How to Make Paper Ornaments

comments (19) November 27th, 2016     

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Jeff_Rudell Jeffery Rudell, contributor
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These whimsical, gem-toned paper ornaments make a handsome addition to any tree.  
If youd rather recycle materials, many glossy magazine covers are brightly colored and printed on heavy stock. Once cut into strips, you can transform them into beautifully patterned decorations.
Dont be afraid to experiment with the size (length and width) of the strips you use. Here, narrow strips of magenta and purple blend beautifully.
These whimsical, gem-toned paper ornaments make a handsome addition to any tree.  

These whimsical, gem-toned paper ornaments make a handsome addition to any tree.  

Photo: Jeff Rudell
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Wal-Mart, I dare say, is not the answer, but I do think it's important to have fun while you craft. When it becomes "work," the fun often drains away. To keep things on the happy side of that division, I have since made it a rule to begin all of my holiday craft projects on Labor Day. I take my time doing as much (or as little) as I can up until Thanksgiving. After that, I stop crafting and take the entire month of December off to enjoy friends, family, food, and the fruits of my labors. I've given up on the idea of homogeneously decorated trees. I now prefer, instead, to make a dozen or two new paper ornaments every year. A dozen or two is enough to keep me busy but not bored, and over the years, I've managed to amass quite a wonderful, if eclectic, collection of paper confections that I delight in unpacking and hanging on my tree each year.

So, as a kickoff to the season, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite recipes for holiday ornaments. These balls-really more like "twisted orbs"-are fun and easy to make. With a little prep work (or some supervision), they are even appropriate for 8- to 14-year-olds as well as adults. 

Please let me know if you enjoy this project. I have a few other tree decorations that I could write up instructions for if the spirit of the season seems to take hold here among the CraftStylish readers. Of course, please post pictures of your own projects in the gallery. One of the nicest, and most helpful, things for me is seeing how this community of crafters take my suggestions and improve on them. I'm learning so much from all your feedback and I am grateful for it.

And, while it may be early, let me be the first to say, Happy Holidays.

The supplies you'll need are: paper, cutting tools, small pliers, some wire, and an awl or needle for making small holes.

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posted in: christmas, ornaments, christmas ornaments, holiday ornaments

Comments (19)

GC1992 writes: Great!
Posted: 7:27 am on January 25th
rubydaly writes: Wonderful! I've always loved working with paper. I even took online Origami lessons several years ago. These look very nice.
Posted: 3:39 am on January 7th
spacart writes: I love your Christmas Ornament balls. Thank you for posting your project and advice. I am one of those who ends of finishing the crafted gifts just before Christmas. I like the concept of having the holidays free to enjoy my home and friends with out "completion anxieties". Now I just have to stick to my decision.
Posted: 1:58 am on January 16th
launenat writes: Beautiful work, you have angel's hands
Posted: 9:02 am on January 14th
Carolemeis writes: I loved your statement: "I stop crafting and take the entire month of December off to enjoy friends, family, food, and the fruits of my labors" .... such a well-purposed plan to keep in mind!

Your hand-made ornaments sure out-class any shop bought one; they're just magical.

Posted: 9:39 pm on January 6th
Jessicalyn_Bliss writes: Great project! I am going to make these and use them to create a mobile for my baby.
Posted: 7:25 pm on January 6th
Eternal_Clouds writes: thats so cant wait to decorate my room with them
Posted: 10:49 am on March 8th
bovata writes: Hey there is a very easy way to keep from getting gaps or the strips collapsing on one another! once you have your paper strips stacked on the bottom wire, alternate the order so that the first strip that was stacked on the bottom wire becomes the first strip stacked on the top. This means that in the changing of order, the strips will cross at the center of the ornament, giving you a swirled look and making the ornament more stable. The only downside is that once this is glued in place, they must be stored like that, so it will take up more room.
Posted: 11:26 am on December 1st
NancyWard writes: Jerry,

Today I posted an entry to my blog with a link to this tutorial.

Would you let me know if that's OK?


Nancy Ward
Posted: 11:17 am on November 17th
farmerchild writes: This is a great idea for wedding decorations on a budget!!! Thanks for sharing!
Posted: 10:12 pm on November 11th
gravityworks2 writes: I made this ornament today! I Love it! I added a bead to the bottom end of the wire for a bit of sparkle. It turned out so pretty my 4 year old daughter wants to make one too!
Posted: 1:28 pm on November 9th
eveh writes: I love these. I would love to see more like this. I am bed ridden right now and miss crafting but this is soemthing I can do from my bedside and feel like I am doing something to make our home cheerful for Christmas.
Posted: 6:27 pm on November 8th
isewformykids writes: I think you have found the solution to my autistic sons breaking of ornaments. Thank you.
Posted: 12:04 am on November 8th
sigridsoto writes: I will try it i imagine you have done over and over and are very good it by the looks of it they are very pretty
Posted: 5:05 am on October 12th
J9 writes: They are beautiful, I am also going to try and cut up plastic strips which should make them suitable for outdoor use. Thanks Jeffery for the great ideas for us not so creative.
Posted: 10:54 pm on September 24th
uucrafteratthebeach writes: Wow Jeff! I found your site 2 days ago and have made 4 of these already. I love them. It's as good as therapy.
After #2, I added enhancements. 1]green paper leaves,slightly curled and 2]the wire ends became longer and I curly-qued them.
I'm taking this project to a UU Crafters group this weekend. We're starting on Halloween decorations. Thanks soooo much
Monika [p.s. belated Birthady greetings, mine was the 7th]
Posted: 2:48 pm on September 10th
directedbyhp writes: Me and my kids (11-16 years old) have been looking for a paper project to do. I have admired your work, and I would love to try this paper project from you. Hopefully follow up photos and reactions of my kids paper ornaments, to follow.

Louisville, Kentucky
Posted: 2:34 am on September 7th
MaeveQ writes: I LOVE these. I think they would be pretty to hang on the trees in our backyard. Thanks, your work is so beautiful
Posted: 10:37 am on September 1st
halfaperfectpair writes: i love this project! maybe this year i'll be smart and start on some holiday crafts early...i think i'll head to the paper store today!!
Posted: 8:03 am on September 1st
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