An in-the-hoop Christmas ornament for anyone

By on November 28th, 2020
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in-the-hoop Christmas ornaments
free machine embroidery designs

Looking for a fun and personalized something extra to top off your Christmas presents? Well then it’s time to crank out some in-the-hoop Christmas ornaments!

You can make candy holders, photo frames, angels and announcements all in-the-hoop using scrap fabric and ribbons entirely in your embroidery hoop on your embroidery machine.  And when it comes to in-the-hoop projects, this is actually one you can do even if you only have a small 4″ x 4″ embroidery hoop.

Don’t know what I mean by an “in-the-hoop project?”  Check out this previous post about in-the-hoop projects, also known as ITH projects.

Ok – are you back?  Great. Now let’s get back to ornaments. Whether you want to commemorate a special event, highlight a photo, or trim your tree with sweet treats, there is an in-the-hoop ornament that will fit the bill.

Supplies needed

One of the benefits of making in-the-hoop Christmas ornaments is that you need very little material to do it. The specific type, color and additional materials vary depending on the design. But, in general, most are made with a non-fraying material like vinyl or felt. I, personally like the sparkly vinyl to give the ornaments a little bit of extra bling. You can both felt and marine vinyl at Joanns.  Felt is super cheap but vinyl is pricier. Since you only need small pieces though, it’s definitely worth checking out the remnant area for some steals.

For in-the-hoop ornaments that incorporate “windows,” you will need a bit of clear vinyl. It’s pretty cheap and you can buy clear vinyl by the yard at Joanns as well.

Since you will want to hang the ornaments on a your tree, you will need a piece of thin ribbon or cording to stitch into your design.  I’ve used both 1/8″ ribbon and light cording and they both work well.

Finally, you will most likely need some water soluble stabilizer. Explanation to follow.

Tips for stitching out an in-the-hoop ornament

Water soluble stabilizer is your best friend

For a lot of in-the-hoop items, it is suggested that you stitch them out using a water soluble stabilizer. The reason why is because many in-the-hoop ornaments have raw, unfinished edges. And using water soluble stabilizer allows you to avoid having the remnants of white tearaway or cutaway stabilizer along the edges.

Felt and vinyl are ideal

Use material that has a little bit of weight to it. A broad cloth cotton is going to look a little bit sloppy as a standalone ornament. However you could use some fuse some interfacing to the back of a thinner fabric to give it a little bit more weight.

Keep some painters tape nearby

Stitching an in-the-hoop ornament often involves stacking layers of fabric on top of each other. I think it’s a good idea to tape down any raw edge of the fabric because the machine can get hung up on it as it travels over the project area. My preferred method of tape is blue painters tape.

Change your bobbin thread

Don’t forget the back of the ornament. If you want to have a more polished look on the back of your ornament consider matching your five and thread to your top thread. This is one of the rare instances in machine embroidery or you might not want to use embroidery bobbin thread.

An in-the-hoop Christmas ornaments for anyone

I have to admit, I was pretty surprised by the variety of in-the-hoop Christmas ornament designs I was able to find.  Honestly, there is a perfect design for every type of recipient and almost any occasion.

Ornaments that commemorate important events

Know someone who has celebrated an important milestone this year? Help them remember the event with an ornament that commemorates it.

Baby announcement

in-the-hoop baby announcement ornament
Photo provided by Appliqué and Embroidery Originals and used with their permission.

It doesn’t get much cuter than this baby announcement ornament from Appliqué and Embroidery Originals in the shape of a baby onesie. You just add the specific baby’s details to make a totally custom ornament that any new parent will love.

New home anniversary

Moving into a new home is another special event you can commemorate on an ornament. I love this in-the-hoop “first Christmas in the new home” in-the-hoop ornament from Blue Pumpkin Designs. It has two pieces that attach together: the house and the key.  Just stitch the current year out on the key and tie it to the house.

new home ITH ornament
Photo provided by Blue Pumpkin Designs and used with their permission.


