When my wife and I were first married we decided to collect Christmas ornaments from the places we vacationed over the years. This way we can have memories of where we have been and have something special to add to our Christmas tree every year.
The problems we found with many of the souvenir ornaments we found were that most were cheaply made and very expensive for a newlywed couple, many places we stayed didn't offer Christmas ornaments, and for those that did many of the ornament designs were very tacky or cheesy. Those that were of a better quality and more tasteful were even more expensive, but we found a way to bring home better quality souvenirs and save money at the same time.
Step 1: Find a Better Alternative
Looking around at the better ornaments that were offered, how they were made and what they were made of I found similarities in other souvenirs with similar look and design but not in the area of ornaments. I found what I was looking for in in the souvenir key chains and fobs.
The basic layout of both ornaments and key fobs are the same a decorative bobble hung down from a ring or hole through the top. I found that key fobs can cost a quarter or half as much as the cheaply made ornaments and are made better to stand up to the rigors of hanging at the end of a bunch of keys, going in and out of pockets, and being thrown around.
They are usually made of brass, bronze, pewter, and other quality metals just like the better ornaments with similar designs. Find a design you like or that match an ornament that catches your eye in a the key chains area. Another good thing about using these better quality fobs as ornaments is that they can be etched or engraved with a date or year of your trip, or another saying.
On our last trip I found this key chain that had matching and similar ornaments for 4 times more. Their quality was the same and design almost matched. So I went with the same quality and saved some money.
Step 2: Remove the Parts of the Key Chain
First I removed the split ring from the jump ring so I have more room to work inside the jump ring. Do this like you are removing at key. Split the ring, move the jump ring into the split, rotate the split ring around until the jump ring comes out the opposite side of the split ring.
Depending on the size of the attachment ring or hole in the fob you may need to keep the jump ring attached through the mount hole to attach larger ribbons or cordage. If you are keeping the jump ring attached move to the next step.
Using a set of needle nose pliers I open the jump ring that attaches the split ring to the fob. I do this by inserting the tips of the pliers into the jump ring, taking care not to mare the surface of the mount ring, and gently push the handles of the pliers apart to open the ring.
Once the jump ring is opened the it can be removed from the mount hole on the fob. You can then use the jump ring and split ring for another project.
Step 3: Add some Christmas hooks or ribbon.
Now that the fob have been freed from it prior purpose it needs to be given its new purpose. Depending on your style you can just add a simple Christmas tree hook and hang it on your tree, or you can add a ribbon hanger of your favorite Christmas color or something that either matches the color or style of your new ornament's color or something that sets it off.
Ribbon - many colors and prints, traditional Christmas decor
Ornament hook - quick and easy, not very showy, cheap.
Jute / twine - gives a more rustic look, usually cheap.
Steel wire - craft option for twisted, looped, and shaped craft look.
Colored thread, yarn, or cord - embroidery thread, colored cord/string, or yarn is simple and easy, or you can even weave a fancy patterned hanger.
A simple Christmas hook can fit through very small holes so you probably won't need the jump ring. However, if you are going to add ribbon or something else a bit thicker you may need to keep the jump ring in the mounting ring or hole to have a larger opening to run the ribbon through.
For mine I will be adding some rustic looking jute twine. Thread the jute through the ring or hole and tie a knot or bow depending on your style.
Step 4: Hang it on Your Tree
I am typically a traditional person when it comes to Christmas so I really liked the red ribbon I had in it first. However, in looking at the photos I took on this trip and remembering the historical displays of the history of Glacier National Park and how the roads and buildings were built through the park the jute matched the old ropes that were used to scale the high peaks and during construction I chose to keep the look of the jute.
Hang your new finished ornament on your tree and relive the fun you had and all the sites you saw on all the trips you had.
Enjoy your new souvenir ornament you DIY'ed.