picked up a broken frame in the clearance aisle I didn't see it as the backdrop for a button tree. 

But it was the perfect palette for this charming little number.

And a nice way to use some of the buttons I'd bought on whim.

13. Christmas Plate Craft

The closet is also full of glass plates.

Tis the season napkin decoupaged onto a glass plate,

They come in many shapes and sizes. And they're never more than a buck.

Coupled with a printed napkin, they become showstopping display pieces. 

Especially if there's a red truck involved.

14. Let It Snow Cutting Board

I also have a quite a collection of cutting boards in my craft closet. Never met one I didn't like.

Let It Snow Cutting Board with santa and a tree on a counter

Plus, cutting boards have two sides, which means I can decorate both, allowing them to pull double decorating duty throughout the year. 

So for my next craft, I just pulled my stenciled farmhouse cutting board off the counter and added some sticky letters to the back. 

Ok, there may have been a little bit more involved, but not much. I promise.

15. Placemat Christmas Tree Apron

Cutting boards aren't the only kitchen items that make for interesting Christmas upcycles.

Red Patchwork Tree Christmas Placemat Apron

Holiday linens work really well, too.

I turned a mismatched red velvet placemat into an apron with the addition of a patchwork scrap fabric tree. 

A lovely gift for the chef. Or me.

16.  Placemat Christmas Pillow

And I've made the most darling pillow simply by opening a seam on a Merry Christmas placemat from Target.
Merry Christmas Placemat with green wreath to Pillow on a bed

In less than 10 minutes, I had a custom red and green addition to my bedroom.

With trim. What a bonus.

17.  DIY Glitter Candle Holder 

Besides thrift store, I always find the dollar store to be full of idea provoking items.

DIY Glitter Candle Holder with the word Joyful on it

A glass vase, for example, makes a glamorous hostess gift or table display when hit with some glitter and a sticker.

Gotta love those stickers.

Pop a battery operated candle inside and you have instant holiday ambiance for about three dollars apiece. 

18. Elegant Dollar Store Christmas Village Makeover 

Even old dollar store purchases can be transformed with a bit of paint. Rather than donate my collection of houses, I sprayed them with a cream color and added a bit of snow.

Dollar Store Christmas Village house painted white on a mantel with santa and bottle brush trees

With lights tucked underneath, they elegantly illuminate my mantel.

And you'd never guess that they were almost on their way to the donation pile. 

19. Coastal Christmas Shell Wreath Ornament

The last two items on my crafty Christmas list were made in homage to my beloved island.

Coastal Christmas Shell Wreath Ornament on wicker placemat

If you're into coastal decor, especially for the holidays, these last two creations may be the best.

The first, a small wreath made from shells I collected during the summer, can be whipped up in minutes with a glue gun.

Hang it on the tree or, like I do, on a kitchen cabinet knob.

Reminding me to keep Christmas in my heart all year long.

20. Starfish Christmas Tree DIY

The second, and last, on the list, was found in a small shop near my home.

Starfish Christmas Tree with a santa in front of a black and white checked plate

A total tourist trap, for sure, but it was so unique, I had to make one for myself.

I mean honestly, what says Christmas at the beach more than a tree made entirely of starfish?

Pure Magic. 

It was an other easy DIY, no special skills needed. 

Just like I promised.

Merry Christmas Crafting!
Kim Signature

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  1. These are all so adorable! I especially love the signs: the framed dollar store gift sack, etc. As well as that plate. I won't be doing much this year because I'm moving in January.

    1. Thanks so much, Brenda! I can't wait to see your new place and watch you transform it. You have such great style.

  2. Oh my gosh I remember so many of these cuties. The angel ornament out of noodles. I have one of those a few of her noodles have broken off but she still is sweet and I love it. Have my sock angel too. I love the angel you made out of the fan blade too. You are so crafty and I love that you re use and re love things into new pretties. Happy Sunday. xoxo Kris

    1. Thanks Kris. I know what a huge fan of angels you are Kris and I'm glad I could send you some!!

  3. Someday you will be such a cool grandmother teaching the grands how to do all this! They are all so cute and I need to pick out one that I could have supplies for when my own little angels visit. Their mom is a crafter so I could probably get her to guide us through the making. Once upon a time long ago I spent a lot of time crafting and this time of year I get the urge to start again. Always good inspiration here, Kim!

    1. Thank you, Dewena!! I love crafting with kids. When I was teaching the littles (I did kindergarten and first grade before I had babies of my own and nursery school while mine were attending), craft days were the best days! Watching them put their own spin on the projects were the best. Thanks for the visit and the comment and I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  4. great ideas!! You are very crafty and creative! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Happy Thanksgiving, Patti! Enjoy that new baby! And thanks for the kind comment.

