Christmas Tabletop Ornament Tree Using a Knitting Needle

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I recently found this Christmas tabletop knitting needle ornament tree in an old Christmas decorating book and wanted to try it out. It is a non-permanent way to use your ornaments and can be done in many variations. It is perfect to place on a mantle, table, or just to accent your decor.

Vintage-Ornament Tree for Christmas Decorating

All you need for the basic version is a knitting needle and about 16-20 classic ball ornaments of varying size.  I made two trees. One using vintage ornaments I had. The other tree I found basic ornaments at Walmart.  They were $2.50 for a box of 10 -18 balls.

The ornaments are simply placed over the knitting needle – largest ornaments on the bottom – smallest on top. I removed the metal ring from the top ornament and hid the tip of the needle by placing the ornament upside down over the tip.   The four bottom ornaments hold the tree up.  Super simple!

For the ornament tree above I left about 4″ of the needle empty so I could place an old-fashioned tree topper over the tip of the knitting needle for the finishing touch.

Knitting Needle Christmas Ornament Tree

The bottom can be simply left alone, adorned with some greenery, or placed in an urn or planter.

For this ornament tree, I added a star ornament on the top and made a coordinating tree stand from an empty spool of ribbon and some scrapbook paper.

How to make a knitting needle Tabletop Christmas Tree

Experiment with different style balls and your favorite colors.   Use all one color or try a different color for each size ball you add to the knitting needle or try four balls of varying sizes in each color. This will give you a spiral effect.

How to Make a Christmas Ornament Tree Using a Knitting Needle

supplies needed:

  • A mix of round Christmas ornaments in 4 different sizes –for one tree you will need about 20 balls.  At least 4 of each size.
  • Knitting Needle – 14 inches long (tall tree)  Spray paint the needles if needed to match your ornaments.
  • Optional: Christmas tree peak topper or a star ornament, ribbon spool, spray paint, scrapbook paper, glue, spray paint, paper cutter
Supplies-Needed to make an ornament Christmas Tree

The ribbon spool stand is optional. It is not needed for the tree to stand. I made it to create a tree stand just like a real Christmas tree has.

  1. To make the ribbon spool tree stand: Spray the spool with spray paint to coordinate with your ornaments.  Cut scrapbook paper the width of the spool. You could use ribbon, but I like the more finished look of the paper on the spool.
Decorating for Christmas

2. Attach the paper with glue. I used Aleene’s Tacky Line Roll Adhesive.

Holiday decorating ideas for Christmas

Attach to the spool.3.


4. Thread the knitting needle up through the bottom of the spool.

Needles-in-Spools decorating ideas

5. If the spool has a large hole – you can stuff it with pieces of STYROFOAM to make sure the needle stays straight.


6. String four large Christmas ball ornaments (about 4” diameter) onto the needle, slipping the metal loops on the balls over the point of the needle. These four balls will form the base of the tree.

How to Place Ornaments on The Knitting Needle

NOTE:  If you do not want to use the spool tree stand and want to make the basic ornament tree, all you need to start the tree is 4 large ornaments. These four ornaments when placed squarely on a table will hold the needle upright.

Tabletop Knitting Needle Ornament Tree instructions and tutorial

  1. Using the the ring on the top of each ornament, string 4 larger ornaments onto the needle. Next add four balls slightly smaller ornaments. Each one will fit between two of the larger ones.  Then string on another four, slightly smaller, and finally four more again, slightly smaller, so that your tree has sixteen Christmas ball ornaments in all.  You can add more or less depending on the size of your balls.
How to make a ornament tree using a knitting needle

The tip will look like this.

Ideas for Chistmas decorating

On top of the needle place a Christmas star ornament.  I found this one at Michaels.  It had a “spring” style attachment that I removed.  I used that existing hole to place the star on the top of the knitting needle.  I used an awl to make the hole a bit larger so it fit over the tip of the needle.

Decorating for Christmas

Another way to display the tree is to place the whole thing in or on top of a planter.

