These whimsical little animal cracker ornaments are easy to make as a project with the kids — or on your own for holiday decorating.

animal crackers

by Brenda Hyde

Easy and fun

Because they are so inexpensive you can create rustic trees for your entry ways and porches, use them as package toppers for your gifts, give them to teachers, or package up a small artificial tree and a couple of dozen ornaments as a special pre-holiday gift for someone that is homebound.

Use inexpensive animal crackers and paint that you have on hand for an extra frugal project.

You’ll need

Animal crackers (cookies)
Acrylic paint in shades of gray, tan and brown
Acrylic paint in red or blue
Small flat paintbrush
Small stencil brush
Small round paintbrush
Toothbrush
Small piece of metal screen
Hot glue gun
Glossy clear acrylic spray/sealer
Jute string

Directions

barnum animal crackersUsing the gray color and the flat paintbrush, paint each animal cracker and allow it to dry.

Take your lighter tan/beige color, and using the stencil brush, make an up and down stamping motion on the cracker to make it look mottled or sponge painted. Cover most of the gray.

Dip the tip of the toothbrush lightly in the darker brown paint and brush downward ON the screen held over the crackers. (You will be able to do more than one at a time if you position them correctly.)

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Wait for all the crackers to dry, and then, using the small round paint brush, paint hearts or other folk art type symbols on each cracker and allow them to dry again.

Spray each ornament (front and back) with the acrylic sealer. When dry, cut a 4-inch piece of jute for each ornament, looping it and gluing it to the back of the cracker.

Notes: You can vary the colors, but try to keep it in shades that compliment each other — the darkest one to splatter, and a lighter color to paint the hearts. You can use raffia or thin ribbon as hangers if you wish. A neat idea is to use the same technique on plastic ball or heart ornaments.

The steps are the same, and you can decorate an entire tree with them! Use torn country-themed cotton as garland and for bows as accents on the tree. With the same technique, you can completely change the look by using bold primary colors!


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