Punched Tin Christmas Tree Ornaments: An Easy To Make Children’s Craft

These vintage inspired punched “tin” ornaments are so easy to make. I’ve been meaning to post this project for ages. I love history and learning about how people lived. Isn’t it inspiring how resourceful and creative people can be. The early Americans were no exception, because glass was so expensive and not very durable, tin was used to make lanterns. Because tin wasn’t transparent like glass, holes were punched in the sides to allow the candle to shine through producing a beautiful display of spotted light. Often times elaborate patterns were made. These lanterns were my inspiration for this project. Although not necessarily tin, these metal tops make perfect sized ornaments. Furthermore, the edges are already smooth.

I hope you spend some quality time with the kids making attractive Christmas tree ornaments using salvaged materials.

These ornaments and many more were done free hand. My girls sure liked making them.

You will need a small hammer, a selection of nails, and a board or other hard surface to work on.

You will also need “tin” tops and ribbon or thread.

To make:

1. Collect the tops and bottoms of cylindrical packaging from chips, crescent rolls, biscuits, dinner rolls, etc…

2. Get a pattern or draw your own on paper (or use no pattern at all). When I make some patterns, I’ll post them here.

3. Hold or tape in place the pattern you are using. The pattern should be centered on your “tin” top.

4. Use a hammer and nail to make holes. Make sure you have a board (or an old cutting board) underneath so as not to ruin your table. Use a workbench if you have one.

5. Add an extra hole in the top for stringing a ribbon or cord through to hang on tree.

28 thoughts on “Punched Tin Christmas Tree Ornaments: An Easy To Make Children’s Craft

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  2. B

    There are can openers that don’t cut the lids – they unseal the tops of cans, leaving a smooth edge (that isn’t sharp). I found mine at a discount store and use the lids for decoration. Also, placing a small christmas bulb in between two similar lids(after making your design)and then gluing or soldering them together, you can make an interesting tree or mantel ornament.

  3. Melissa Freeman

    What a life-saver! I am program director for a tourist site-a WWII German POW camp in Texas–and we learned that the German prisoners made Christmas ornaments out of tin during the Christmases they were here–1943-45. They probably cut out shapes but this could be a much more do-able project for our Christmas event–something kids could do as well. I am looking forward to the patterns.

  4. Keuna Saeger

    Another thing you can do:

    Instead of punching the design on a wooden surface, you could fill the canister from which you got the tin lid with water (leaving the tin) and freeze it. This gives a very had surface to work with, and doesn’t bend the tin.

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  7. Susan

    Very nice project. Thank you so much. I have a pierced tin lantern and it’s my favorite piece in my house.I will be making these for our tree.
    Warm Regards,

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  9. heidi schoenfeld

    I am having my brownie scouts make these. Instead of the can lids (which can be hard to come by), one can also use the tin (or some other kind of metal) disks that are used in construction (placed between nail and tarpaper). Not sure what they are called but you can find them in building supply stores.

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  13. annie wylie

    I have made these before using the lids from frozen juice concentrate. Then you don’t have to worry about rough edges. However, when you punch it with the nail it leaves some rough edges on the back side. I solved this problem by covering the back with a piece of felt.

  14. Beverly

    These are always so much fun! Also you can fill up small vegetable cans (after you empty them)with water and freeze over night. then tin punch design on the outside of can. then put holes at the top of each side and put a wire for a hanger. then spray paint desired color, put a battery operated tealite candle inside and hang on the tree or the mantel.glow is soft, and you dont have to worry about a flame!

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  16. Debbie Gumprecht

    where can I find more patterens for the tops and print them out to the size of the tops like templets?

  17. Janet

    Thanks for sharing this, we had already decided to have an “old fashioned” tree this year, which means making the majority of the ornaments. Personally, I love doing this but my kids not so much. They should get into making their own designs.

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  21. Debra

    Years ago, I saw a similar project in a craft magazine. The ornaments were made from canning jar lids.
    I remember that I had trouble finding smooth ones that were not imprinted with the manufacturer’s name.
    I finally did find them. They are usually a gold-ish color. The article had various punched designs, such as a simple bird design, or a star, etc. Use your imagination and plan the design on paper first. Just trace around the lid on a piece of paper, cut it out, place the dots where you want them, lay the paper circle over the lids, punch lightly with a punch or nail through the paper, then punch the lids to make the required design. These are not free of course, but making these are easier than taking the lids from used cans. IF you can find them these days. Hope this helps some.

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