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How To Make A Cotton Reel Map Christmas Ornament

Every festive season I dig the box of old favourite Christmas ornaments to decorate the tree with. I add a couple of new handmade ones to the collection each year, including these cotton reel map Christmas ornaments.

Most of the ornaments on our tree are handmade or have some personal significance. There are the ones that the kids made at school and ones that we have collected from holidays.

Every year when I dress the Christmas tree with this mismatch of ornaments, it tells a story.

Ornaments picked up on trips abroad trigger memories of those beautiful vacations. Handmade ornaments the kids have made evoke happy memories of Christmas past.

Map Christmas Ornaments

The map Christmas ornaments will join this box of unique decorations, mainly as I have used maps of areas memorable to us. If you use maps of places with a personal connection, these ornaments will make a unique gift too.

I also upcycled old wooden cotton thread spools and buttons to make the map ornaments. Along with the old road maps, this just added to the vintage feel to these Christmas ornaments.

I find old road maps are great for crafting at Christmas as often they are printed in festive colours. Many of the vintage road maps I have in my stash are printed on white paper with parks and countryside marked out in green and roads in red.

Map and thread spool

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What You Need

what you need

How To Make A Map Christmas Ornament

Step 1: First, decide on what map you will use. You might want to use a map of a favourite holiday destination, where you live or where you met your partner. If you can’t decide, you can always make more than one map ornament.

Step 2: Measure the circumference and height of the cotton reel spool. Cut out a strip of the map using these measurements. Wrap the map around the centre of the spool and glue it in place.

cutting out the map
Cotton reel map Christmas ornament

Step 3: Next, raid your sewing stash for some old buttons in Christmas colours of green or red.

Button jars

Step 4: Use jewellery wire to thread a few buttons in descending sizes. Then add the map Christmas ornament spool and then thread some more buttons. I also threaded a paper bead.

Make sure you have the map spool the right way up when you thread it. I forgot to do this the first time, and I had to remake the ornament.

threading buttons
threading map spool

Step 5: Finish off the map Christmas ornament by adding red embroidery thread to hang it from. While putting the buttons away in my craft cupboard, I came across a jar of mini craft bells. I decided to add one to each ornament.

map christmas ornament
Handmade map christmas ornament

I couldn’t decide on just one particular place for my map Christmas ornament, so I made three.

Upcycled Christmas ornament
three Christmas Map Ornaments

As these map Christmas ornaments are made from old sewing notions, they would also make a fun gift for a seamstress.

Cotton reels and buttons remind me of Christmas. My grandmother used to keep her buttons and cotton reels in a large Christmas Quality Street tin. Oh, the disappointment of opening the tin expecting a toffee only to find sewing stuff!

map Christmas ornament
Map cotton reel ornament

If you like these map Christmas ornaments, you should check out some of my other upcycled Christmas ornaments, like these map pine cones and cute wine cork Christmas characters.

You will find many more clever upcycling ideas like this one here.

For more Christmas ornament crafts, visit allfreeholidaycrafts.


Monday 7th of December 2020

These are fantastic. I love the idea of using sentimental map places, where the kids were born, vacations destinations and so forth.

Claire Armstrong

Monday 7th of December 2020

Thank you, so much. They are a favourite ornament on the Christmas tree.

DIY Christmas Ornament Ideas For A Truly Special Celebration | Home Decor

Sunday 8th of December 2019

[…] As you probably guessed by now, it’s possible to turn just about anything into beautiful Christmas ornaments if you’re creative enough. With that in mind, it might be a good idea to just look in all those drawers and boxes that you have around the house and look for items that you can incorporate in your future project. A very inspiring project in this sense is the one featured on pillarboxblue. […]

Oh, Christmas Tree! 14 Unique Ornament and Christmas Tree Ideas | The How-To Home

Sunday 24th of November 2019

[…] Cotton Reel Map Christmas Ornament from Pillar Box Blue […]

Nina Lewis

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

Oh my! These are absolutely adorable! I'm going to feature them at our Party in Your PJs link party tonight. Thanks so much for sharing your awesome creations.

Claire Armstrong

Wednesday 20th of November 2019

Thank you, I look forward to seeing them.


Tuesday 19th of November 2019

Loving these. These were my favorite pick for this weeks Waste Not Wednesday

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

Aww, thank you so much I look forward to seeing them.