Fruits and nuts were used as ornaments on some of the earliest Christmas trees, and this project provides an updated twist with the addition of a hidden message — and it also makes a thoughtful gift. Hang this walnut ornament on your tree and enjoy it throughout the holidays. But when you’re packaging up decorations at the close of the season, gently crack open the walnut shell to reveal a wish for the new year.

Materials Needed
• Whole walnuts in shells
• Knife
• Liquid gilding and/or craft paint
• Paintbrushes
• Twine (Mac & Murphy has a great selection of colors)
• Scissors
• Pen and paper
• Glue gun and glue sticks

1. Gently crack open the walnut along its seam to split it in half (a table knife works fine for this).
2. Scoop out the walnut pieces so you’re left with the two shell halves.
3. Brush liquid gilding or craft paint onto exterior of each shell and let dry. (optional)
4. Cut paper into thin strips and write a wish for the new year.
5. Roll up message and place it into one half of the walnut shell.
6. Loop and knot a piece of twine and place it into the other half of the walnut shell, allowing loop to hang out of the top of the shell.
7. Carefully place a bead of hot glue along the edge of the shell.
8. Press both halves of the walnut shell together. Wipe away any excess glue.
9. Hang and enjoy your ornament!

Full-time editor at Force Protection by day, Nadeau ( is also one-half of Ink Meets Paper (, a letterpress greeting card company that she runs with her husband Daniel in Park Circle. Aside from mixing ink and banishing comma splices, she is also co-founder of the Charleston Craft Bee ( In her free time, she works on home improvement projects for her 1959 ranch house or searches for mid-century modern furniture.