Sometimes it is the right time of year for certain turning projects. September and October seem to fit for Christmas Ornaments. Its that time of year. Early fall, the children are back in school, and you’re still working at harvesting the garden. It might be a bit early to think about your personal Christmas, but it is a good time for some quick wood turning production work. That’s right, getting ready for the Christmas Fairs in November and early December. Turn some Christmas ornaments to complement your main products. These are easy between centers turning and are an opportunity to show off your turning talents.
But Christmas ornaments and other Christmas turnings are actually good for business all year long. I try to have a few ornaments available even in the middle of summer. A lot of people love Christmas and will shop for Christmas at anytime. Look at the Christmas themed stores, they don’t slow down, ever.
Turned Christmas ornaments can also give you a range of products and prices to satisfy your customers. It is a great way to utilize off cuts and small pieces of wood in your shop. Give yourself some time to consider your requirements, your resources, and to get yourself organized for some enjoyable production wood turning.
Quick and Easy Christmas Ornaments
These ornaments are supposed to be quick and easy to turn. That is especially true if you are turning several at a time. It is amazing how quickly you can turn out a snowman when it is the fourth or fifth one that you’ve done today. So the goal of this post is to suggest 5 straight forward turning projects suitable for Christmas. That doesn’t mean we want to exclude the inside out turnings or the Christmas ball with two finials that are long and narrow. Those are Christmas ornaments as well but they take longer and are more complex to complete.
1. Stand Alone Christmas Trees
These Christmas Ornaments are designed to stand by themselves rather than being hung on a Christmas Tree. Slightly larger turnings, they can be made out of any wood you have available. This is an opportunity for you to try different techniques and see how they turn out.
This is my project tutorial on turning wooden Christmas Trees. These are easy to turn and provide extra character for a nativity or a table center piece. The nice thing about Christmas trees (and icicles, they are next) is that they don’t have to be perfect. Real trees aren’t perfect either. So have some fun, practice your turning skills and see what you can do.
Use these to show off the grain of the wood and the thinness of your turnings. Turning icicles out of pen blanks makes great Christmas Ornaments. Real icicles are not even or symmetrical so you can be creative in your designs. Give them a shiny finish to reflect the Christmas tree lights.
You need to focus on long and thin so that the ornament will be light on the tree. Brass eyelets and ribbon will be needed to finish the product. A smooth glossy finish will enhance the icicle.
Quite a few Christmas ornaments are scaled down versions of the real item. Musical instruments are some that come to mind. You can do the same with your wood turnings as well. Take a wooden goblet and scale it down so that it can hang on a tree branch. That’s the idea.
So mini-decorations are mini-versions of your large regular turnings. Pick any turning you like and turn a small version for the Christmas Tree. The three that I did were a goblet, a kraut pounder, and a Christmas tree. Enjoy
4. The Perfect Snowman
The holidays are a time when you want everything to look beautiful and perfect. I was thinking, in the “perfect” mode, that I wanted to turn a snowman. Having dimensions gives you an idea of what the turning should look like. While I may not have said it out loud I was looking to turn the “perfect snowman“. Can you tell which of these was the “perfect” one?
These were both turned out of pine hence the large growth rings. That adds character to your turning. Of course you could paint them. Whether painted or not you can add embellishments like buttons, eyes, pipes, etc. Have fun turning your own collection of snowmen.
The snowman on the right is the “perfect” snowman! The dimensions are based on the golden ratio between the three sections of the snowman. When I brought the two of them to my wife, she liked the one on the left. I think it looks more traditional. However, everyone has different tastes so turn a bunch and see what happens.
5. A Turned Wooden Christmas Bell
A turned Christmas bell makes a beautiful Christmas ornament. Take your time to get a nice even thin bell and you will be able to make it ring as well.
The trick is in getting the bell clapper to swing freely inside the bell. By carefully drilling holes in your bell you will be able to attach the clapper with a string that will allow it to swing freely and strike the sides of the bell. The step by step instructions are in this post “Turning a Christmas Bell“. You might have to adjust the string length a few times but the results are worth the effort.
Turning For Profit
I hope this gives you inspiration as you prepare for the busy season ahead. Obviously you need to price your work according to the amount of time and effort to produce it. Doing a production run should give you more efficiencies and better turning skills as well.
If you are looking for other turning projects check out out my listing of all the projects available on turning for profit.
I hope you’re getting excited about the upcoming season whether you are aiming for Christmas Fairs or doing your turning for the family. What Christmas projects have you got in mind?
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