14 DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas

Woman in Christmas lights sweater

Studio DIY

Don’t hold back when it comes to designing and creating an ugly Christmas sweater this year: the more glitter, tinsel, and garland the better. Start with any plain-colored pullover (bonus points for utilizing with a pre-worn item from a secondhand shop), then embellish and bedazzle and decorate until it’s crowded with Christmas cheer.

Of course red and green are old standbys for the holidays, and can absolutely work together to be delightfully gaudy, but consider adding a dash of metallic paint or bright neons to take your ugly sweater to the next level. No matter how you choose to decorate your pullover, embrace the tacky side of Christmas by rocking a homemade ugly sweater for your next holiday party.

  • 01 of 14

    Tropical Christmas Sweater

    Tropical Christmas Sweater

     Aww Sam

    Take Santa Claus to the beach this Christmas (metaphorically, that is) with this homemade, tropical island-themed sweater. While this clever design involves a bit of knitting, a similar tropical aesthetic could definitely be achieved through felt or fabric paint too, so don’t count this one out just because you’re not experienced with knitting needles. 

    Tropical Christmas Sweater from Aww Sam

  • 02 of 14

    Kitten Mitten Sweater

    Kitten Mitten Sweater

     I Love to Create

    Is spoiling your pet with treats and toys every Christmas the highlight of your holiday season? Then opt for a kitten-themed, homemade ugly sweater this year. Children’s mittens are the perfect size to glue onto a pullover, and a bit of strategic fabric print finished the project. 

    Kitten Mitten Sweater from I Love to Create

  • 03 of 14

    DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater

    Ugly Sweater

    Megan Graney

    Clear your old decor and wrappings from your Christmas bin by putting them to use in your ugly sweater DIY. Sprinkle each piece over the sweater, and don’t forget to finish the pullover with metallic garland trim and glitter-painted snowflakes. 

    DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater from The Spruce

  • 04 of 14

    Snowman Sweatshirt

    Snowman Sweatshirt

    Craft Whack

    Admittedly, this design errs on the cutesy side of ugly, but its glittery, cartoon snowman image looks pretty alarming when worn by a full-on adult. Don’t forget the sparkly, fabric-painted outline and bedazzling to really make Frosty pop. 

    Snowman Sweatshirt from Craft Whack

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  • 05 of 14

    Light Up Christmas Sweater

    Light Up Christmas Sweater

    The Samantha Show

    Bring the party to any gathering this holiday season by rocking this homemade light-up sweater. A battery-powered LED strand sewn in to the sweater provides the twinkle, and if you hide the battery pack in your pocket, you can switch on your shirt at the perfect party moment. 

    Light Up Christmas Sweater from The Samantha Show

  • 06 of 14

    Felt Christmas Tree Sweater

    Felt Christmas Tree Sweater

    The Girl in the Red Shoes

    Using a straightforward design and simple materials, this ugly Christmas sweater DIY is accessible for beginning crafters and little hands. It especially makes great use of the pom-pom—a favorite holiday craft medium. Don't forget to add a glittery star to top the tree off in style.

    Felt Christmas Tree Sweater from The Girl in the Red Shoes

  • 07 of 14

    Metallic Christmas Tree Sweater

    Metallic Christmas Tree Sweater

     XOXO Jackie

    Adding depth to your ugly sweater can bring your DIY to the next level and help it stand out amongst a crowd of hideous pullovers. Shape a Christmas tree (or Santa, a reindeer, or an elf) from tinsel garland and finish the piece with plenty of bows, glitter, and flair.

    Metallic Christmas Tree Sweater from XOXO Jackie

  • 08 of 14

    Gingerbread Man Sweatshirt

    Gingerbread Man Sweatshirt

    Pretty Providence

    Felt is a crafter’s best friend, especially when creating holiday decor—it’s vibrant, easy to work with, and is receptive to hot glue, which is the perfect media for quick, cheerful crafts. Add cutout letters and simple images (a gingerbread man is perfect) to a plain-colored sweatshirt for a vibrant, statement-making ugly Christmas sweater. 

    Gingerbread Man Sweatshirt from Pretty Providence

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  • 09 of 14

    Fuzzy Christmas Tree Cardigan

    Fuzzy Cardigan

    Outshine on a Dime

    This holiday season is all about the texture with this party-ready cardigan. Finish the outfit with a star headband and an A-Line skirt to fully crystalize the Christmas Tree look.

    Fuzzy Christmas Tree Cardigan from Outshine on a Dime

  • 10 of 14

    Abominable Snowman Sweater

    Abominable Snowman Sweatshirt

    Craft Box Girls

    Give a plain, everyday sweater a monstrous makeover with an abominable snowman appliqué. A great option for both kiddos or grownups, this nostalgic sweater is perfectly flashy, garish, and playful—the perfect combination for an ugly sweater. 

    Abominable Snowman Sweater from Craft Box Girls

  • 11 of 14

    Reindeer Sweater

    Reindeer Sweater

    The Country Chic Cottage 

    Give Rudolph the star treatment by rendering his face (extra-large, please) across a knit pullover. If you can source them, huge googly eyes add a fun bit of whimsy to this project, and a giant red pom pom nose finishes Rudolph with flare. This sweater is a great option for kids too, they can definitely help cut simple felt shapes and assemble with fabric glue.

    Reindeer Sweater from The Country Chic Cottage

  • 12 of 14

    Bow-Covered Sweatshirt

    Bow Covered Sweatshirt

    A Little Craft in Your Day

    Don’t trash the festive gift wrapping this year, instead salvage and save any colorful bows that still have a bit of life left in them. Cover a cardigan, sweater, or jacket in a rainbow of shiny bows (the more color and texture the better). Just be sure to secure everything down with a bit of hot glue. 

    Bow-Covered Sweatshirt from A Little Craft in Your Day

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  • 13 of 14

    Christmas Lights Sweater

    Woman in Christmas lights sweater

    Studio DIY

    This idea is nearly too cute to be considered "ugly," but it's certainly a perfect option for any ugly sweater Christmas party. It's a creative and clever way to incorporate the holidays into your attire without too feeling over-the-top.

    DIY Christmas Lights Sweater from Studio DIY

  • 14 of 14

    Red Bow Sweater

    Red Bow Sweater


    If you prefer a simple bodice to your ugly sweater, try this statement sleeve option. Adorn each sleeve with humorously large bows (check your nearby Christmas aisle for gift wrapping supplies to source a few suitable ones), and finish with a simple wreath. Not quite ugly enough for your tastes? Try multi-hued ribbon to create a rainbow of bows on each sleeve. 

    Red Bow Sweater from Shutterfly