December 14, 2013

DIY Our First Christmas Tree Ornament

DIY Wood-Burned Christmas Tree Ornament

In a budding relationship, there are so many important little moments to remember: the first date, the first dance, the first holiday. In all the hustle and bustle of such life-changing events, I love finding little momentos to cherish and save the story behind the memories.

On our first Christmas as a married couple, my husband and I joined my parents and my brother's family for a tractor ride out to Strathmeyer farms, braced against the cold with the comfort of free apples, to search for our first Christmas tree. We made our cuts and waited for the tractor's return to carry our trees back, as my little nephew helped by carrying his own little evergreen branch. My husband marked the trunk with his initials, now a part of my initials, so that our tree would not be lost among the others on the back of the wagon. When my husband trimmed off the bottom of the trunk, I saved the little disc with his initials and turned it into a Christmas tree ornament to commemorate our first tree.

Here's what you'll need to do the same:
Wood burner (like this)
Sanding paper, heavy grit
Slice of tree trunk
Scrap piece of wood
How to Wood Burn a Christmas Tree Ornament

First, cut a 3/4 - 1 inch slice off of your trunk, making sure to saw as straight as possible. Trust me it is not very easy or safe to try to flatten your slice with a belt sander afterward (I do not recommend!).

If the first piece isn't flat enough, I'd suggest trying again to make a new slice. With practice and less eggnog, you'll be able to saw straight.

Next, sand the flat surface of your trunk until smooth. Leave the bark edges rough and natural looking.

Plug in your wood burner stylus and prop it so that the metal portion of the tool is not in contact with anything. Be careful since the whole length of the metal tool gets very hot.

Wait until it's completely hot before beginning (about 5 minutes depending on your tool).

Practice using your wood burner on a piece of scrap wood. The stylus tip might take some getting used to.

Sketch your words and design onto your trunk with pencil.

Use the wood burner to start tracing lightly over the letters onto the surface of your trunk.

Be mindful of the wood grain, since this might have a different density and might burn unevenly.

Once an outline of your letters has been formed, go back and burn over the letters again to reach your desired level of boldness or to create any font accents. I used a very thin font, so I only had to trace over most areas twice.

Drill a hole in the top center for the ribbon or wire to hang. Erase any visible pencil marks if you need to.

Rating: 3 out of 5. This craft has some safety concerns and may take a little practice, but overall it's a very easy way to create an ornament.

Now you have a piece of your life decorated for display on your Christmas tree!

Have you made any other mementos into Christmas tree ornaments? I'd love to see below in the comments!

Linking at:
Flaunt it Friday, Pin it Monday Hop,


  1. Sara, this looks great! I'm usually good at keeping things to memorialize later, but this one takes the cake! Well, it takes the tree, rather. Great execution!

    1. Yes, a cake burning would probably not last for very many years on the Christmas tree! ;-P Thanks Jacki!


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