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A Christmas tree with decorations on it

Overview

You can make your own Christmas decorations – and memories – by harnessing your creativity and transforming “found” objects (like pinecones and discarded cardboard) into beautiful ornaments.

We spoke with Kiwi cook and lifestyle guru Annabel Langbein about the power of creativity, and we’re sharing a couple of her suggestions for D.I.Y. Christmas tree décor.

Tip: This is a great project for families of all ages!

Steps

1The lost is found

Found objects are everyday objects that can be used to make something creative. They can be natural objects (like stones or twigs) or man-made objects (wire or cardboard, for example).

“I think the past few years have encouraged us all to create a life that’s gentle on the environment and our wallets, a life that is good for our bodies and minds,” says Annabel. “Creating something unique and beautiful from materials you find on a walk, or from something you otherwise would have thrown away, is a wonderful way to awaken your curiosity and creativity.”

2The power of creativity

No matter your age, find time to be creative, Annabel says, and you’ll feel refreshed and restored. “We all have a creative spark in us, but it needs time and space. If we give ourselves that, the space is open for wonderful things to happen.”

And creating your own D.I.Y. Christmas decorations, using objects that other people overlook or cast aside, is not only a great way to kickstart your creativity and make memories, it is also good for the environment.

3Better for you, better for the planet

"I’ve always been a big advocate for cooking and crafting at home from scratch,” Annabel says. “It’s such an easy way to bring less packaging into your home.”

And inspiration can be found in the strangest of places – landfills, thrift stores, your garden and even your junk drawer. Look for items that catch your eye, and transform them into something beautiful, giving them a new purpose.

4D.I.Y. Christmas tree décor with found objects

Unlock your imagination by taking found objects and turning them into D.I.Y. Christmas tree décor. Wrap discarded wire into the shape of an angel. With a little glitter and glue, transform a cardboard toilet paper roll into an elven home. Paint up old paintbrushes like Santa Claus. The sky is the limit, and anyone can give this a try!

Two of Annabel’s favourite D.I.Y. decorations utilise discarded cardboard and a handful of pinecones. Here’s how she works her magic:

5Get a gold star

Transform ordinary cardboard into glittering gold star ornaments. First, cut up old cardboard boxes into manageable pieces. Using a star-shaped cookie cutter, trace outlines of stars on the cardboard with a pencil. Place a cutting mat or a piece of plywood under the cardboard to use as a safe cutting surface, and cut out the stars using a craft knife and metal ruler. 

Using the cookie cutter as a general guide, draw one larger star – this one is to hang at the top of the Christmas tree.

Push the pencil through one point of each star, to create a hole for a piece of string to be added later. Lay down a drop sheet, spare cardboard or newspaper, place your stars on top and apply the gold spray paint, leaving to dry. Apply a second coat if necessary.

Once the stars are dry, cut pieces of string and thread them through the holes in the stars; tie for hanging.

Green Bunnings hammer
Tip: Make sure you wear appropriate PPE gear (safety gloves, glasses and dust mask) and follow instructions. Spray painting is best done outside for better ventilation.
Gold cardboard stars

6Paint a pinecone

Spread pinecones on a drop sheet, spare cardboard or newspaper and apply white and/or silver glitter spray paint. Turn the pinecones over and apply more spray paint, coating the entire pinecone and leaving to dry. Apply a second coat if necessary. (Again, make sure to wear PPE gear and follow instructions.)

Once the pinecones are dry, cut short lengths of twist tie and twist around the top of the pinecones for hanging.  

Spray painted pinecones

7Decorate your Christmas tree

Place your tree in the Christmas tree stand, ensure it is standing straight and tighten bolts around the lower trunk. Hang Christmas lights close to the trunk, wrapping them around the full length of the tree. Lastly, decorate your tree with your pinecones and stars, saving the largest star for the top of the tree.

Christmas tree with tree stand

8Light it up

Check out our wide range of Christmas lights, which are perfect for this D.I.Y. project.

Suggested products

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.