Make a Family Tree with Handmade Christmas Ornaments

I have always loved old black and white photos.  Looking back through years past into those timeless pictures, I decided to add some of that timeless beauty to a little family tree this year for Christmas.  I actually used old and new photos together to create a family tree for our Christmas decor.  Follow along to create your own handmade Christmas ornaments and family tree.

First, you will need some black and white pictures.  I used a variety of old and new pictures.  I converted them all to black and white on my computer and had them printed at the local drugstore.  I think my total was around $4.  I actually printed more than I needed.  The “ornaments” we are going to use are a variety of shapes and I was unsure how the pictures would look in them.  Better to have too many then to have to run back to the store to print more pictures.

In addition to pictures, here are the supplies needed to make your own handmade Christmas ornaments and family tree:

I started with my pile of pictures and determined which photo would look best in each metal object.  I trimmed my pictures to where they would fit inside and removed any ribbon that came on the metal objects.

The pictures did not sit all the way down inside of the metal objects.  I made them where they would sit slightly inside but not all the way on the bottom.

First up is to coat the pictures with two coats of Mod Podge (matte or gloss).  Allow them to dry in between coats.  Note that I also used the Mod Podge to hold the picture inside of the metal object, so I used excess Mod Podge where ever the picture touches the metal.  This is shown in the picture below.  I allowed the Mod Podge coats to cure overnight before going onto the next step.

After both coats of Mod Podge have dried completely, it is time to use Mod Podge Dimensional Magic.  This product will add a dimension and luster to your project not found with regular Mod Podge.

The ornament on the left below only has two coats of regular Mod Podge applied.  The ornament on the right has the Dimensional Magic.  This is what it will look like wet.  Apply an even coat on all of your ornaments and allow to dry.  I find that leaving it to dry overnight is preferred.

That same ornament from the picture above can be seen below completely dry.  The Dimensional Magic dries completely clear but leaves behind a hard finish coat that shines.  It is perfect for finishing off these ornaments.

I added a ribbon to each ornament.  Either threading it through the already present hole, or using hot glue to adhere to the back.

I then pulled out my mini tree and decorated it.  First layering on rusty stars and jingle bells tied with jute cording.  Then adding on all of my family tree ornaments.

This little tree tells the story of my husband’s family all the way to present day.

Even a picture of our very first date (to prom!) made the tree.

Each ornament represents someone special in our lives or someone special that has passed on.

It is the perfect tribute to his family and all of those that helped make us who we are today.

I am thinking of going back and adding to this with more old pictures from my family.  What a perfect way to remember those that made a special impact on our lives at Christmas time.  Each picture tells a story and can keep the storytelling alive for the next generation.  You could even add a few pictures each year and then pass these onto your grown children one day.  This would also make a lovely gift for your mother, grandmother, or anyone that would cherish these memories just as you have.

About Angie

Angie blogs at The Country Chic Cottage where you can find creative crafts, vintage finds, home decor, and DIY all with a little farmhouse flair. Angie has been blogging for over 2 years and is married with three kids. Stop by her blog where you will find everything from small, quick crafts to major furniture and home makeovers. Visit her blog at


  1. Marlayne says

    I loved this idea and pinned it to my page. In re-looking at them, I thought perhaps adding the year of the photo and/or names would make great keepsake for future generations. I have photos with no names and it’s sad, so perhaps this could be added?

  2. Stacialspaugh says

    I made a tree with homemade cinnamon Christmas whiskey jugs for my family tree they was bootleggers lol , and owned grand river inn


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