DIY Christmas project – How to upcycle old toys into decorations

For me, Christmas always evokes that feeling of nostalgia so I decided to upcycle the toys of my childhood toybox to decorate my Christmas tree. Red, white and silver are a classic colour combination, but you can pick jewel tones or even neon brights to coordinate with your festive décor. Create a North Pole scene with stags, seals, polar bears and penguins, or give exotic animals a snowy makeover.

You don’t have to raid the kids’ toy box to make this project – I picked up old plastic animal toys and die-cast metal vehicles from charity shops to upcycle. You could stick with one ‘set’ of toys to create a theme for your decorations – how about using planes, trains and cars for a travel theme? Or you could upcycle some plastic dinosaurs of varying sizes to create a pre-historic Christmas tree for the kids.

Here’s how to upcycle any kid of toys to create retro Christmas decorations for your tree.

YOU WILL NEED

  • Small eyelet screws
  • Drill with a small drill bit to match the eyelet screws
  • Bendable wire or paperclips
  • Fine sandpaper or sanding block
  • Small paintbrush
  • Metallic spray paint in silver
  • Matt white spray paint
  • Cherry red gloss spray paint
  • Silver marker pen
  • Coloured thread or ribbon

STEP 1

Using a small drill bit that matches the size of the eyelet screws, carefully pilot drill a hole in the toy. Choose a point where you can hang the decoration; somewhere on the back or head of the animal or the top of a car or truck.

STEP 2

Carefully twist the eyelet screws into the pilot hole. Screw it all the way into the toy until all of the threaded part is inside.

STEP 3

Bend a small piece of wire (or use Christmas tree hanging hooks) to loop through the eyelet screw and hang the toy over a pole or broom handle in preparation for painting.

STEP 4

Spray paint the toys with a fine coat of metallic silver paint. Once one side is covered, turn the toys around to spray back the backs. Be sure to cover the tops and bottoms too.

STEP 5

When the paint is touch-dry, give the toys a second coat of the metallic spray paint to make sure that all surfaces are completely covered.

STEP 6

Spray paint some of the toys with a top coat of red paint, again making sure to coat the toy from all angles. Hang them up to dry.

STEP 7

Once the red paint is completely dry, use a fine sandpaper to rub away some of the red layer to reveal the metallic silver underneath. This effect looks great on small vehicles or on textured surfaces.

STEP 8

Spray paint some of the toys completely white or use the spray paint to give animals a light dusting of ‘snow’ over their backs, leaving a sparkling silver underside.

STEP 9

When the white paint is dry you can use a silver marker pen to draw dots onto the animals’ backs, or to decorate red toys with a silver star pattern.

Another technique for decorating the toys is to spatter them with paint. I dipped a small paintbrush into white paint and flicked it at the silver horses and zebras to create a snowy, dappled design on their backs.

STEP 10

Thread metallic cord, striped string or red yarn through the eyelet screws to create a loop to hang the toys on your Christmas Tree.

Let me know if you have a go at upycling some toys to use as Christmas decorations, I’d love to hear what type of toys you used so please leave me a comment below. And it would be great to see your creations, so feel free to tag me in your photos on Instagram @cassiefairy too!

PIN IT FOR LATER


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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