DIY Christmas Sheep: UPDATED!

**Check out the update at the bottom of the post for info on how to get your own flock of ornaments and help lift families out of poverty at the same time!**

Ah, the holidays! That magical time of year when we take on way too much because everything must be perfect!

I don’t generally have themed Christmas trees, but this year, I had a very clear idea in my head of what I wanted my tree to look like. I came up with this project thinking it would be incredibly simple to pull off and that the results would be okay. Instead, it was the complete opposite: it was a lot more work to get it done than I expected but the finished project is fantastic!

sheep on trees

I had it in my head that I would easily be able to find wooden cutouts shaped like sheep. There are such cutouts available at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby, but the sheep was very cartoon-y and not at all what I wanted.


This was not the look I was going for.

I enlisted BY HAND’s Build editor, Paul Kocurek, to help, since power tools would be involved. On Paul’s advice, I purchased birch crafter’s plywood at the craft store. To get the shape I wanted, I trace the edges of a photograph I had taken of one of my sheep onto card stock and used it as a template. Paul cut the wood into equal-sized rectangles, which he stuck together with double-sided carpet tape. I traced the sheep design onto the top piece of wood and we were off to the races.

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Once all the sheep were cut out, I filed down the rougher edges.  I wanted the sheep to be slightly primitive, so I didn’t go crazy it.

Once my sheep were cut out, it was the work of minutes to wrap them with scarp yarn. Simply start at one end and tuck the ends of the yarn in when you’ve got the look you want. This is a great opportunity to use up some of those pieces that are too long to throw away! I played around with a different colors, weights and textures, but ultimately went with a natural, monochromatic palette.

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Rather than drilling a hole in the sheep, I used green ornament hooks and slipped them right under a piece of the yarn. Easy-peasy!

*** Updated for 2015:  Since finishing my own Christmas tree, I’ve gotten about a jillion emails from people who want to make their own flock but don’t have the tools of the know how to go it alone. GREAT NEWS! For our 2015 Heifer International fundraiser, we’ve created our very own wooden sheep ornaments and we’re selling them in sets of 10, 50 and 100.

We will be donating a portion of the profits from the sale of Sheep Stash to Heifer International, to continue or long tradition of donating livestock to help lift families out of hunger and poverty. In previous years, we have raised enough money to purchase 6 sheep, 2 goats, 2 pigs, 2 hives of honey bees and several flocks of geese, ducks and chickens. It’s one of the most rewarding things we do here at JMF and it’s a tradition I hope to keep up for years to come.

To purchase your very own set of Sheep Stash Sheep, visit our Facebook shop here. I’ll post the total of our donation to Heifer International when were all done.


  1. Brilliant! And adorable. And thank you for the embroidery book, which arrived today. I’d forgotten all about it, so it was a lovely surprise!

  2. turned out adorable!!!

  3. Brilliant Susie! I absolutely love these!!

  4. So so so cute! Love this project!

  5. Love this. Good work, both you and Paul.

  6. What a great idea!

  7. Terrific design, Susan. A perfect idea for your tree. Simple, primitive, meaningful. Awesome.

  8. These are wonderful. I’m between places for Christmas this year, but I’m making them anyway!

  9. love this idea and would love to give a try~ :) thanks~

  10. Would love to see a shot of the full tree! This is such a great idea, I think I may give it a whirl today…have been looking for a simple and elegant handmade something-or-other to add to the tree, and this fits the bill perfectly!

  11. I LOVE this idea! I’m absolutely going to make these as my holiday gifts this year! Thank you so much for the inspiration – I absolutely adore your blog! Cheers, Anna

  12. Just wonderful! I would so love to have these on my tree!

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