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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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12 Days of Holiday Crafts, Day 6: Spice Ornaments

 (Maggie Bullock)
(Maggie Bullock)

Years ago in Germany my mom bought some Christmas ornaments that I loved as a child. They were simple shapes (I remember an angel and a tree) and decorated with dried spices. I’ve tried to replicate the concept, though I kept the shapes very simple—you could be more adventurous and even use cookie cutters as templates.

This project is perfect for kids—the glue is non-toxic and the spices are awfully fun to play with.

You will need:
scraps of cardboard
a round template (I used the bottom of a small glass and an egg cup—check your cupboards for templates)
white glue that dries clear
an old paintbrush
a variety of dried spices.

Get your spices ready to use (old spices that have been in your cupboard for too long are great for this project, otherwise, bulk spices are your friends). I used a small muffin tin to organize larger spices (I used white, black, and green peppercorns, pink pepper berries, hawthorn berries, star anise, and cloves, split peas would also be fun).

Put poppy seeds, ground cloves or cinnamon, and other seeds (alfalfa seeds work well) in small saucers.

Trace circles of varying sizes on the cardboard (I used corrugated cardboard straight out of the recycle bin)

and cut them out. Using an old paintbrush and white glue, brush both surfaces of the circles with glue and dip them into one of the seeds or a ground spice. Allow to dry.

Use the larger spices to decorate the ornament in whatever way you like. I love the look of star anise used as petals around the circles. After decorating all sides, allow the glue to dry and wrap string around the ornament to tie for hanging.

Repurposed, sustainable, and awfully pretty.

I made lots. And they smell good.


Artist and crafter Maggie Wolcott writes about craft events in and around Spokane, as well as her own adventures in creating and repurposing. Her DwellWellNW posts include project and decorating ideas, recipes, reviews of events, and interviews with local artists. Maggie spends her days as an English professor, and when she’s not grading papers, she can generally be found with a paintbrush or scissors in hand. She can be reached at