Make your own Christmas Ornaments #4: Wood Slices

One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to make new Christmas Ornaments for my tree.  Anyone and everyone can make ornaments. Getting crafty around the holidays is fun and you can even get together with friends or family and make it into an event! For the last few weeks, I have shared 3 other blog posts about making Christmas Ornaments. All of those involved using the clear glass or plastic ornament balls. If you missed seeing those tutorials, I recommend going back to check them out (I will post links at the end of this article.) The type of ornament project I will be sharing in this article involves using natural wood slices. The possibilities are endless … you can create whatever you imagine! I will share some of the Wood Slice Ornaments I have made as well as share general supplies needed and basic directions.

In the photos above are a few sample ornaments I have made. For each of these ornaments, I painted the front of the wood slice and then added a vinyl design. This is just one way you to create a fun ornament using the wood slices. You can add any kind of vinyl design and paint them any color you want … so imagine all the possibilities! You can even paint and decorate both sides of the wood slice if you want.

Supplies Needed:

Natural Wood Slices (see photo above)

  • Pre-drilled wood slices are better but you can always drill your own holes.
  • These can be purchased at most of the craft stores around the holidays.
  • They come in different sizes (I prefer to use ones that are around 3″).
  • They can be purchased in bulk on Amazon.
  • Some of the wood slices are smoother than others, sometimes they have a rougher look .. I like both, it really depends on what you are going to do with them!

Paint and Paintbrushes

  • As you can see in my photo above, I have ALL kinds of paints! What I am saying is you can use a variety of paints on the wood slices, they all work fine! Acrylic paints are probably your best option and I like the consistency of the Folk Art brand.
  • On one of my ornaments, I used chalkboard paint, then wrote with a piece of chalk!
  • You are painting a small surface and getting close to the edge of a circle, so you will want a paintbrush that is not too big and you feel you have good control over.
  • You do not need expensive paintbrushes!
  • Make sure to clean your paintbrushes thoroughly after use.

Mod Podge and foam brush

  • This is optional but I like to coat my ornament after the paint thoroughly dries with a light coat of mod podge or clear spray sealant to protect the paint from chipping.
  • This also can help your vinyl to adhere and stick better.
  • It doesn’t matter if it’s Matte or Gloss (depends on what look you like).

Vinyl to create your design (or you can purchase a design)

  • In the photo above you can see 3 sheets of vinyl (red, green, and silver). I like to use 651 permanent vinyl on my ornaments; however, some people use 631 and I’ve even read where others have used HTV and ironed on their design.
  • Vinyl can be purchased at a craft store or online at many Vinyl stores or Amazon.
  • If you are creating your own design, you will need a cutting machine, such as one made by Cricut or Silhouette.
  • If you do not have a cutting machine, you can purchase a design from a craft store or online from Etsy.

Ribbon, Jute, Rick Rack, or Cord

  • In the photo above, I have some samples of types of ribbon you could use to hang your ornament.
  • You want to find something that will match your ornament design.
  • There are so many possibilities of what you could use, that there is no way I could list them all.
  • Go to a craft store and look to see what they have available.

Helpful Tools

  • Scissors
  • Glue (tacky glue, E6000, hot glue gun) … it will depend on what you are gluing on.
  • Weeder (Cricut tool used to weed out vinyl not needed in the design)
  • Transfer paper (I use Cricut transfer tape or Contact paper to transfer my designs)
  • Painter’s tape (this is very helpful if you need to tape off an area you don’t want to be painted or you are trying to make a straight line).
  • Ruler (I use my ruler all the time! You will need to measure your ornament before creating your design. I also use my ruler to line up things).


  • Every ornament is different so this will depend on what you are making!
  • Some ornaments will just be painted with a vinyl design and you will not need embellishments.
  • You will see in some of the sample ornaments I share, I have embellishments. I used Shells for a turtle. I used Tulle for a fishtail and stiff Felt for fish fins.

In the photos above, I have shared a few more samples. The Let it Snow ornament is two-sided, one side has vinyl and the other side has writing in chalk. I sprayed it with a clear coat to protect it from smudging. The fish and the turtle are a little more dimensional. I used Holographic Vinyl to create the scales on the fish and stiff felt for the fins. The tail is made out of tulle and I used a googly eye. The turtle has a shell body and clamshell pieces for his legs and another shell for his head. I painted the background blue to represent the sea. All is Calm ornament has vinyl on both sides, but the star is layered vinyl and I added painted dots for stars. A fun thing to do is look around and see what kinds of supplies you have to work with and create something using those supplies. Great activity to do with kids!

In the photos above, you will see I have created photo ornaments using the wood slices! This is very simple to do and you just use regular photos. These make great gifts!

Basic Directions:

Decide on what type of ornament you will make and what supplies you will need.

