DIY Coastal Christmas Ornaments 3 Ways

Who doesn’t love to add a little touch of the beach to their Christmas decor?  

Whether it’s sand from a vacation displayed safely in a glass ornament, or nautical and seashell themed ornaments to remind us of our beach times, it seems there’s always room on our tree for the beach!

So we set out to capture a bit of the coast in 3 do-it-yourself Christmas ornaments. We used wooden ornaments and a sunbleached driftwood stain, along with nautical rope, a seashell, a starfish, and our dog’s paw print sprinkled with sand to make 3 coastal style ornaments!

So, here’s the behind-the-scenes adventure so that you can see how we made them.  First off, here’s what we used:

coastal ornament suppliesribbon for ornaments

  • 3 wooden ornaments from the craft store
  • paint brush
  • wood stain of choice (we used sunbleached – a grayish color)
  • white acrylic paint
  • hot glue gun
  • mod podge or other liquid glue
  • cream & tan craft rope
  • scissors
  • mini faux starfish (we like using these from Pottery Barn so as to not contribute to the harvesting of real ones)
  • scallop shell
  • white sand
  • ribbon of choice for bows
  • paper bag, newspaper, or craft paper to work on
  • bowl of water (for rinsing your pup’s paw)
  • 2 paper towel bunches: one to wipe excess stain as directed by container instructions and the other to be ready to clean off your pup’s paw

Step 1.

For all of the ornaments, apply the stain of your choice according to the directions on the container.  Ours said to apply liberally, wait 2-3 minutes, and then wipe off the excess with a rag.

The Starfish Ornament

Use hot glue to attach the rope around the edge of the ornament.

diy nautical rope ornament

And hot glue the mini starfish to the center.

Using the ribbon of your choosing (we used plaid for this one), tie a bow using about a foot or so of ribbon.  Hot glue the center of the bow to the top of the ornament.  Cut the ribbon on each end at a diagonal to your desired length.

Hang on your tree with pride!

coastal starfish & nautical rope Christmas ornament

 The Seashell Ornament

Just as with the starfish ornament, apply hot glue around the edges to attach the rope (we used cream rope for this one).  Then hot glue the edges of the scallop shell and place in the center of the ornament.

Tie and hot glue the bow to the top of the ornament.  (I used solid red ribbon for this one.)  Hang on the tree to enjoy!

coastal seashell & nautical rope Christmas ornament

The Paw Print Ornament

paw print ornament supplies

Of course, you’ll need to borrow your pup’s paw for this!  Once the stain has dried on the ornament, apply white paint to the pads of the paw.  Be careful not to apply it to the fur between the pads — the print won’t come out right.

paw print ornament (3)

Tip: We had our dog lay on his back in my lap on the floor to get a better handle on his paw.  Be prepared for your pup to wriggle and squirm.

Surprisingly, ours must have thought it was a trip to the spa: he was so relaxed that he fell asleep, like a shark going catatonic when turned upside down!


Press the paw to the ornament.  It took us a few tries to get a good print.  (I learned the hard way to not get paint on the fur between the pads and had to wipe off the print from the ornament a couple times, and then rinse his paw and start over.  Fortunately, if you catch it quick, you can clean off the ornament with a wet paper towel and rub off any paint.)

paw print ornament (4)

Use the bowl of water to dip the paw in as soon as possible so the paint doesn’t dry!  Use a wet paper towel to rub off any left over paint on your dog’s paw.  Be sure to give him or her lots of love and a real good treat for cooperating. 🙂

Once the paw print is dry, apply some mod podge or other glue on top of the print.

paw print ornament mod podge

Immediately after, sprinkle some white sand on top.

paw print ornament sand mod podge (2)

Once it’s all covered, slide off the remaining sand.

paw print ornament sand mod podge

With the hot glue, attach the rope around the edge, cut, and glue down the end!

Last, but not least, tie a bow with the ribbon as you did for the others, and hot glue it to the top of the ornament.

coastal paw print & nautical rope Christmas ornament

So there you have it, three variations to add a coastal touch to your Christmas tree.  We can almost hear the sandpipers singing and the waves lapping the shore every time we pass the tree.  What better way to bring warmth to the holidays?

Live porpoisefully!

coastal ornament 3 ways - starfish, scallop shell, paw print with nautical rope (2)

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