DIY Christmas Sheep

**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!

This year, 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 shop. I’ll post the total of our donation to Heifer International when all is said and done.

Oh, one more thing– I would love to see your Sheep Stash once you wrap them! Please post them to our Facebook page so we can all be inspired.



  1. How cool is that?! I’ve got a bunch of amazon cardboard boxes.. I think ill try cutting some out, painting them, then wrapping. :) the 6 year old will love helping with that!

    Thanks for the project!!

    • What a great idea. You could probably use your Christmas Cards as well. Recycle and Reuse! (just double up on the paper stock a little bit by using the larger scraps of cards to make it sturdier.)

  2. You mentioned the By Hand magazine. Will there be any more issues? Thanks!

  3. I still LOVE LOVE LOVE this project… one day I’ll make it happen!

  4. Way too cute! I so need to figure out how to use a saw :-)
    Merry Christmas!

  5. We can laser cut sheep to your spec in wood, mat board, or plastic that you can sell on the JMF site if you’re interested. Call Jen at 419-776-0011 and we can work something out. :)

  6. My Dad (who used to do scrollsawing) made me a bunch last Christmas which I wrapped with my handspun. This is my second year of having these wonderful sheep ornaments on my tree at work. I absolutely love them and it has become my new tradition. Thanks so much!!

  7. What an excellent idea on the ornaments. You could do that with just about any shape. I actually have cookie cutters that you probably could use for tracing out shapes as well.

    Too cool!

    • You just gave me an idea! Every year we make gingerbread men (not really gingerbread… Ingredients include glue!) that are ornaments.. After we bake them and they’re nice and brown, we paint on the eyes and buttons. I think this year I will see about finding a sheep cookie cutter… We can do them as sheep, then each child can use scrap yarn from a project I made for them. (Blue and red yarn leftover from ‘Spider-man’ themed socks.. Etc) so each one has their own ornament to hang. We always carve the name into the back before they cool along with the year. We’ve plenty of gingerbread men (And girls). This year we shall make sheep!! :)

  8. These are great! I might try to do this with some heavy cardboard or even some foam board.

  9. Very fun – and a good idea above to do cardboard ones with the kids!

  10. great idea. Like many others mentioned, I think we’ll do this with cardboard:)

  11. I made these last year for little gifts for co-workers. They were so impressed. It took very little time to make and I used left over yarn too boot!

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