If you’d like to decorate a Victorian Christmas tree this year, the best way to do it is to make all of your Christmas ornaments the way the Victorians made them. Lay down newspaper to protect your workspace prior to making these easy homemade Victorian Christmas ornaments.
Gather some acorns, pine cones and walnuts. If you’re using walnuts, open them with a walnut key to make the two halves of the shell split apart cleanly and evenly. Get a slender ribbon for each walnut ornament you’re making, loop it and tie a knot in the end. Insert the knotted end of the ribbon in the large end of the walnut shells, then glue them together using hot glue, super glue or fast drying tacky glue. If you’re using acorns or pine cones, give them a good washing in warm soapy water and allow them to dry completely.
Paint the acorns, pine cones and walnuts with some metallic silver or gold acrylic craft paint or spray paint. After they have dried, tie thin ribbons to the top part of the pine cones to create a loop to hang the handmade ornaments on the Victorian Christmas tree. Tie looped ribbon as you did with the walnut ornament, then attach them to the tops of the acorns with hot glue.
Victorian Christmas Card Ornaments
Find some Victorian Christmas cards and cut out the pictures from the front of the cards. If you prefer, you can also print pictures of Victorian Christmas cards on your computer, then paste them onto cardboard using a glue stick. To make the pictures look more authentically Victorian, cut them out in a circle or an oval shape. Loop a piece of ribbon, then glue it onto the back of the Christmas card picture.
Bird’s Nest Ornaments
Get some Spanish moss from your local craft store, and mold a small piece into the shape of a bird’s nest. Water down some craft glue and apply it to the bird’s nest using a paint brush. This will stiffen the bird’s nest ornament and help it hold its shape. Fill the Victorian bird’s nest Christmas ornament artificial birds, eggs or sugarplums. Make as many handmade bird’s nests as you like, varying their contents slightly. Allow the glue on the ornament to dry completely before setting it on your Victorian Christmas tree.
Take small old-fashioned looking toys such as dolls, rocking horses, toy soldiers, trains, sail boats and teddy bears to make handmade Christmas tree ornaments. Try to use toys made of natural materials such as wood, cloth or tin, and stick to toys that would have existed during the Victorian era. Sew a looped ribbon onto the top of cloth toys and use hot glue or a staple gun to attach a ribbon to metal or wooden toys.
Cornucopia Christmas tree ornaments were also popular during the Victorian period and are easy to make. Get a piece of chipboard from a cereal or frozen pizza box and cut it into a rectangle. Cut out some pictures from old Victorian magazines or print out Victorian pictures online. Color them in with colored pencils if necessary, then use craft glue to attach them onto the unfinished side of the cardboard piece. Once the glue has dried, roll the cardboard piece into a cone shape and glue it together. Make a hole on each side of the cornucopia using a hole punch, then thread a ribbon through the holes and tie them off at the ends. Stuff the inside of the cornucopia with dried flowers or Christmas candies wrapped in colorful cellophane or paper before hanging it on the tree.
Stretch pieces of cotton batting or cotton balls to create artificial snow. Spread these “cotton snow” pieces onto the ends of the Christmas tree branches.
The Victorians made homemade glass bead garlands for their Christmas trees. You can make a similar but safer beaded Christmas garland using a variety of shiny plastic beads in different colors and sizes and some beading cord. Depending on the type of beads and cord you purchase, you may also need a beading needle. String on the first bead, them tie the cord around it and apply some tacky glue to hold it in place. String on the remainder of the beads, alternating the colors and sizes to add to the interest of the garland. When you attach the last bead, tie a knot around it and apply glue as with the first bead.
For more information on this topic, read How to Decorate a Victorian Style Christmas Tree and Pine Cone Ornament Craft Project.