  5. These are all so cute, Kim, and seeing them all in one place shows just how creative you are. I especially like the the cutting board, the button tree, and the starfish tree!

    1. You’re making me blush, Amy. Thank you for all of them! Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. You've done so many sweet things over the years. I've made a framed gift bag sign & I have the macaroni angel still...I'm pretty sure that was from you? I put it on my white tree.

    This year I plan to make a Christmas gnome. Last year we were gifted a digital advent calendar for our grandson. It was a Swedish themed & had lots of gnomes in it. My grandson loved them so I plan to make one this year. I bought a Santa head ornament at the Dollar Tree...the hat, beard & nose for $1. I'll use an extra sock for the base & it will be so easy to put together. I just need to glue the hat over Santa's eyes, the beard over his mouth so only the nose shows, the glue it onto the stuffed base.

    1. Thank you, Jenny! ❤️ Your crafts sound wonderful, too. I love being inspired by others and your Santa sock is one I may copy!! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  7. Thank you friend. You are so creative and I do appreciate that you share your creations with us. Happy Thanksgiving!!

    1. Thanks so much, Carla! I’m glad you find inspiration when you come to visit. I feel the same way when I visit your site. Ice cream for everyone!! 😉 Happy Thanksgiving!!

  8. So many great ideas, I had not seen all of them. Kim you make me wish I had more free time to do more of these fun crafts.

    1. Thanks so much, Mary! Crafting is my zen. That means that sometimes, I'm crafting in the wee hours! I honestly don't always have great photos of the process, since my time for fun is usually after dark...and I could never work in craft store. I'd be broke!

  9. I love every one of these and I had a hard time deciding which to pin. I kept going back through the pictures. All beautiful, you are the project Queen. Pinned

    1. Thank you, Cindy! You're always so kind and you're always so good about remembering to pin. I need to get better about that!

  10. After 60 some years of Christmas crafting, I rarely make it through a crafting post. But, all your ideas and execution are so wonderfully clever and cheerful---I had to pin a bunch....Sweet and great REDO ideas!

    1. Sandi, this is honestly one of the loveliest comments I have ever received. Thank you so much. You just made my day!! 💕Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Thanks for sharing your wonderful Christmas crafts, Kim. I had to chuckle when I read your comment about 'picking up things', not knowing what you'll do with them. I do the same thing. I believe we are kindred spirits! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I can't wait to see what you have in store for us next!

    1. Kindred spirits for sure, Ann!! And I hope you had a lovely time with your daughter over the holiday weekend!!

  12. Wow! You have a huge round up of Christmas crafts you've done throughout the years. You are so talented and thanks for sharing them all in this blog post. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving with your family Kim.

    1. SO many Christmas crafts, Julie....that's for sure. And this is just the list for the past couple of years. I have even more going back to 2013. It guess it's my obsession! Happy Holidays!

  13. It was nice taking a trip down holiday memory lane, Kim. I remember all twenty of these wonderful ideas. I adore the pretty placemat Christmas pillows even more the second time. They would tie in with my holiday decor so perfectly, especially the red.

    1. Thanks Marie! I've enjoyed making them all and peeking back, too. Believe it or not, I don't put them all out every year, so I found myself saying "where is that?" Hmmm!

  14. Super-inspiring round-up, My Friend! I love button crafts, and I'd love to make a little tree!

    1. Thanks so much, Ricki!! I love that little one, too.

  15. Its hard to pick which one I like the best, great selections.

  16. Kim,
    LOVE all of your sweet Christmas crafts!! All so sweet especially the angels!! I can not wait to start doing some Christmas crafting...I wanted to get all my decorating done so I can play in my craft room.....Thanks so much for stopping by!!! And thanks for taking the time to comment so I know that you visited...I really appreciate it!
    Hope you and your family had a great Thanksgiving!

    1. I love those angels, too, Debbie. Something about them glowing in the light of the tree on Christmas Eve is magical!

  17. I'm so happy you shared all these upcycled Christmas crafts Kim. I've been struggling to find ideas that are quick and easy to use as decor for this festive season, and you just gave me a whole bunch. Those angels are so adorable and are first on my list.

    1. Thanks Michelle! Knowing you found some inspiration here, today, just made my week!!

  18. Thank you for sharing all of the Christmas crafts Kim! You have quite a gift in seeing items as something else. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    1. Thank you so much, Cara! I do love Christmas crafting and flexing that creative "what could this be" muscle! Happy Holidays!!