  • If you are making an ornament with paint and a vinyl design (you will need paint, paintbrushes, mod podge and a foam brush, your vinyl design, and ribbon).
  • If you are creating something more dimensional, gather all the things you will need to create your design, such as how I used glue and shells to create my turtle.
  • If you are creating a photo ornament, you will need a photo that will fit well on the circle area of the wood slice. For the photo, you will need a circle pattern to trace over it and scissors or a circle cutter. You will need Mod Podge and a foam brush and ribbon.

Paint the wood slice (optional).

  • If you plan to paint your wood slice (you don’t have to, you can certainly leave the natural wood look as your background), make sure the area is fairly smooth, remove any dust particles.
  • Paint a thin coat of paint on the front and then let it dry.
  • Paint a second coat and let it dry thoroughly.
  • If painting both sides, you can paint the backside when the front is dry.
  • You can use painter’s tape or your ruler to create a straight edge (like I did with the fishing ornament). See the photos below.

Apply Mod Podge (optional).

  • After your paint is dry but before you adhere your vinyl or anything else, paint on a thin coat of Mod Podge over the paint with a foam brush.
  • This is optional. You might prefer to spray a thin coat of clear gloss coat after you have applied your vinyl. You may also choose not to put anything over the paint, which is fine.
  • On most of my ornaments, I applied Mod Podge after the paint before the vinyl. I did use a clear spray on the Christmas in our new home ornament as well as the Let it Snow ornament that I used chalk.

Adhere your vinyl design (if you are using vinyl).

  • Use Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio to create your design or upload your design that you purchased or downloaded from another site.
  • Size your design to fit within the circle space of your wood slice. This is very important. You do not want to cut your design and then find out it won’t fit.
  • Cut your design using your cutting machine onto the vinyl. You can use one color (like I did with the snowflake or fishing ornaments) or use multiple colors (like I did with the Oh Deer or Christmas ornaments).
  • Use your weeding tool to weed out the unused vinyl material. Below are photos after I weeded the fish scales and “I’d Rather Be Fishing”.
  • Use your transfer tape or contact paper to apply your design to the wood slice. If you purchased a design, it should come with transfer tape.

Adhere your embellishments (optional).

  • You might be adding embellishments to an ornament you just put vinyl on, such as how I added the berry pieces to the Christmas ornament (see photo below) or the tulle fishtail to my fish ornament. Or you might be creating your whole ornament with embellishments, such as my turtle made out of shells.
  • The type of glue you use will depend on what you are gluing onto the wood slice. For the berry pieces I put on top of the Christmas wood slice, I used a hot glue gun because I needed something that would hold quick and firm. On the other hand, for the turtle, I used E6000 because shells are a little harder to make stick, so I needed a strong bonding glue. For the fish, I used tacky glue to adhere the fins and hot glue to adhere the tail. I used a small piece of floral wiring in the center of the rolled up tulle to create the fishtail.

Apply your photo to the wood slice (another option).

  • Measure across your wood slice and use the diameter measurement to create your circle pattern for the photo. If you have a circle cutter (see photo below), you could use that to cut your photo accordingly. If you have a cutting machine, you could create a circle pattern out of cardstock. You could also just trace the wood shape and use that if needed to create a pattern for your photo. You will also need to punch a hole in your photo to match up with the wood slice hole (see the photo below). I used a regular hole puncher. *Note I still need to trim that photo a little.
  • First, you will apply Mod Podge to the wood slice using a foam brush. Stick your photo on as soon as your done (before the Mod Podge dries).
  • Allow it to dry for a little while
  • Then you will apply a coat of Mod Podge over your photo. This protects the photo and seals it onto the wood slice, as well as, gives it a shiny look.
  • Allow it to completely dry.
  • If you wanted to, you could add the date the photo was taken or where the photo was taken on the backside of the wood slice, using vinyl, paint or a sharpie. See photo above for date sample.

Tie on your ribbon or other material for hanging.

  • Cut a piece of ribbon, jute, cording, rick rack, or other material you will use to hang your ornament on your tree.
  • I usually just loop it through and tie a knot.
  • Hooray! You’re done! Hang your ornament on your tree and enjoy!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and that it inspires you to create some of your own ornaments! I would love to see your creations, so please stop by my Pinterest page sometime and share your photos under my wood slice ornament pins. If you like to create, follow my blog for my crafty posts like this one. Don’t forget to go back and check out my previous Ornament tutorials (links below). Thanks!!! Kristina

Make your own Christmas Ornaments #1: Glitter Ornaments

Make your own Christmas Ornaments #2: Floating Ornaments

Make your own Christmas Ornaments #3: Filled Ornaments

*Note: A good source for svg’s (scalable vector graphics) to use is They are free for personal use but they do take donations.

Update: I have seen many people use heat transfer vinyl (iron on), so I had to try it! Here is one I just made for a gift, love how it looks!

14 thoughts on “Make your own Christmas Ornaments #4: Wood Slices

  1. I love these! I tried to do this once for my husband and my first Christmas together. Didn’t work out so nice (we just cut a slice and wrote our names and date on it). We also left it in the garage where the mildew got to it. 😦 Adding photos is a wonderful idea!

    Liked by 1 person

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