DIY: The Many Uses of Clear Ornaments

What was the best part of your weekend? The best part of my weekend was my sister's wedding (I posted pics on Instagram and Twitter of it). Another highlight was tackling my Christmas shopping--I still have gifts to buy/make. Eek! Speaking of gifts, sometimes life/procrastination/time/circumstances prevents us from shopping. I thought I'd offer up my favorite last minute gift: the clear ornament. I buy these on clearance after Christmas and use the next year. Clearance sales, travel sections, garage sales, and flea markets are great places to scope out finds for the inside of the ornaments. The clear ornament is so versatile--you can use it for just about anything, for just about anyone, and it's my go-to gift when I'm out of time or ideas. These are perfect for Secret Santa gifts, teacher gifts, hostess gifts, kids, teens, unexpected oops-why-of-course-I-got-you-something gifts, and of course, those last minute Christmas gifts:

The Many Uses of Clear Ornaments

There are essentially three types of clear ornaments:
  • The glass/plastic ornament--opens at the top
  • The acrylic ornament--this opens in half
  • The screw top ornament--I buy the Coke bottles or water bottles shaped like a ball. Take the label off, wash, dry, and use.
Check out my Many Uses of Clear Ornaments:
  • Homemade bath/body products (Click the DIY tab at the top of my blog for lots of recipes!)
    • Hand soap--I've made soap or just poured a nice-smelling one into a glass/screw top ornament. These are great to keep in a guest bathroom.
    • Soap curls and ribbons--Use a cheese slicer to slice up bars of soap (made or purchased) into decorative curls/ribbons and place into acrylic ornaments.
    • Bath salts--glass ornament
    • Body/face scrubs--glass, acrylic, screw top
    • Toner--glass or screw top
    • Body butter--screw top
    • Bath bombs--acrylic
    • Mold for bath bombs
    • Lip plumper--acrylic
    • Solid perfume--acrylic
    • Bubble bath--screw top 
  • Food 
    • Cocoa mix--acrylic/screw top
    • Coffee mix--" "
    • Dip mix (like herbs for ranch dressing)" "
    • Tea--" " I've included tea bags, sugar cubes, and creamer or loose leaves
    • Homemade treats--cookies, Chex mix, choc-covered pretzels, peppermint bark, marshmallows, etc--acrylic 
    • Cookie Mix--screw top/glass
    • Candy--M&Ms, small candies--all 3 types of ornaments, depending on candy
    • Cocktail mix--screw top/glass if careful. The recipient adds the alcohol.
    • Mocktail mix--" "
    • Colored Sugar/Sprinkles--include a recipe for cookies to use with the sprinkles--better yet, include a cookie mix in an ornament too.
    • Dog treats or toys
    • Small cookie cutters with recipe for cookies
  • Gift
    • Hangover helper--something for headache, alka seltzer, nausea, eye drops, immune system booster, etc. 
    • Wedding day kit--bobby pins, breath mints, clear polish, hair spray, band aids, safety pins, wipes etc.
    • First aid kit--for desk at work: band aids, hand sanitizer, floss, aspirin, neosporin, etc.
    • Office kit--paper clips, white out, staple remover, hand sanitizer, etc.
    • Romantic kit--small candle, body oil, rose petals, bubble bath, etc.
    • Beauty kit
      • nail polishes
      • lipstick/lipgloss/chapstick
      • eye shadows/mascara/blush/etc.
      • nail grooming kit
      • perfume samples
      • lotion
    • Advent/Hanukkah/12 Days of Christmas countdown--a gift each day in an ornament
    • Money holder--Roll up the bills and tie with a ribbon
    • Bank--add coins/bills
    • Gift card holder
    • Jewelry--especially with an engagement ring inside! ;)
    • Bubbles--for the kids
    • Craft--place inside the ingredients for a small craft
    • Puzzles/games/play doh/jax/small book
    • Small ornament inside of a clear ornament--it's a 2-in-1 gift!
    • Make into ornament--place ingredients inside
    • Toys from fast food restaurants--I've been to many a holiday party where the kids were so bored at the kids' table, awaiting food or the presents. Having something for the kids to make or open helps. This can work for car trips too, provided the toys are age--appropiate.
    • Salt dough indredients and recipe--to make handprints of child (or fur baby)
  • Ornament
    • Photo--of you, loved one, in memory of loved one, event
    • Wedding/baby invitation/program--cut into strips and place into ornament. I've done this for friends and for my bro/s.i.l. last year!
    • Place cards
    • Personalized--monogram, name--for those with unusual names
    • Mementos--sand/earth from vacation, ticket stubs from event, written loves notes, written memories of the past year
    • Polish--Pour in glitter polish, swirl around to coat all sides, and then pour of excess. Gorgeous. I've done this with glitter and mop n glo floor cleaner
    • I'm sure Pinterest has a billion ornament ideas--check there too!
  • Beverage Server
    • I used these at my Hot Cocoa bar last year and to hold cocktails/shots and water.
  • Wash and dry before using with food/beverage. 
  • Refrain from using glass ornaments with children.
  • I've used diy snow globe kits also to hold these items.
  • Add filler/decorations to the ornaments to make them extra special. For example, I filled an ornament with popcorn kernels (with directions) and a gift card for a DVD rental.

Are you finished with your holiday shopping?


  1. This is so cute! I will totally have to buy some at the after-Christmas sales for next year! Thank you (:

  2. This is great! And I loved the candy cane scrub in the cute glass jar!!!! So fantastic and festive without being red and green! Love it all Elle,

    Shauna xoxxo

  3. these are awesome ideas--various themed gifts within the clear ornaments. I'm almost done with Christmas shopping..just in time before traveling again. Have a great week!

  4. Cute ideas! I have some of those round Coke bottles.


  5. Gosh...you are too creative, Elle:) And big congrats to your sis on her wedding!

  6. I really like the Hot Cocoa Mix Ornaments!

  7. i love the one's that are filled! michelle obama even filled them with little "gardens" for one of her christmas trees this year.

  8. I filled a clear ornament with our wedding invitation last year- it's one of my favorite ornaments on the tree!

  9. SO. Clever. I'm going to have to stock up on these after Christmas! I love the idea of putting little notes/gifts in them!

  10. Love the antique-y one! We might have to do one of those sand ones...

  11. I've never even realized how awesome and creative clear ornaments could be. Now I want to get some of those and decorate them like this.

  12. When you have ideas, you don't really kid around!

  13. Elle, ur too funny. My head doesn't get colder than usual;)

  14. I would never have thought to use them for all these things! Thanks Elle!

    xo Rach

  15. Aww, congratulations to your sister! What a lovely time of year to get married.

  16. Such great ideas! I love this!

  17. I would have never even thought of one of these genius ideas! Really useful!

  18. That's really clever - you and your DIYs. So genius!

  19. Amazing. I really love these. Pinterest is great for such clever ideas. Yes, I finally finished shopping earlier today.

  20. Wow, you have thought of everything my friend! I love that it can be anything from a cocoa powder holder to a wedding day kit! I love stocking up on ornaments too and can't wait for the sale!

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

  21. very creative ideas!!

  22. These are great ideas! I'd never think to fill ornaments up with gifts.

  23. these are so may good ideas!! i like the utility of clear ornaments and how you can personalize it all.


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