It’s time to deck the halls and what better way to do that than with handmade vintage-inspired ornaments. I’ve got two easy tutorials for creating some “oh-so-lovely” ornaments to give or to keep. They look beautiful tied onto a wreath or bough, hanging from your tree or strung on to a package.  Wrap them in a little kraft paper box and they make the sweetest hostess gift. Who wouldn’t want one?


dried orange slices

Dried orange slices with a hint of glitter and threaded with gold ribbon and bells will give you that homespun, warm look that we all crave at this time of year.  These are super easy to make and look equally lovely with cut limes or lemons.

slice oranges

First slice up your fruit into 1/4 inch slices.  The more even the better but as you can see, my slices of fruit are anything but even – it must be the lefty in me!

sliced fruit ready for drying in the oven

Lay your sliced fruit on a paper towel to pat off the extra wetness.  Next place the fruit slices on a cookie sheet that is sprayed with a tiny bit of cooking spray.  Set your oven to 250 degrees and bake for approximately 2 hours.  Make sure to flip your fruit slices every 30 minutes or so.  Once they are done  and are still tacky to the touch, sprinkle them with a little bit of glitter for shine.  You can skip this step if you aren’t feeling the sparkle.  Poke a little hole in the top with a skewer and thread your ribbon and bells (if you wish) through the hole.  They are ready for hanging or to be piled up into a bowl.  Either way, they are beautiful.

silvered mercury glass ornaments

These are some of my favorite handmade ornaments.  With a few supplies from your arts and crafts store, you’ll have absolutely gorgeous, luxury looking ornaments – similar to those I’ve spied at Anthropology.

plain glass ornaments

Get yourself some plain glass ornaments – these can be purchased at your local craft store.  Any shape will do.  While you are there, buy some silver leaf (I use Speedball) and some spray adhesive for metal leafing (again I use Speedball).  I cleaned my glass ornaments with a little bit of rubbing alcohol and once they were dry – I turned them upside down on an old egg carton.  I then sprayed the adhesive on the glass ornaments.  Because I wanted a weathered, vintage look I just sprayed the bottom half with the adhesive.  The adhesive will stay tacky for 45 minutes so you have plenty of time to apply your silver leaf.  I laid a sheet of silver leaf over the sticky part of the glass ornament and then brushed away the excess.  I didn’t want it to be perfect – I wanted it to look like time had distressed it and worn away the silver.

silvered mercury glass handmade ornaments

I then placed a piece of tinsel wire inside the ornament to give it more sparkle and dimension.  Voila!  A beautifully distressed “mercury glass” ornament.  Tie it up with some silver and red metallic thread and you’ve got yourself a work of art.

handmade by Nelley Kelley Designs

Now in the event that you have no desire to make your own ornaments this year – but you love the look of handmade ornaments … come check out my holiday shop for my selection of Nelley Kelley limited edition ornaments.  They should be making their debut early this week.  Here is a sneak peek of my Vintage Dictionary Pinecone dipped in German glitter glass.

Let me know if you decide to try your hand at a homemade ornament … I’ld love to see how they come out.

see you soon,


4 thoughts on “deck the halls …

    • Ellen McHale says:

      Hi Jo –
      Thank you! I had a lot of fun making these – you have to give them a try. Don’t the orange slices remind you of last year’s Holiday House Tour? (they are even prettier with a little glitter attached). See you very soon … you may be getting a few of these … just in case you decide not to make them.

  1. Chrissy says:

    Love the orange slice ornaments – what a great idea! Just purchased the heart and pinecone ornaments and can’t wait to add them to Christmas memories for many years to come.

    • Ellen McHale says:

      Hi Chrissy,
      I can’t wait to package up your ornaments today. Thank you so much for thinking of me. Do try the oranges slices, they are so much fun to make because they are so easy and satisfying. You really don’t need much in the supply department. I was thinking only this morning that adding some star anise (leftover from the spiced sugar project) to the bells and thread decorating the orange slices would be a lovely touch.

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