no-budget christmas decor: popsicle sticks!

popsicle stick crafts bring to mind kindergarten camp crafts, don't they? but i think they get a bad rap. they're pretty ingenious & versatile little things. case in point: this adorable little winter sled ornament that my husband made in sunday school in... wait for it... 1986.
[i love that someone thought to write the year on it- he was 5, i would be 3.]

cute right? and has clearly endured the test of time despite being made out of literally nothing more than popsicle sticks & what looks like some hot glue.

there's actually a lot to like about popsicle sticks: their woodenness. their paint-ibility. their wood stain-ibility. the fact that they come in every size from tiny almost-appetizer-mini-stick to giant tongue depressors. and most of all? they are dirt cheap. and so they definitely are on my list this year of no-budget christmas crafts.

i'm going to church them up & start calling them crafts sticks so i can stop picturing the sticky, slobbery mess that is a popsicle stick after my 3 year old eating a popsicle.
so i picked up a pack of large ones [ for $2.50 at wal-mart], medium sized ones [150 for $1 at the dollar tree, & i had some mini ones on hand from a nativity project last year. ]
i saw so many of the cutest ideas on pinterest... little christmas trees, angels, snowmen, & mangers for the nativity. i settled on making some little angels as ornaments/gift toppers for the angel-loving ladies in my life. they turned out so cute i made an extra one for myself & one to hang on my neighbor's door with a snowflake cookie!
i used one of my daughter's toy tinkerbells to trace the wing shape onto cardboard [a fruit snacks box] & then used a glue stick to cover it with book pages & hymn music pages. then i painted the sticks to use for her dress, cut her arms & legs to size [half a mini stick] & hot glued it all together! i used a little 1" flat wooden circle for her head, & a little squirt of glitter glue for her halo.
the first one turned out a little big, so i ended up cutting the large sticks in half to make shorter, fatter angels! the stars are from a pack of glitter foam stickers that i found at walmart with the craft sticks, although if i make these again i'd use a wooden shape.
i love these because there's so many ways you could do them! they're like little paper dolls when you're putting them together. the little ballet-flat feet are totally my favorite part:

other no-budget christmas decor ideas:

paper star tree topper

framed letters

paper snowflakes

candy canes

jute & ruffle wreath


  1. Love the angels, cute idea to use instead of a gift tag!!!

  2. thanks! they were easy, cute & best of all cheap :)

  3. any ideas where i could get a tinkerbell for my wings??lol

  4. i think that particular tinkerbell was from the walmarts :) but maybe google a template? good luck!

  5. if you have a butterfly punch or dye cut you could possibly use it as the wings...

  6. Thank you for the idea!!!! Every year I make ornaments for family and friends and they have photos on them...I think I am going to try these and put the photo on the star that the angel is holding! Thank you again! ; )

  7. that's an awesome idea- i'd try maybe a wood star shape from the craft store & mod podge your photo to it. super cute! thanks for reading!

  8. what did you use for the ballet feet?

  9. hi there! the gold & silver 'shoes' are just glue & glitter, the red 'shoes' are cut out of felt & glued on. hope it helps!

  10. Hats off to your creativity !! Great idea!

  11. What did you use to cut the popsicle sticks so cleanly? That's always my issue :)

    1. I have used a dremel. It sounds way more involved than it is. It's more like using a hot glue gun vs glue and dremel vs scissors. Way easier than say a saw.

  12. hi megan! i used regular scissors. open up wide to the back, that's where they're sharpest, & then i cut one side, then turn it around to cut the same spot from the opposite directions. it makes two clean cuts that kind of meet in the middle, if that makes sense :) thanks for reading!

  13. Would love to see a tutorial on how to make the angles.

  14. Thank you for showing sleds. Yes, it's great to have the dates on items made and saved. Having one from each of two individuals adds meaning.
    I like the idea of "meaningful" paper--book pages and hymns. The finished crafts are very attractive. Thank you!

  15. Great blog! you know I love to work with craft sticks and always use good quality one from http://woodpaintsticks.com/wood-craft I love to
    make toys and jewellery from them

  16. The angels are absolutely gorgeous. Tracing Tinkerbell's wings was such a clever idea. I've included your angel ornament in my Craft Stick Projects roundup here: http://productivewahm.com/26-craft-stick-projects-for-every-letter-of-the-alphabet/

  17. I love these ideas !! Especially the angel, looks very cute .
    Fabulous job my dear. Thanks for sharing :)

  18. Love the idea. I shared it on my blog as a part of our 12 Days of Christmas with the Kids. Thanks for sharing!

  19. The little Angel is so cute & simple looking to make Thank you ..Cookie in Va.


i love to hear your comments or questions! i'll try to respond as quickly as possible, or you can email me at leafandletter[at]gmail.com :)



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