Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Heirloom Christmas Ornament DIY Tutorial

Some of you might remember a few months back when I started going through the vast collection of my Mom's vintage costume jewelry - my Mom passed away in July.  There's so much jewelry and it is so beautiful, it is really overwhelming to know what to do with all of it.  Much of it I am keeping, but some I am altering into new pieces.

For Christmas this year, I thought I would use some of the pieces to make into heirloom Christmas ornaments to give to family - each of her remaining siblings, my brother and his wife, my Dad, my two sons, and myself.

My Mom loved music and played several instruments, so I wanted to incorporate this into the project.  Here is what I came up with:


  • Wooden stars - about 3 1/2 inch diameter (you can use whatever shape you want)
  • Sheet music - of course, you can use any theme you want
  • Mod Podge - I used Antique Mod Podge for a vintage look
  • Embellishments - I used some of Mom's vintage clip on earrings and took the backs off along with some filigree stampings and rhinestones
  • E-6000 glue
First I drilled some holes into the tops of the wooden stars so I can later add a ribbon.  Here is what the plain wooden stars look like with the hole drilled at the top:

Here is a picture of the sheet music I used from FreeVintageStamps blog:

Next, I printed out a "reverse image" of the sheet music - this is so you can transfer the image of the music onto the wooden stars using a "mirror image:"

Now trace around the wooden stars on the paper and cut them out - make them just a bit bigger than the actual wooden stars - about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.  Then brush the Mod Podge onto the front side of the paper stars and place them face down onto the wooden stars.  I used Antique Matte Mod Podge but you can use plain matte or glossy - whatever you prefer.

Here is a picture of the stars with the paper image mod podged to them:

Now just walk away and let the stars sit for 24 hours.  This is so the image will have time to set onto the wood.  

Next day, spray the ornaments with some water.

You will see the image starting to show through the paper once it is wet.

Now rub away the paper with your fingers. The paper will sort of shred and make a mess - I used wax paper to work on for easy clean up.

I found some residual Mod Podge and paper along the sides of the stars and used my fingernails to clean this up along the edges:

Here is what the star looks like at this point:

Next I used a sharp beading reamer to poke a hold through the paper where the hole on the wooden star was - you can use a needle or any other sharp object:

Here is a group picture of all ten stars at this point:

Now for the fun part - embellishing the ornaments!  As I said, I used some vintage clip on earrings from my Mom's collection, but you can use whatever you like.  Here are front and back views of one of the pairs of earrings I used:

I snipped off the clip-on backs of the earrings using flat nose pliers:

I found I needed to also snip off the "stalk" where the clip was attached - I used wire cutters:

Then to smooth the metal out so the earring would lie flat I used a metal file:

I could have just glued the altered earrings onto the stars but felt they needed something to "frame" them.  So I used some antique silver and brass filigree stampings - these are from VintageJewelrySupplies.com.  

It is hard to tell in the photo above, but the stamping on the left shows how I "dapped" the edges to better hold the earrings.  I used my flat nose pliers to bend and shape the edges a bit.  This is optional - I just found it helped the earrings sit a bit flatter onto the stars.

Next, use your E-6000 glue to attach your earrings onto the stampings.  Here is a picture of my finished grouping of earrings and stampings:

I let the earrings and stampings sit for 24 hours to make sure the glue was dry.  Next I glued the finished earrings and stampings onto the stars:

Then I added some clear rhinestones to each point on the star to add a bit of bling:

It is usually a good idea to let the E-6000 glue sit for about 24 hours before handling.

Now the only things left to do are to add some ribbon and maybe a personalized message on the back.  I also want to find some pretty packaging for presenting and storing these ornaments.  Will maybe post some pics of these later!

Thanks so much for visiting and reading!


  1. Hi Irene, what a fabulous project using your mom's vintage jewels. This makes your ornaments very special to give as gifts. Thank you for sharing the process. They are gorgeous.
    Happy Creating, Celestina Marie

    1. Thanks so much Celeste! As always, love hearing from you.

  2. These are fabulous. I love the bling and the sheet music. Your family will treasure these ornaments for years to come. What a great way to keep your mother's spirit alive.

    1. Thanks so much Maggie. This is also just the kind of ornament my Mom would have loved!

  3. I love this! What a wonderful tribute to your mother!

    1. Thanks so much Susan! I really enjoyed this project!