How To Make Santa & Snowman Ornaments From Starfish

We’re back with another DIY holiday gift idea. It all started last year when we purchased three inexpensive starfish from Michael’s and painted ’em to look like little Santas. We’d seen similarly painted starfish in beach shops around the holidays for about 12 bucks a piece and we knew we could crate our own on a dime.

And because John’s parents were the proud owners of a brand new beach house we thought the starfish motif particularly applied. So we painted little belts, hats, beards and boots on our starfish and voila. Instant Saint Nick with a beachy twist. Here are John’s parents opening their little Starfish Santas last Christmas:

And this year we thought our little painted starfish could become a tradition of sorts. So we decided to attempt the lesser seen Snowman Starfish (although starfish are a bit less reminiscent of roly-poly balls of snow). We picked up another starfish from Michael’s and dug out our red, white and black paint from last year and we were off.

We started by painting the whole starfish white and then added little black boots, three black buttons, and a black mark on the top of the starfish that we would later turn into a hat. A few black dots for the eyes and the nose along with a happy red smile completed step two.

Then for a little extra flair we added a tiny scarf fashioned from red ribbon (glued in place with a dab of Liquid Nails) and the brim of a hat (by cutting out a black card stock oval with a hole in it to slide down the point).

Is it the chicest little holiday decoration that ever existed? Nope. But it’s cute and handmade and fulla love. And the project itself is so easy that children can definitely help, so if you’re looking for a holiday craft project for the kiddos this may be just the thing. Now we’ll cross our fingers that John’s parents didn’t check the blog today. Shhh, don’t tell.


  1. Pam says

    Sherry and John,

    This is another adorable DIY craft. I really enjoy DIY projects as well and found felt wreaths on the DIY Netwrok website and created one for Christmas. It was so easy and they look terrific. Just thought I would pass that on.

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Kirsten says

    As a 5th generation islander from the Westcoast I find it really hard to stomach starfish being sold at Michael’s, or anywhere else for that matter. I like to enjoy them alive down at the beach. No offense, I love your blog….I just couldn’t hold my tongue on this one.

  3. YoungHouseLove says

    Hey Kirsten & Amanda,

    I guess I never really thought about the plight of the starfish. How insensitive of me! I think I just group them with shells and forget that they’re not shells at all. Maybe they’re nurtured and loved en masse and only sold once they’re dead? Is that just wishful thinking? I do know that many places make great faux starfish (West Elm had some a while ago) so maybe that’s the perfect alternative.


  4. Mel G. says

    I’m someone who appreciates nature and all of God’s creatures. But I eat meat and fish and poultry so I think using starfish for this project is a-ok. Just thought I’d weigh in for the other side!

    Happy holidays!

  5. Courtney says

    Mel G – its not only the plight of the star fish but our beaches,reefs, etc eco systems are destroyed when commercial groups come in and scoop up star fish and shelled animals to sell :( so buying the real starfish for this project isn’t a very “green” thing to do. I’m glad sherry has alternatives in mind!

  6. bleh says

    I don’t think it’s all that nice to paint dead things up like santa and frosty…It seems really disrespectful and just, well, strange. That being said, I have done tons of crafts with seashells, so oh well. They’re cute.

  7. says

    They aren’t endangered, but like sand dollars, are often collected live when they should not be since they are part of the eco system. Some places do find that they are overpopulated, but I think it’s just better to be safe and buy fake.

  8. YoungHouseLove says

    Fake it is! You can easily do this project with a faux-starfish. And they seem to be everywhere, especially in the spring and summer months. So stock up when you see ’em so you have them around next Christmas for a fun Frosty project- or maybe even hunt some down online!


  9. lexi says

    eww, this post absolutely makes my skin crawl… it reminds me of people that keep stuffed rabbits and birds in their house as decoration, but creepier since you actually painted them!

    mel, its one thing to slaughter animals for nutritional purposes and another to drop them into rubbing alcohol while theyre still alive, dry them out, and paint them up like santa claus for decoration. revolting!

  10. Sara says

    Okay, I think the point has been made that using the real deal is not appealing to some. Like Sherry I didn’t even think about it until it was brought up. I never knew fake ones existed either. Give Sherry some credit here and she has already stated fake it will be from here on out. No one is jumping on her for not using “green” chemicals her entire life or even when they started renovating. Just please lay off Sherry, I’m sure she feels bad when she found out and it doesn’t help that people keep leaving comments running it into the ground that it’s horrible and revolting. ::hugs to Sherry::

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *