Christmas Ornament Ideas

Everybody has an idea of the perfect Christmas and more than likely, a tree is part of that vision.  In my household, decorating the tree has always been a family activity.  We work together to put up the tree and adorn it with lights, garland and our favourite ornaments.  We each have our favourite decorations and as you may have guessed, many of mine are wooden.

Here are a few examples of wooden decorations in the house of my friend Morgan.  (Morgan lives in Phoenix, AZ.  He brought me down to Phoenix in 2008 to complete the tabletop for the bubinga table, Flow).  I hope that this article will give you some ideas and an excuse to spend some time in the shop.  See if you can get your friends and family members involved too – after all, Christmas is about togetherness.

These white doves are both simple and elegant.  Cut out the wing and the body, glue the wing to the body and paint them white.  A small hole through the wing allows a loop of thread to suspend the bird from a branch.  If you are making more than one, try stacking a few bodies (or wings) together and cutting them out together.

This angel is a little more creative.  To form the arms, legs and wings, soak thin strips of wood (veneer or shavings) and let them dry while rolled around a form.  White glue holds thin strips of wood together with a wooden ball for the head and craft supplies for hair and a tiara.

There are literally hundreds of designs you can cut out for Christmas.  For complex designs with fragile points and narrow sections, plywood is a good choice because it doesn’t have any short grain.  Baltic birch plywood with thick plies and veneers is a good choice for work like this.  Like the dove, this design lends itself well to stack-cutting.  The snowflake is suspended by a loop of red ribbon through one of the cutouts.

While these trees certainly don’t belong on the Christmas tree, they certainly deserve a mention.

The trees are made from a single piece of straight-grained wood.  Starting from the top, begin to take a moderately heavy cut with a chisel oriented bevel-down and stop before the chip breaks free.  Work your way around and down the tree, taking progressively longer cuts until you have a full tree.  Finally, shape the tip of the tree and the base.  Be sure to undercut the base to insure it doesn’t rock.  This does take some skill and is good chisel practice, so why not give it a try?

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