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12+ Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas & Tutorials

Ready for some of the ugliest Christmas sweaters ever? This list is full of 'em! Find ugly sweater patterns, tutorials, and clever ideas.

12 Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas and Tutorials

Ugly sweaters are one of the most creative and fun recent Christmas traditions. If you are unfamiliar with the term "ugly Christmas sweater" or "ugly holiday sweater" then you are in for a treat with this round-up of 12+ Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas & Tutorials!

Basically, you can buy or make a sweater and then adorn it with all sorts of holiday embellishments in the gaudiest ways you can think of. Many have ugly Christmas sweater parties or even contests in which the ugliest one wins.

Sure, there are plenty of brick-and-mortar and online stores that have joined the craze but it's SO EASY to make a DIY ugly sweater that it's well worth taking the extra time to make your own.

Of course, there are plenty of people who tap deep into their creativity and skills to make amazing costumes, some of which are difficult to replicate, but most are not. Don't believe us? Then take a look at this list of funny ugly Christmas sweater ideas we think you need to see.

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First! How to Make an Ugly Sweater

There isn't a set answer to the question, "what is an ugly Christmas sweater?" but the theme is usually "impressively tacky."

Whether that means adding every decoration but the kitchen sink to a sweater or recreating a classic Christmas theme in the form of a sweater, well, that's up to you. As you will see, sometimes they could barely be considered sweaters and more like costumes. Either way, there are certainly many opportunities to use your sewing skills! 

This page is meant to inspire you to come up with an idea that will make you light up as bright as a Christmas tree. Your ugly sweater doesn't have to be Christmas-themed, either. It can be used to celebrate other winter holidays or even just ugliness.

Our friends at AllFreeChristmasCrafts have a guide on How to Make an Ugly Sweater + 5 Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Find an old sweater in your closet or buy one from the store. You can also make one.
  2. Gather Christmas decorations for your DIY ugly Christmas sweater.
  3. Plan out your DIY ugly sweater.
  4. Attach the embellishments to your homemade ugly sweater. 
  5. Put it on and test it out (to see if it's functional).

12+ Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas & Tutorials

12+ Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas & Tutorials

Use these ugly sweater ideas to inspire your next creation or simply check out this list to have a laugh and show your friends. We tried to include variety to truly show how many different takes on the "ugly Christmas sweater" there are around.

Look through these awesome ugly sweater patterns, tutorials, and ideas and be inspired for your next holiday party. There will be a note if there's a free pattern or tutorial included.

1. Stuck in the Chimney Ugly Christmas Sweater

This DIY ugly Christmas sweater you see below is as festive as it is frightening. You'll find another of Mr. Noack's creative creations farther down on the list.

He has an Instructables tutorial for this amazingly creepy yet creative ugly sweater idea here.

UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER DIY (Stuck in the Chimney 2012)

2. Ridiculous Rudolph the Reindeer Sweater DIY

This reindeer sweater from Angie at The Country Chic Cottage is one of the best ugly sweaters to make if you're short on time and have limited money or skills. It's so easy and fun.

People will get a kick out of this giant googly-eyed Rudolph walking into the room. Plus, you'll find all the materials and steps shown for the sweater project here.

Virtual Ugly Sweater Party

3. The Ugliest Yet Most Creative Festive Sweater DRESSES

Brit + Co stepped outside the realm of the standard ugly Christmas sweater by designing three unique ugly sweater dresses.

Find a ruffled tree, snowman, and chimney design. Super easy and cheap to make, too! Find their full tutorial for all three dresses here.

Skip the Sweater and DIY an Ugly Sweater Dress This Holiday

4. Quick Transformation DIY Ugly Christmas Tree Sweater

On the Heathiepants Instagram, you'll find the image of a Christmas sweater idea that quickly went viral.

It looks like a tacky Christmas sweater as is but when set yourself up in a specific pose, you'll look just like a decorated Christmas tree! How cool is that? You'll find the tutorial on Heather's YouTube channel.