How to make a tabletop Ornament Tree using a knitting needle

For the holidays I thought this one would look nice in my kitchen.  Adds some color and festivity to the space by my sink.

Knitting-Needle Ornament Christmas Tree

My ornament tree helper – Trax. I tied some festive ribbon around his neck.


For more quick holiday decorating ideas, click over to my Ornament Bowl Tutorial and other Holiday Decorating Ideas.

How to make a table top Christmas tree using a round ball ornaments and a knitting needle.

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  1. My father made these kind of ornament trees MANY years ago and I loved them as a kid. I couldn’t remember how he did it but now thanks to you I do. I will be making them this year for myself and for gifts. Thanks so much!

  2. I really liked this idea. The fact that it can be taken apart for storage or to use the ornaments in another use ( in the future) makes me like it even more. I have a 10 foot tree and use my Shiny Brites mostly on it. With only 300 ornaments, I may have to steal a few for this project.

  3. Thank you for these great ideas for Christmas! I love the bauble trees and certainly will try out the vegan recipes.
    Lovely to see your cat Trax too.

  4. Lovely lovely idea….especially when I’ve just come back from a holiday in the Sun and am on isolation for 10 days or when my PCR test results come back , details of which have been a pain from start to finish… but that’s another story, so I was not at all in the Christmas Spirit…..this idea I can manage Thank you …. Diane to the rescue again😍!

  5. One of my favorite Christmas memories from childhood is when my mother would bring out her boxes of blown ornaments and put together her tree. This was in the ’50’s and I wish I had it…as her’s was a masterpiece considering she had no craft skills. Her and a friend built there using a wire hanger that they opened and straightened the hanger as much as possible. The hook of the hanger was sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard that was then covered in metallic silver gift wrap. The tree had to be put together perfectly as each layer was a different size ornament starting with 4 large at the bottom to super tiny at the top and then a glass tree topper finished it off. I’ve always wanted to recreate her tree and haven’t seen one for decades so this might be the year. Yours are gorgeous and have sparked my creative juices. Thanks for sharing.

  6. I just love this fast and easy tree!! Now to find a knitting needle somewhere and buy more balls, lol

  7. This is awesome and the perfect quick craft to jazz up the corner of a room. Plus, from decorating for the holidays I have a ton of those ribbon spools:)

  8. Just saw this and love it!!!! Now I know why I saved those odd knitting needles people are always giving me:-)

  9. Good afternnon. I sure like your idea using the knitting needle/ribbon spool, the ornament and the spray paint. But I am very puzzled. I can see using the thin knitting needle for the project but my question where do I use the thick knitting needle and where does it belong to. I am going to use this idea for a christmas/birthday retirement party. And I would like to use it for my tables. You can contact me at 916-628-6422. Thank you Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa – You only need one knitting needle. It can be thin or thick. What matters is the height. The longer the needle the taller your tree will be. I created two different trees and used a different needle for each.

  10. I see this is from last holiday season, BUT! I just found this post. I LOVE this idea so simple beautiful and inexpensive! I have been searching the net for hours on end for the perfect centerpiece for my daughters winter onderland birthday party. I am so excited I found this now! Thanks for posting I only hope my trees come as as beautiful as yours. Thanks a bunch happy holidays

  11. This made me smile. My mother’s best friend back in the mid 1950’s made my mother one of these. It looked pretty similar and was basically constructed the same way. She used a wire hanger instead of a knitting needle. My guess back then everybody had tons of wire hangers and the needles were expensive. And the base was much larger, she traced a dessert plate and covered it with beautiful silver foil gift wrap.

    The only big different was her’s was done more in a layer effect starting with 4 very large balls and going up until at the top there was about a dozen of those really tiny ones. There was always a gorgeous topper on it. My mother cherished it and even up until her passing a few years ago, she still brought it out every year and somehow managed never to break a ornament.