2020  funny

Ok, 2020 may not be a year you want to remember, but these ornaments definitely make light of a truly crappy year.

Funny 2020 stink, stank, stunk 

Nothing says Christmas like the Grinch, and 2020 is a year that even the Grinch wouldn’t like. This silly ITH ornament features the Grinch’s distinct fingers dangling a mask with the phrase: stink, stank, stunk.

stink, stank, stunk ITH ornament
Photo provided by Blue Pumpkin Designs and used with their permission.

2020 on a roll of toilet paper

In case you want to remember the joys of finding some toilet paper amid the global shortage, you will love this 2020 toilet paper ornament.

toilet paper in-the-hoop ornament
Photo provided by Snugglepuppy Design and used with their permission:


Ornaments that hold candy

Not a candy cane fan? Well – good news -they are not your only candy option when it comes to trimming your tree. There are a lot of cute in-the-hoop ornament designs that hold sweet treats inside.

I recently designed some windowed in-the-hoop ornaments designed for candy stashing, and I think they turned out pretty cute. in-the-hoop snowflake ornament for candy

Not enough room for all the candy you want to put in the ornament? Then, you may prefer the filled ball style.

in the hoop ornament for candy

And, if you do like candy canes but want to add a bit of fun to your tree, check out this darling little gnome who can stash them on his back.

Personalized ornaments

Some of my favorite ornaments, as a child, were the ones that were made exclusively for me.   These fun in-the-hoop ornaments are designed to be personalized with the recipient’s name.

Personalized snowmen

These sweet snowmen ornaments have ample room for adding a name on their bottom tier.

in-the-hoop snowman ornament
Photo provided by I am Not a Geek Handmade and used with their permission.

Personalized reindeer

This cute little reindeer holds the name of the recipient. Adorable.

in-the-hoop reindeer design
Photo provided by Lannah Designs and used with their permission.

Photo ornaments

My personal tradition is to make photo ornaments of my kids every year.  So, I’ve come up with a few different in-the-hoop designs just for this purpose.

I’ve put my kids’ faces inside of presents.

in the hoop ornament frame present

And used retro ornament styles for my photo frame inspiration.

in the hoop ornaments with picture frame

I have even created a free in-the-hoop photo frame ornament design, just to show you how to do it.

in the hoop photo ornament - done

But, if you aren’t into my styles of ITH ornament frames, check out this cute photo ornament wreath from Lovely
Leaf Appliqué

photo wreath from lovely leaf applique
Photo provided by Lovely Leaf Appliqué and used with their permission

Fun and unique styles

There are several other in-the-hoop ornament styles that are just so cute, you don’t really need any other reason to make them.  Here are some of my favorites.

Iced cookies

These “iced cookie” ITH ornaments are stuffed which gives them a soft, plush look. And, the set is a total bargain: 5 different styles for about $5.

iced cookie in-the-hoop ornaments from new found applique
Photo provided by and used with their permission.


These rustic style “Winter Woods” bundle of ITH ornaments would look great hanging on a Christmas tree in the country.

winter woods bundle of in-the-hoop ornaments
Photo provided by TMM Designs and used with their permission.



Here’s another puffy in-the-hoop ornament style, but with sweet, silly faces.

in-the-hoop Christmas tree design
Photo provided by Lannah Designs and used with their permission.

Nightmare before Christmas

This set is perfect for fans of the Christmas Classic “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” You can stitch out all the characters and hang them on your tree!

Nightmare before Christmas ITH ornament design
Photo provided by Blue Mickey’s Decorator and used with their permission.

Gorgeous, Ornate 3D Balls

And if you really want to glam up your tree, check out these GORGEOUS 3D balls. It’s hard to believe you can make them entirely in-the-hoop on your embroidery machine.

in-the-hoop ornate Christmas balls
Photo provided by DNEembroidery and used with their permission.

Ready to make an in-the-hoop ornament?

With so many fun styles available, how can you resist?

Good luck!

And happy stitching!



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in-the-hoop Christmas ornaments

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