DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater

UglySweaterHeaderUgly Christmas sweater, that is! Just in time for Christmas in July, we’re going to show you how to make an “upscale” ugly Christmas sweater – so crank up the air conditioning and break out the eggnog because it’s about to get real festive!

First things first … head to your local resale shop to hunt for the perfect sweater. Or grab an old one that you have lying around in your closet! Perfect for us meant that the color matched the garland we used, was moderate-weight, zipped up the front and was cheap! We found just what we were looking for at our local Salvation Army Thrift Store. While we were there, we also picked up a tie for an ugly tie that we will be making! But first … the sweater.


We recommend you recruit a friend to help you with this project. You’ll need someone to wear the sweater, and someone to apply trims and decor later in the process. Besides, this project is so much fun, you’ll want to share it with a friend!

Ready? Set? Craft that crazy sweater!

  1. Collect your decorations (We found everything we needed right here at Bronner’s! Plug in your hot glue gun and lay your sweater out flat (front side up) on your work surface. (For your safety, we recommend you use a low-temperature glue gun. But it’s still hot, so handle it carefully!)

    Step 1: Collect items
  2. Measure and cut strips of garland to vertically fit the front sleeves and front torso of your sweater.

    Step 2: Cut garland
  3. Beginning with the sleeves, run a line of hot glue down the sweater where you wish to attach a strip of garland, and press the garland firmly, yet carefully, into place.
    Step 3: Add garland to sleeves


  4. Now glue down the rest of the garland until the front of the sweater is fully covered. Gently turn the sweater over and repeat the garland process on the back of the sweater.
    Step 4: Add garland to front

    Step 4: Press garland down
  5. Now the crazy fun begins! One of you wears the sweater while the other glues on gaudy, fun, festive trims. Be sure that whoever wears the sweater has a thick long-sleeve top on underneath to absorb heat from the hot glue. (Best to put your glue gun on low heat.)

    Step 5: Add your items
  6. Gently, yet firmly, apply decorative trims to the garland sweater using hot glue.
  7. Be sure to tie a small pickle ornament somewhere in the folds of your sweater. The first person at the party to notice the pickle ornament on your sweater receives it as a prize! (We’ve adapted the Tradition of the Pickle – read more here!)

    Step 7: Place the pickle
  8. Finish by tying a decorative zipper pull onto the zipper of the sweater. Voila! You’re in the running for grand prize for the best ugly Christmas sweater!Erin_FinalErin_Final2

Now for the man who needs something a little dressier for the office, we give you our ugly Christmas necktie! (We found the perfect tie for the project at our local Salvation Army Thrift Store, but you might have one that will work in a dark corner of your closet.)

  1. Collect your decorations (Check out Bronners!), plug in your hot glue gun, and tie the necktie so it will just slip over your head.

    Step 1: Collect decorations
  2. Start with one strand of garland and wrap it around just below the tie knot, hot gluing it into place. (Depending on the width of the tie and the width of your garland, you will need one to three strips of garland. For our tie we used only one strand.) Continue wrapping the garland around the tie and hot gluing it into place until the tie is completely covered.

    Step 2: Add garland
  3. Gently, yet firmly, apply decorative trims to the garland tie using hot glue.

    Step 3: Add items
  4. Be sure to tie a miniature pickle ornament somewhere in the ripples of the garland on your tie. The first person at the party to notice the pickle ornament on your tie receives it as a prize! (We’ve adapted the Tradition of the Pickle – read more here!) We recommend a miniature pickle for the tie! You can purchase that here.PickleTie_Web
  5. Add a vintage sports coat and your “a-tie -r” will be sure to win you one compliment after another at the party!LarryTie_FinalLarryFinal2

Now, we couldn’t just make these amazing outfits and NOT do a little photo shoot. So, of course, we had Erin, our fellow blogger, and Larry, who works in sales in Bronner’s tree section, be our models for these perfectly ugly Christmas outfits. We have to say … they nailed it!


ErinLarryFinal_1 LarryErin_Final2


Let us know what you think of our beautifully ugly creations in the comments below! Or feel free to show us your ugly Christmas sweater!

Decoratively yours,
– Bronner’s Blog Team

3 thoughts on “DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater

  • December 16, 2022 at 12:25 pm

    Terrific idea & composition! Thank You for the very Fun ideas! great instructions too!

  • December 16, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Super Fun! Would love to see more!

  • July 13, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Love the photos and the sweater!
    What fun..


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