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How to Turn Old Toys Into Christmas Ornaments: From Clutter to Keepsake!

Learn how to easily turn old toys into Christmas ornaments and transform toy box clutter into special keepsakes!

Just a few simple steps and you’re set!

How to Turn Old Toys Into Christmas Ornaments: From Clutter to Keepsake!

How to Turn Old Toys Into Christmas Ornaments: From Clutter to Keepsake!

I’m a mom and I looooove my keepsakes.

At Christmastime, this love goes into overdrive, especially where DIY ornaments are concerned.

Sweet little mementos of our family and life to hang off our Christmas tree just do it for me and I’m not ashamed to admit it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

You can even check out my 21 Christmas Keepsake Ideas for Kids post for more proof.

Sadly, my two boys have outgrown their train phase (*sniffle*).

Instead of donating all of their gazillion toy trains, tracks, and accessories, I decided to turn two very special personalized Thomas & Friends toy train engines into DIY Christmas ornaments!

Here, I’ll show you how quick and easy it was!

How Do You Make Ornaments Out of Toys?

To turn old toys into Christmas ornaments, you’ll obviously need some way of hanging the toy on your tree.

That’s what makes it an ornament and not just a toy, right?

If you’re extra lucky, that special toy will already have an easy way in its design for it to hang (like tying doll arms together), or will allow for some ribbon, twine, or a hook to be added.

Then wham-o!

Instant Christmas ornament.

More than likely, though, you’ll need to add a hook or loop of ribbon.

Wooden and most hard plastic toys can be drilled with a small drill bit or even by hand with just a screwdriver.

Then an eye pin can be added, which some twine, ribbon, or ornament hook can be inserted through.

If you’re unable to drill into the special old toy, some heavy-duty glue and a loop of ribbon should still do the trick (then just cover up the glue dollop with a cute little bow).

You could even glue a metal alligator clip to the back or bottom of the toy.

Small toys might even be able to be displayed inside a plastic craft ornament, like this mini plastic jar or this round plastic variety.

Below, I’ll walk you through how we used a power drill, eye pin, and ribbon to transform our sons’ old wooden Thomas & Friends toy train engines into the sweetest little DIY keepsake Christmas ornaments!

How to Turn Old Toys Into Christmas Ornaments: Toy Train Edition

Several years ago when my boys were wee ones, they were heavy into trains.

Like completely obsessed the only way tots can be.

Toy trains. Real trains. Cartoon trains. Steamies, diesels, electric. All of ’em.


Today, however, they’re 8 and 5 and have moved onto other interests like Pokemon, Minecraft, and the Avengers.

As such, their toy trains and tracks haven’t spent much time out of their toy box in ages.

A few Christmases ago, I (errr, I mean Santa) surprised both boys with their very own personalized toy Thomas trains and books.

The colors, design, and faces were all customized (including glasses for Rowan) and each boy’s name is printed on the bottom, just like a real Thomas the Tank Engine character.

My son Rowan holding up his Customize My Engine Thomas & Friends train with his name on the bottom.
My oldest son, Rowan, opening up his very own customized Thomas train on Christmas morning in 2017.

Supplies for Turning Old Toys Into Christmas Ornaments

The customized trains were a big hit on Christmas morning, and even though the boys may have moved on from them, Momma here still isn’t over their cuteness.

And I probably never will be, hence turning these fellas into Christmas ornaments.

Here’s what we used for this festive DIY project:

Step 1: Drill Hole in Toy

Using a Sharpie, I eyeballed the center of each train and marked a small dot where I wanted my husband to drill a hole for the eye pin.

He drilled down far enough for the pin to be fully inserted, leaving just the loop portion sticking out.

How to Turn Old Toys Into Christmas Ornaments using a drill.

Step 2: Insert Eye Pin in Toy

Next, it was time to attach the eye pin.

I already had this set of eye pins on hand, and since they are the smooth kind, they would need to be glued inside the newly drilled hole.

If you are using eye pins that are the screw variety, then just drill a pilot hole and screw the pin in, without the need for glue.

Use a drill or screwdriver, eyehole pin, and glue to turn old toys in Christmas ornaments.

A nice dollop of glue was added to each eye pin, which were then inserted into the holes on the trains.

Step 3: Add Ribbon & Hang

After drying completely overnight, a small loop of ribbon was inserted through each eye pin.

And with that, these old toys became sweet Christmas ornaments and were forever saved from the bottom of their toy box abyss!

Ribbon loop added through eye hole pin on toy train to make it a Christmas ornament.

Our Final DIY Christmas Ornaments from Toy Trains!

Here’s how both toy trains look as festive Christmas ornaments now!

Super cute, right??

It really couldn’t have been simpler, and the longest part was waiting for the glue to dry.

Ya gotta love a quick and easy holiday project!

How to Turn Old Toys Into Christmas Ornaments: From Clutter to Keepsake!

These special gifts were originally surprise toys that my boys played with and enjoyed for years.

Now as sweet keepsake ornaments, Momma here will get just as much enjoyment from them hanging on our Christmas tree every holiday season.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Merry Christmas!

Where The Smiles Have Been | Crafts. DIY. Home. Mom Life.

More Festive Christmas Ideas!


Saturday 10th of February 2024

Where did you get the personalized Thomas trains from? My boys are obsessed and that would be SO cool!! Thanks in advance! Rachalle


Tuesday 27th of February 2024

Hi Rachalle! I ordered them online back in 2017. Looking through my email history, it was from Fischer-Price and a website called My Custom Engine. Searching for that now, it looks like they unfortunately stopped taking orders in late 2017. You may be able to find some help on Etsy. Good luck!