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How To Turn National Park Patches Into Christmas Ornaments

Are you wondering what to do with your stack of national park badges lying around? Maybe you were thinking of ironing them onto a bag, or framing them, but haven’t yet. Lucky you, because there’s something else really cool you can do with them! I’ll show you how to turn national park patches into Christmas ornaments! My husband came up with this idea…he’s awesome like that 😉

The older our kids get the more we treasure old homemade ornaments. I think it’ll be the same with these patches over the years because they tell a story of memories we’ve made.

These national park patches are unique and will be a fun conversation starter too! I’d love to see them on your tree so please tag me on Instagram or Facebook if you make them, and thank you for sharing this post if you think it’s worth sharing! Maybe the National Parks will even share this post and we can start a new trend.

A Christmas tree with national park patches hung up as ornaments.

You can also watch this video if that helps you see the process.

Supplies needed to make National Park patch Christmas ornaments

What is a rivet?

A rivet is a small but permanent mechanical fastener. You’ll find rivets in jeans, purses, boots, crafts, and much more!

It has a front “cap”, a back “post” piece, and some (like the ones used in this post) can have a 3rd D-ring loop piece for hanging or threading. The post piece will get hammered down and bend, which holds the rivet in place.

They come in different lengths. Longer rivets would be needed for thicker material, and shorter rivets would be better for thin pieces. The ones I’ve linked above seem to be a great size for national park badges!

How to turn National Park patches into Christmas ornaments

Each ornament only takes a few minutes! Ready to start?

Step 0 (Optional)

One optional step (and I recommend skipping for sake of time) is to iron on some kind of Christmas fabric to the back of your patch. I did this to a few, and it really wasn’t necessary.

Most the patches have directions for ironing. We put ours on the cotton setting for about 30 seconds-1 minute.

I left the last half of my pile as is and did not iron the backs to fabric.

Step 1: Poke a hole near the top

Grab your ice pick, leather hole puncher, or something very9c8 sharp to gently poke a hole into your patch. To know how far from the top to poke your hole, temporarily hold up a rivet to see where the hole would be.

Step 2: Place the rivet

If you’ve never placed a rivet before (I hadn’t), this one will have three pieces: the post piece with the long shaft, the loop piece (for hanging the ornament) and the cap.

Place the loop piece with the hanger onto the longer post piece of the rivet. (See picture below.)

Then, poke the post piece up through the back of the patch. It’ll stick up through the front, ready for the round cap piece to go on top.

Add the cap piece of the rivet on, which will make a clicking sound meaning it’s on. Not it’s ready to be set on the anvil.

Mesa Verde National Park patch being turned into a Christmas ornament with step by step directions written in words.

Step 3: Place your rivet and patch on the anvil.

Take your anvil (the round circular tool) and place it on your work surface. The flat side should be down and the curved side should be facing up.

I like this inexpensive craft anvil and setter because it has a rounded side which fits perfectly on these rivets. This keeps them from slipping around when hammering.

Set your rivet and patch onto the curved part of the anvil. Take your setter (the long metal piece that came with the anvil) and place the curved side over the top rivet piece. The rivet should be balancing/nested between the anvil and the setter.

Now it’s ready to hammer.

Step 4: Hammer the rivet

Hammer the top of the rivet down 5-10 times or so. This bends the metal post piece which gets stuck between the two caps. Test that it feels like it won’t come apart, and it’s ready to get a hook for the tree!

Pin this post for later!

Mesa Verde National Park patch turned into a Christmas ornament with a rivet. Next to the patch are the words "How to turn national park patches into ornaments"

Even if it’s not Christmas, be sure to pin this post so you can come back to it!

If you have a national park loving friend or family member, you can also sneakily ask them where they’ve been and order patches online to make these ornaments for a gift.

More posts to discover:

Free nature study printables for ALL 50 US states

Gifts for kids who love nature

Exploring Nature With Children review

How to finger knit for beginners

Curriculum we’ve bought over the years