When you open that box of Christmas tree ornaments, memories of all the delights of the season come popping out. All your decorations, especially the handmade ones, may embody warm personal messages. Who doesn’t have a selection of special ones-your child’s hand print in plaster, a glued macaroni celebrity, or an elegant hand-sewn Santa? Making your own ornaments offers you the pleasure of production, lasting decorations for your tree, and cherished gifts for friends.
All ages, from kids to grandmas, will find pleasure in making their own ornaments. Children like to use simple, quick materials and methods to make ornaments. Artists use their more technical skills to create them from blown, fused, or stained glass; engraved gold or silver alloys; modeled and fired clay; or carved wood. The skill level required for many projects in this book fits in between. They concentrate on readily available materials and reveal doable practices.
Christmas is celebrated in many lands and many ways. Knowing some of this lore makes the theme of each Christmas decoration more interesting. Some of these traditions are ancient ones that include such icons as evergreen trees, wreaths, mistletoe, candles, bells, and holly. Others show more recent themes such as Santa’s, stockings, toys, gingerbread houses, and elves. No ornament shape is more lasting than colorful balls in many styles, and none signifies Christmas more than a star on top of the tree.
Along with these bits of traditional lore, you’ll discover full-color photos of each decoration, lists of materials, patterns, illustrations, and instructions to create them.
Tips for making ornaments
Ornaments, by their nature, are delicate. At our house, a few of those exquisite glass balls burst on the hard floor every year. The fragile ones are like blossoms, meant to bloom a short while and then fade. Yet when packed away with care, even fragile decorations, such as your handmade treasures, can last for years and years.
Choose lightweight, yet sturdy materials to build your ornaments. Heavy ornaments will cause tree limbs to sag. Ornaments that are too fragile will not survive until next year. By way of example, the folded Christmas tree can be made from an assortment of newspapers, thin sheets of plastic, or even stiff fabric.
Store your decorations in sturdy boxes. If you can find them, use special boxes with dividers. Wrap the delicate ornaments in tissue paper and pack them in these different compartments. Over the summer, make sure your decorations are stored away from extreme heat or dampness.
You can leave the lights and decorations on an artificial tree, if you have a place to store it. If so, make certain to bend the hooks closed, both on the decorations and the limbs, and wrap the tree in a large plastic bag to store (available for live tree disposal). Move the tree back in place next year, and include some new touch, such as a wire-edged ribbon or particular new ornaments. New ideas hit the store shelves every holiday season.
Pick the right sorts of glue and paint for the materials you’re working with (product labels will record this information). For instance, some beads will need hot jewelry adhesive, and Shrink Dinks plastic needs waterproof paint or pencils. For your decoration making session, collect ornament materials from everywhere-candy ribbons, costume jewelry, art papers, and on craft shop safaris.
Include family and friends in creating these tiny decorative projects. Another part is giving presents; and the ornaments you make will be nice gifts.