  12. Worst use of a knitting needle ever. Buy a dowel rod and use that. Much cheaper than knitting needles. Yes, I knit.

    1. Hi Joan –
      A dowel would work, but you would have to paint it and that is an extra cost and step. Knitting needles are shiny and colorful just like the Christmas ornaments so they make the perfect instant stem for the ornament tree. Since the needles are not altered in any way – once the holidays are over the needle can used for its intended purpose once again :)

      1. I love crocheting and thought I would like knitting. Bought the needs, but never learned how to knit. I love this idea and am glad I will be able to use those needles afterall! :)

  13. Definitely doing this, during this upcoming Christmas season. We got married 2 weeks before Christmas and used Christmas balls as the favors so we have tons leftover even after 3 years so this is a great way to use them up since we just stuck a simple sticker on them that can be taken off. They all color coordinated anyway, so this is a great and easy way to use them up!

  14. I love this idea! So cute and frugal. I also love finding cool things from books or magazines I already have. I’m totally going with pink and purple when Christmas comes along! Thanks!

    1. Hi Amanda –
      Years ago when I worked in display – the store I worked in used pink and purple as the colors one year. I loved it, but had so many traditional color decorations that I never did use the color scheme in my own home until last year. I loved how it looked – more modern and bright. I gave the green and red decorations to my daughters who love it for nostalgic reasons.

  15. Thank you for this beautiful idea. My mother passed away April and she was a truly amazing women who was never seen just sitting. For her, to just sit and watch TV was unproductive and even when she was sick she would never just sit. Knitting was wer go to hobby on days when others would have just curled up. So when I saw this, I thought what better way to celebrate this 1st Christmas without her than to make these trees out of my mom’s knitting needles. So I started making this for each of her grandchildren. Each one took on it’s own story of a wonderful women. Thank you for this beautiful idea. It helped me and my family through a very difficult season. I gave the trees with pride knowing each family would have a little piece of my mom with them.

    1. Hi Lisa –

      Thanks for the nice note. My mom passed away in March so I know how you feel. She was a knitter, too as was my mother-in-law. Not sure why I never learned. My mom was super creative and I know she was smiling down from heaven over the holidays as we continued doing all the traditions that she started. She always went all out with decorating the house. I fondly remember coming home from school in early December and she transformed the house into a holiday wonderland while we were at school. It was magical. I hope you have a very happy new year.

  16. Stunning idea! Love arrangements that can be made, disassembled and used in other ways. Want to share on my blog with links back to you for your super easy to follow instructions)) Thank you for sharing these ideas!

  17. Are you kidding me? Knitting needles ??? – of which have too many to count!! You are brilliant – beyond brilliant!! I probably don’t have time to make them this year – but next year for sure. Too stinking cute – and easy!

  18. What a gorgeous (and simple) idea. I have tons of these metal needles and will pack a couple pair in my holiday decorations so I can make some next Christmas.

    Thanks for sharing!


  19. What a GREAT idea!!!! I want to make this right now!!! This would make such a wonderful gift!!!

    Absolutely Stunning!!! Thank You for sharing!! :-)

  20. That is a super cute idea. I bet it would look fantastic with vintage balls, or even those oblong shaped ones!

  21. I absolutely LOVE THESE!! They are stunning. Each one more beautiful than the next!
    This is a ‘must do’ for me this year.
    Wonderful Idea. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Love this idea. I decided today I wanted one. I had everything needed. In five minutes flat I found my makings and had it displayed on my hutch. So easy and nice looking. Thanks.

  23. Fantastic idea , thank you! Love how the little cat paws appear in the photos now and again! Sweet!!

  24. I absolutely adore your knitting needle trees! So incredibly clever. My favorite one is the vintage one and I think am going to have to try this idea myself. I love the fact that it is not permanent. Thank you so much for sharing. I am a new follower!

  25. What a great idea and beautiful for a tabletop or mantle. I might have to try this as I’ve been struggling what to do with our dining room table – two of these and I’m good to go.

    1. Hi Holly – they would look stunning on your dining room table. They would look extra special in the candlelight as the light is reflected off of the shiny ornaments.

  26. This is so adorable !! I’m having one of those moments “how come I never thought of that !! ” Thanks for sharing ! So easy – still time to do for this year !

