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Do it yourself wood slice ornaments are extremely easy to make and can be a great craft project for kids! These ornaments will last for years and add a unique touch to your Christmas tree. I specifially chose to make advent ornaments, so my post will reflect that, but please feel free to adapt the instructions for your needs! If you chose against the advent ornaments, you can use any picture in place of the printable images that I use. Make sure to size your image to about 3 inches across to fit on the wood slices linked, or smaller if you purchase from a different seller.
I stumbled across the concept of advent ornaments while surfing Instagram. The version that I liked best (aside from an “Experiences” Advent — check out Wellness Mama’s suggestions for this, it’s so good!), is made for the Jesus Storybook Bible and advent ornaments. I like that this advent is all about religion and the Bible. I want the focus of Christmas to be on these things and not only on gifts.
How the advent works
Each night, you read a story from the Jesus Storybook Bible and put the respective ornament on the tree.
I knew I wanted to use wood slices because I wanted to try out a craft project using them. Originally, I considered painting the pictures on the wood slices. This would have been really fun, but I knew that I wouldn’t finish by Christmas and I wanted to start the advent this December. Instead, I chose to use the printable pictures offered here and glue them to the wood slices–much quicker!
I also wanted to paint the bark gold, which I thought would look really pretty and I’m just addicted to gold at Christmas time. You can ditch the gold paint if you are going for a natural, rustic, or farmhouse theme.
- Images: Your own pictures OR printable advent calendar pictures, get yours here.
- Alternatively, if you want to paint on the wood face, you’ll need: acrylic paint, primer, and sealer
- Wood slices x 24 – at least 3″ wide to fit the printable images
- Mod podge
- Metallic gold paint
- Foam brush
- Yarn, twine, string, or ribbon to hang the ornaments
- Drill gun with twist drill bit of an appropriate size (if wood slices are not pre-drilled). I used a 1/4″ bit.
- Jesus Storybook Bible (to read the stories!)
As per my usual: I did not plot out the best approach before starting on my ornaments. I always get too excited (aka impatient) and just dive in! Thus, I end up fine tuning my strategy by trial and error. Here is what I determined to be the most time efficient order: paint, then glue, then seal.
Paint it Gold!
Start by painting the bark. I started by painting the side first, then the top and bottom borders. When painting the sides, I laid the wood slice on a small cup or jar to prevent the wet paint from touching anything. One coat was just enough to give a gold-tint to the bark. I preferred two coats, which was more opaque.
Preparing the Pictures
After the paint has dried, start on cutting out your printable images! The printable sheet comes with two sides to the “ornament.” If you print it one-sided then you can use each image for either side of the wood slice. I accidentally printed mine two-sided, so I ended up just writing the information (which day of the advent it was for, the story title, and page numbers in the book) on the other side of the wood slice. I also was pretty burnt out just from cutting out the 24 images, which was part of the reason that I just decided to write on the wood. Though, if you do use the printed information images, it will include the relevant Bible verses, which I like.
Glue & Seal
After all of the cutting is done, it’s time to start glueing! I was intimidated by this step because I was afraid that somehow I would mess it up. It is far easier and more foolproof than I realized. Simply lay some Mod Podge down on the bare wood slice with the foam brush, place your picture down on top of the Mod Podge, press it down and smooth it out (which I forgot to do while taking pictures!). Immediately follow up with another layer of Mod Podge down on the whole wood face. Don’t be afraid to lay a moderately liberal layer down and YES it will dry clear (see images below)! Also, apply some Mod Podge around the sides too, to seal the gold paint. Leave it to dry (at least 30 minutes) until the Mod Podge turns clear, then do the other side.
Supposedly it actually takes FOUR WEEKS to fully cure, but who’s got time for that? Just be attentive of not setting the slices down on any type of paper that will adhere to the surface for at least the first 24 hours. After then, the slices will still be slightly tacky and you may have to gently pry them apart.
Drilling & Hanging
The last step and the step that took me the longest to complete(!) was to drill the hole into the top. I wanted to make sure to leave a good margin of space from the edge, because I didn’t want to crack or split the wood. I used a 1/4″ twist drill bit so that I could easily feed the ribbon through the hole. If you use twine or yarn, you can size down in the diameter of the drill bit, such as 3/16″. You can see in the picture that after drilling, it left a rough edge. Feel free to sand it down for a cleaner and more polished look–I did not because I’m impatient. Next, feed the ribbon (or yarn or twine) through, tie a bow or double knot and you’re DONE! Now repeat this 23 more times! 😛
I love the look of the lights reflecting off of the gold. It adds such a nice bit of flash and glam. I think if you used a red ribbon, it would add a pop of festive color as well. I already had the navy ribbon, thus the reason for using that color. These wood ornaments are so elegant, easy, fun, and will last for years!
This is the first tradition that I am trying to implement for our family. I look forward to incorporating more as my kids get older and can actively participate. What are your favorite Christmas traditions in your family? Please share for others (and me!) who are in the market for new traditions!