Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Memory Ornaments - DIY

People deal with the loss of a loved one in very different ways. When my dad passed away, I wanted to help keep his memory alive by making Memory Ornaments for our large family. Here are directions with photos for 3 ornaments that I made:  "Faux" Quilted Ornaments from Dad's Shirts, Clear Ball Memory Ornaments, and Personalized Motorcycle Ornaments. I hope that these ideas give you comfort and peace.

"Faux" Quilted Ornaments from Dad's Shirts

For the adults in the family, I made "Faux" Quilted Ornaments from Dad's shirts. Most of Dad's shirts were plaid button-up shirts, some flannel and some woven cotton and/or polyester-cotton.

I will admit, making that first cut in one of Dad's shirts was tough! After that, it seemed easier.

I cut squares from the sleeves of his shirts and used these squares to cover 3" styrofoam balls. I used a craft container with divisions to sort the squares. I stored scissors, glue, nail files, cord, etc., in the bottom compartments. I carried this container with me as I worked on the ornaments, even on car trips!

For complete directions,  go to this link:


Jute cord was added for a hanger. I hung the ornaments (a group at a time) on hooks in my craft room to dry.

When the ornaments were dry, I tore a favorite denim shirt in strips and tied the strips in bows which were glued to the ornaments.

I adapted a poem that I found online and typed and printed it. I then glued the poems to one side of a brown paper gift tag. I bought the tags, but you could easily make them.

For myself and my siblings, I copied Dad's signature from a card he had sent me. I glued this to the back of the tags.

For the grandkids and great-grandkids, I copied his signature from a card he had sent to granddaughter Mia and glued it to the back of the tags. 

Each person's name was written on the gift tags, and they were attached to the ornaments with heavy string that was included with the tags.

Clear Ball Memory Ornaments

For the Dad's Great Grandkids (and some of the adults), I wanted to create an ornament with reminders of things he loved and did. I made a list of things important to him and decided to display them in a Clear Ball Ornament.  The search was on to find meaningful objects that were small enough to fit in the balls. Some objects I had in my Craft Room. Others I bought in Scrapbook Sections of stores; some were Novelty Buttons. 

The objects that I included were: heart, squares from shirts, jean square, buttons from his shirts, pebbles, screws and bolts from his garage, small wheel, star from his flag, red, white, and blue button and ribbon, popcorn kernels, candy "puffy" sticker, piece of wood dowel, birdhouse, sea shell, kitten, square cut from a map, and pinto beans. I tried to use a piece of actual coal, but it was too crumbly and dusty. Instead I spray painted small pebbles black to look like coal. It worked!

After all the objects were gathered, I sorted and organized them in egg cartons to make it easy to fill each ornament. 

I wrote a poem about my dad which included verses explaining each object. These poems were sent to each family along with the ornaments.

It was quite a hunt to find enough plastic Clear Ball Ornaments! Most that I bought were about 3-1/2" in diameter. I bought some at dollar stores and some at craft stores. Most were one piece, so the objects had to be small enough to fit in the opening. A few were 2-piece ornaments that would accommodate slightly larger objects. 

After all the Clear Ball Ornaments were filled, I replaced the metal hook on the 1-piece ornaments. I carefully glued the 2-piece ornaments together with small amounts of Craft 2000 glue. A toothpick helped with this task!

Again, I added gift tags with Dad's signature on them.

Time to Mail!

For mailing, all of the ornaments were all sealed in individual plastic bags. 
Bubble wrap was then used along with tissue paper to cushion all the ornaments. To prevent wrinkling, the poems were rolled and inserted in paper towel cardboard rolls.  Of course, I said a prayer that all would arrive safely!

On my calendar, I had marked the last day for mailing Priority Mail packages for Christmas Delivery. Although I had started the ornaments in mid-October, it was still a race to get those 50+ ornaments done before Christmas! Finally, they were all finished, boxed, and addressed with 1 day to spare! I had checked to see which family members were getting together for celebrations and where, and I mailed the appropriate box to each group.

Some of the boxes of
Memory Ornaments

Yes, they all arrived on time, and none were damaged! At each family gathering, someone read the poem about my dad before they passed out the ornaments. I had calls, texts, photos, and videos to let me know how it all went. Of course, there were tears as they shared happy memories of Dad.

All hung the ornaments on their trees or in a special place. Some purchased display stands to keep their ornaments out all year.

Personalized Motorcycle Ornaments

My dad had a Harley Davidson Motorcycle that was his pride and joy, and the grandkids loved it! He even rode it when he was 89! As an extra gift for my eight grandkids, I purchased Harley Davidson motorcycle ornaments online and personalized them. The year charm was already attached to the ornament when I bought them. 

I used a Black Fine Sharpie Marker to write his name on the banner on the bottom. I wrote the years of Dad's birth and death on each side.

I used a white paint pen to write each grandchild's name on an ornament. I hope this is a reminder of great times they had at Papaw's house. I passed them out to my nearby grandkids and mailed the rest. They all love them! 

This year, I have received some texts, calls, and pictures as Dad's Memory Ornaments were again hung on Christmas trees.

Dad's memory lives on!

We will never forget you, Dad! Love you forever!

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