Cassette tape Christmas ornaments hand painted by fine artist Alex Hamm.

How to Make Christmas Ornaments from Recycled Cassette Tapes

How did I make this year’s Christmas ornaments from recycled cassette tapes?  

If you’re an artist looking for unique Christmas ornament ideas that help you stand out (or if you’re a DIY-er or just looking for a fun new craft!), here’s the breakdown of how you can make your own Christmas tree ornament from recycled cassette tapes.

  1. Collect cassette tapes! - You may already have a stash hanging around, but I collected these from local thrift stores.  (We do actually have a tape collection AND a tape player 😱, but we still listen to those so I didn’t want to paint over them!) You could also check FB Marketplace or ask around to see if anyone has any cassettes in storage that they’re ready to get rid of.
  2. Paint a base coat or primer - I used a spray paint base coat specifically formulated for plastic.  Whatever your first coat or primer is, make sure it’s good for plastic materials! And if you’re doing this activity with children, make sure it’s a kid-safe medium. 
  3. Layering, layering, layering - (Or just paint your design) But I work with lots of layers of in my art practice, and these ornaments were no exception.  I applied layers of paint and mark making in a similar way as I do on canvas:  using a mix a brushes, sponges, and acrylic pens.  The quality of your mediums will upgrade your ornament from just a “crafty” idea to a work of fine art. If you’re crafting with the kids, be sure to use kid-friendly and kid-safe paints. If you’re a fine artist, use the same quality paint you’d use if you were painting commission or client work. 
  4. Give time to dry (aka have patience, young Padawans!) - this was a hard one for me...these ornaments required that EVERY SIDE needed to be painted (and given time to try), not just the front like most regular paintings.
  5. Seal - You need a protective top layer (type will depend on the medium you use) to seal and protect the work.  I used an aerosol/spray paint gloss top seal designed for plastic + acrylic.  If you use aerosol, I encourage you to wear a mask and spray outdoors!  Normally I avoid aerosol at all costs, but I chose to use the spray since I had such a large quantity of works to complete (88!).
  6. Safe Storage -  I put them in brand new, protective jewel cases for collectors’ safe storage for years to come!  How an ornament is stored makes all the difference in how many years it will hang on a family’s tree (and whether it’ll live long enough to be passed down to the next generation!). I wanted to be sure my collectors have storage to protect it from scuffs and scratches.

Are you ready to make your own Christmas tree ornaments from cassette tapes now? If you make your own, I’d love to see!  Post on Instagram and tag me at @alexhammart.  

Or would you rather have an already painted-for-you ornament and one-of-a-kind work of fine art?  I got you, friend!  You can collect your 2023 Limited Edition Cassette Tape Ornament here or at Majestik Magnolia’s holiday pop-ups in Denver, CO. 

Wishing you a merry holiday season!


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