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How to make rustic wooden gift tags that double as ornaments

Mariko has been married for 28 years to master carpenter "Bob the Builder", who she brags "really can fix anything". She home-schooled three kids K-12 and is now mother-in-law to two more, with one incredibly adorable grandson. They all ...

A double duty DIY project: Wooden gift tags that turn into personalized ornaments

Make a festive wood slice Christmas ornament that will add some simple rustic charm to your tree. Or use them as beautiful handmade tags to top your gifts.

You can hunt around the yard for straight branches in different sizes, or you can use the bottom end of your Christmas tree and ask the guys at the tree lot to cut you a couple of slices.

A double duty DIY project: Wooden gift tags that turn into personalized ornaments
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

How to make wood slice ornaments and gift tags

Supplies:

  • Wood slices in various sizes (cut your own, or purchase ready-made at a craft store)
  • Printer (optional)
  • Pencil
  • Drill or eye hook
  • Twine or embroidery thread for hanging

For the chalkboard version

  • Chalk
  • Acrylic white paint pen (fine tip recommended)
  • Flat black or chalkboard paint
  • Small paint brush

For the raw wood version

  • Sharpie or paint pen in the color of your choice
  • Carbon paper (optional)

Directions:

Cut the branches into 1/2-inch slices using a chop saw. If you don’t have one, you can use a hand saw and sand the tops smooth. Or skip this step and purchase wood slices at your local craft store or through an online source.

A double duty DIY project: Wooden gift tags that turn into personalized ornaments
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

For the chalkboard version, paint the inner part of the slice with a thin coat of black or chalk paint, then let dry. Don't worry about filling in the natural little cracks — they only add to the rustic charm.

A double duty DIY project: Wooden gift tags that turn into personalized ornaments
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

Transfer your design by rubbing chalk on the back side of the paper, placing it on your “chalkboard,” and tracing over it with a pencil.

A double duty DIY project: Wooden gift tags that turn into personalized ornaments
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

This will leave a nice little design template on your piece, ready to trace over with a permanent white acrylic paint pen.

A double duty DIY project: Wooden gift tags that turn into personalized ornaments
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

For the raw wood version, you can freehand your letters directly on to the wood in pencil first, then trace over them with permanent pen. If you need a stencil, you’ll want to use carbon paper, found at your local craft store.

A double duty DIY project: Wooden gift tags that turn into personalized ornaments
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

Just lay the paper carbon-side down, then lay your template on top and trace. You can use the same paper multiple times.

A double duty DIY project: Wooden gift tags that turn into personalized ornaments
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

After painting, you can either drill a hole at the top or screw in an eye hook, then hang your little masterpieces with pretty twine or embroidery thread. Don't forget to mark the year on the back for remembrances.
A double duty DIY project: Wooden gift tags that turn into personalized ornaments
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

Just the right touch to make your tree and Christmas gifts that much more personal and pretty, and your recipient now has a darling little mini ornament for their tree.
A double duty DIY project: Wooden gift tags that turn into personalized ornaments
Image: Mariko Giverink/SheKnows

Now that you can see how much fun it is to whip these up, use the same techniques to make year-round projects and gifts: 
  • Use larger slices and put your favorite message on it: “Joy to the World,” “Let it Snow,” family name and date, wedding date... the possibilities are endless.
  • Skip the drilled holes and use as coasters. Spray with clear coat first.
  • Attach a magnet to the back for fun refrigerator art. Make alphabet letters for a kids' game.
  • Make a matching game for kids with symbols or colors on 1 side.
  • String a set together to form the words JOY, PEACE, NOEL, WELCOME or your family name, then string across the mantel.
  • Drill 2 holes into a tiny slice and turn it into a really cool rustic button.
  • Mark 5 of each with x’s and o’s for a rustic tic-tac-toe game.
  • Make a batch of them and use for wedding escort cards with guest names and tables.
  • Make a large chalk slice for the kitchen and write out your holiday menus.
  • Use this idea all year round for gift tags or holiday place settings.

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