    1. Thanks Debbi-

      If you have the ornaments and the knitting needle on hand, you can have one made in minutes -Truly that is all it takes and there still are 12 days till Christmas.

  27. I absolutely love this! It’s just like the wire hanger ornament wreaths but in a straight line. Makes me wonder why I never think of these things! I love the colors you chose. I need to make some of these next year – so cute!

    1. Hi Sarah –
      That is a good comparison to the wire hanger wreath – in a straight line instead but just piled on. The more the merrier.

  28. Love this idea! Could you look through some more old decorating books? This one is definitely a keeper :)

    1. Hi Nan –

      :) I enjoy looking through the old books when I stumble upon them at flea markets and thrift stores. I will keep searching.

  29. Oh how wonderful…. I love this… you always have the most fabulous and inexpensive ideas and the clearest, most detailed instructions.

    And Trax is so much help (grin) and you would be so lonely without this dear baby. And any color would just shine with Trax wearing it.

    Oh yeah, I lost my knitting needles years ago (can’t remember how to knit anyway), but I am going to try this with some cheap, wooden bbq skewers. We will see…….

    1. Hi Sheryll-
      You could use the skewers, chopsticks, or even a wood dowel placed in the foam stuffed ribbon spool – great idea. Thanks for sharing it here.

  30. Wow! You are a Christmas crafting genius! So glad I found you via Centsational Girl.

    Please stop by for a visit to my blog. I am currently in the midst of a Gifts to Make series.

    Be Merry and Bright!

  31. Oh I love this! What an easy idea! This is definitely going into my “save” file for next year. (We’re moving to a different house so Christmas decor is mostly boxed up till next year.) I can imagine it in any and all colors to fit one’s house decor and/or Christmas time decor! Totally neat!

    1. Hi Connie-
      Good luck with your move. I hope you can still have a stress free holiday season getting everything organized and packed up.

    1. Hi Kathy-
      Thanks- I totally understand as I keep saying I am done, too-but somehow I keep getting ideas that I don’t want to have to wait to next year to do.

  32. These are beautiful and so adaptable to different decors. Just found you via Dittle Dattle. I just joined your followers. Hope you stop by my blog when you can. I saved it to my how to file for next year. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Oh my goodness You are so creative! These are right up my alley in terms of price and ease of decorating :-) I always enjoy seeing your cat. She looks so cue in that picture.

    1. Hi Kathy-
      Thanks. Trax is such a bub. He is like a magnet as soon as I start doing a project. No matter how hard I try to get him interested in something else- he likes what I am doing better.

  34. I am in awe- that is so gorgeous! I love this- it looks fabulous and seems super easy. Luckily you got some feline assistance, hahaha, I agree fuchsia IS Trax his colour- just divine :-).
    I am so going to try this project, thank you so much for the inspiration!!

    1. Hi Bea-

      I figured I might as well have some fun with Trax since he wasn’t going to move. I was surprised he even let me tie the ribbon on.

  35. This is so pretty, and so clever! I will TOTALLY be stealing this idea in the future – and I’m pinning it to my Pinterest board to make sure I don’t forget it!

  36. this is such a cute and clever idea! the coolest thing about it is, is that it is so extremely easy and looks like you may have spent some good money or it would at least be a tricky project. thank you so much for sharing! i love both of them by the way: the pink & purple is right up my alley but the other one looks like antique bulbs which is so classic

  37. Diane,
    This has just got to be the most Clever Holiday Decoration I have seen all season! and just Beautiful! Thanks for Sharing~

    Huggs, Nancy

      1. I had to run to Walmart tonight for some thread, and wouldn’t you know the Knitting Needles were in the same aisle. So of course I had to pick up a pack!! :)

        Huggs, Nancy

  38. This is TOTALLY cool. It just amazes me how someone can come up with such beautiful things made from ordinary objects. Well done!

  39. Oh Diane I love these! I don’t need another decoration this year but I am going to keep my eye open for some ornaments on sale after Christmas, simple, easy and you can reuse them the next year if you don’t want to do it again. And as for the cat, when I first saw him in the picture I thought what is that, too funny!