#002: Christmas Cat Memento Ornament

Christmas is just around the corner, and here's a holiday project that's both easy and inexpensive.

I love making these each Christmas season. It documents my feline family as they age, and nicely complements the cat ornaments on my Christmas tree -- almost all of which are handmade. You can adapt the concept for other pets, kids or family members.

You can get by without purchasing supplies for this one. It's a great way to repurpose leftover bits of wrapping, ribbons and cards from previous Christmases.

TIME REQUIRED: Less than an hour, plus drying time. 


COST: As little as $0 if you have Christmas scraps and basic crafts supplies available

  • Screwtop Jar Lid (You can upcycle lids or other circular thingies you might have around the house. In a pinch you can buy 2-inch art jar lids from Dick Blick [39 cents ea.] or other art supplies stores. (I used Gerbers baby food lids and Starbucks drink lids for this project).
  • Cat Photo, sized to fit within the confines of the lid. (On photo paper is best.)
  • Acrylic paint and brushes (craft quality paint and brushes are fine).
  • Water-soluble varnish or decoupage medium
  • Ribbon that's approx. the same width as the rim of the lid (You only need a few inches.)
  • Rubber band
  • Anti-fraying agent or clear nail polish
  • Red and white paper scraps.
  • Gift tags, old Xmas cards or scraps of wrapping paper
  • Embellishments (beads, glitter, cord, ephemera)
  • Black ink pen with indelible permanent ink
  1. Assemble all of your supplies and take a look at your papers/ribbons, etc. Determine your color scheme and which papers and ribbons to use together. 
  2. Paint the lid with red or green acrylic paint. Let dry, then add a second coat.
  3. Paste the photo inside using a glue stick or collage medium.
  4. Paste a gift tag or wrapping to the backside of the lid. If using wrapping or other decorative paper, pull over the side of the rim and glue down. (This will be covered by ribbon later.)
  5. When dry, add a Santa hat or elf hat to the image using scraps of red or green and white paper. (Not necessary if your cat is wearing festive Christmas wear in the photo.) Or, paint on a hat, and outline hat in permanent black ink. 
  6. If desired, add beading, cord, or other embellishment to the inside rim. (These are mini-collages - use your imagination!) We line the inner rim with glue glitter.
  7. Using 20-guage copper wire (we chose a red color), cut a piece that is as long as the circumference of the ornament, plus an additional couple of inches.
  8. At the halfway point in the wire, create a loop by twisting the wire a couple of times.wrap the non-loop part of the wire around the ornament -- a strand of wire on each side. Tightly twist the wire wear it meets at the bottom. Loop it around several times to hold. Cut off one the strands and wrap around the remaining piece of wire - a couple of twists is fine.
  9. Thread glass beads onto the remaining strand at the bottom of the ornament. When finished beading, fold and twist the wire up and around the last bead.
  10. Glue ribbon around the outer rim. Using an Exacto knife, cut a very wee hole in the ribbon where the top copper loop will poke through. the top for a hanger. Let dry, then apply collage medium to the top of the ribbon.
  11. If needed, wrap a rubber band around the rim to hold the ribbon in place as it dries.
  12. Dab anti-fray agent or clear nail polish on cut end of ribbon to prevent fraying.
  13. Coat the image with water-based varnish or resin*, let dry completely.
  14. Coat the back side with water-based varnish or resin, let dry completely.
* Resin requires 24 hours to dry, and an additional week or so to cure, so plan ahead if you use resin.

This is a great gift for cat-loving friends or co-workers. It's also a great project for a DIY ornament party. It's easy enough for kids (8 yrs +) to do with adult supervision.