DIY Ugly Christmas Tree Sweater

5. Become a Life Size Snow Globe with This DIY Ugly Christmas Sweater

Hopefully no one picks you up and shakes you too hard but being a life-sized snow globe has to be one of the funniest ideas for ugly sweater parties.

Country Living has this as a Halloween costume idea, which means it's a great idea for either Halloween or Christmastime. This tutorial provides all the details for making your own.

Snow Globe Costume

6. Tipping the Ladder Extreme Ugly Christmas Sweater

We told you that Mr. Noack would be back in this list and that's because we could make a list of the ugliest Christmas sweaters without this one. Not for the casual crafter, this DIY sweater is much more than that.

If you're ready to put some work in and commit to wearing a full tree all night, give this a shot. You're guaranteed to be in the running for "best worst sweater" contests! Find the tutorial on Instructables here.


7. Turn a Sweater into a Snow Globe

You saw the tutorial that taught you how to create a person-sized snow globe but this one is just as clever. You'll build a snow globe on your belly!

Besides this idea from Instructables member ChamiaL being a clever way to hide that extra accidentally-ate-too-many-Christmas-cookies-winter-weight, it's a fun DIY project that will result in a cute and funny sweater that will have people gathering around. Find the video tutorial on Instructables here.


8. Don't Forget the Tree Skirt Festive Light-Up Sweater

This one from The Cards We Drew is simple but charmingly ugly. Not only does this classic Christmas tree adorn the front of this sweater but it ACTUALLY LIGHTS UP and has a tacky tree skirt with a ruffle underneath.

We like this one because it doesn't cause a lot of interference while you're enjoying yourself at the party. You can find the tutorial here.


9. Sweet Candy Cane DIY Christmas Dress

Here's an easy but clever Christmas sweater...well, dress, from C.R.A.F.T. that will have mouths watering. All you need is a red dress and you can add white candy stripes and probably the funkiest "hat" you've ever worn.

The end result? A life-size candy cane! If you have a group, you can connect yourselves with some string and be garland! Learn how to make your own with this step-by-step here.


10. Everything But the Kitchen Sink Sweater Idea

Wanna throw everything you've got in your Christmas boxes onto a sweater? Then this ugly sweater idea is for you! Nik727 from Instructables created a sweater that involves lots of rummaging but not a ton of work.

There's no real tutorial here because it's based on what you have around. Sew things on, use a glue gun, or wrap and stuff to make it work!


11. Couples Too Festive Reindeer Sweaters

This one is for the couples! Never lose your partner again or risk losing your poor, sick Rudolph. GemaRastem from Instructables created this SUPER EASY tutorial for an ugly Christmas sweater project that features a reindeer who expands over two sweaters.

Cheap, easy, festive, and fun. What more could you ask for?

Easy Reindeer Couples Ugly Sweater

12. Home for the Holidays Hilarious Christmas Sweater

The Coolest Family on the Block has an ugly sweater competition every year and so you'll find lots of ugly sweater inspiration in their post.

Our favorite, though, is the one with an illusion of brick and front door that opens to reveal a Christmas tree in the living room. So cool!

Uncle Ugly’s Christmas Sweater Jamboree 2011

13. Random Reindeer Ugly Christmas Sweater

Surprise everyone with this reindeer poking out unexpectedly. All you need is a reindeer stuffed animal and the will to take it apart and put it back together in this unique way.

Zieak from Instructables created this Random Reindeer Ugly Christmas Sweater that's easy and one-of-a-kind for any holiday party.

Random Reindeer Ugly Christmas Sweater

BONUS! DIY Ugly Christmas Face Mask

With this project, take this idea of an ugly sweater and apply it to a festive face mask. One look at this DIY "Ugly" Christmas Face Mask, and we guarantee you'll chuckle and so will everyone else.

Plus, the benefit of having this is that you can stay safer while partying it up this winter and stay a little warmer when you are outside.

DIY Ugly Christmas Face Mask



12+ Ugly Christmas Sweater Ideas & Tutorials

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