Put your family tree on the Christmas tree this year with these hand-painted customized ornaments. We also think they’d make great gifts for newlyweds or for a family with a new baby.


1. Paint the skin tone of your wooden characters. It’s much easier to work in layers, so paint the entire head rather than just the face area. Add any neck or chest area now too. Most likely you’ll need more than one coat of paint. The craft paint dries quickly, and alternating between the various characters as you work also allows time for the paint to dry.


2. Lightly pencil the area where you want your character’s hair (consider what makes each person’s hair unique: curls, part line, etc.).

3. Paint the character’s hair.

4. Paint the clothes and body area. Note: dark colors are much easier to layer over light colors, so start with an all-over light color and work from there.

5. Paint distinguishing details to your character: jewelry, bow ties, etc.

6. Paint the character’s facial expressions. We kept ours simple, adding only eye color. The pointed end of a wooden dowel or paint brush works great for adding a controlled amount of paint.

7. Allow the characters to dry fully.

8. Make a pencil mark at the top of the character’s head where you want to attach the eye screw.


9. Start twisting the eye screw by hand and then use pliers to hold the eye hook in place as you twist the wooden character.

10. Attach twine or a standard ornament hook, and your customized ornament is ready for gifting or to hang on the tree.

Allison Nadeau is one-half of Ink Meets Paper (inkmeetspaperpress.com), a letterpress greeting card company that she runs with her husband Daniel in Park Circle.