Upcycled Christmas Ornament

So we’re working on a homemade and up-cycled type of Christmas, partly because, yes it’s more affordable, but mostly because there’s something to re-using that brings out the creativity, and, in my humble opinion, nothing quite like a hand-made Christmas present.  And because I’ve been cleaning out our second bedroom to convert to Eli’s room, I’ve got quite  a few books that need new homes or new purposes.  One of these was a paper version of the speeches of Abraham Lincoln.  Now, I’ve got nothing against ol’ honest Abe, quite like him really, but this paper back was worthless and printed on paper that was acidic and yellowing like it was much older than it was.  Which, of course, makes it look cool, even if the book’s not going to last.  So I took an x-acto knife to it and cut it into about 1/2″-3/4″ strips.  Then I bought some styrofoam balls and started modge-podging like mad (See end of post for list of supplies).

If you do this, or something like it, link in the comments and if I get a bunch, I’ll make a round-up post so others can see your ideas too!

Let it be noted that we have lovely store-bought ornaments too, but we were lacking in balls for the tree as last year’s tree was outdoors and I took all the breakable ones and tied them in pretty groupings to hang different places and I wanted to keep those this year. So we needed balls and I didn’t want to buy them 😛

Here’s the characters who’ll be starring in today’s post:

Start out with strips going around like so:

I put modge podge both under the paper and over it, as it doesn’t stick to styrofoam very well.  But if you keep adding paper and overlapping, the paper eventually holds itself on. The first couple of pieces are a little tricky.

Keep adding, and overlapping.

When the whole ball is covered to your satisfaction (I used 20-25 strips per 3″ ball. You’d need fewer if your strips went all the way around, more if they go less than most of the way around like mine did), puncture the top of the ball with an awl or skewer.

The awl I had wasn’t long enough, obviously to go all the way through the ball, so I followed up by ramming a size 10 knitting needle all the way through. (Be careful not to break your needle if you use the bamboo ones, particularly if other Christmas presents are counting on it! 😉 )

Ornament dumplings! or something…

Now, thread the hemp through two holes of a button and even up the ends.  You’re then going to take the ends through the whole you just punctured (the hemp is stiff enough, you can just push it through).

And pull the button tight against the bottom of this. Note: if you’re using knitting needles, just make sure you don’t use a huge gauge that would cause the button to be pulled into the hole… any medium gauge that make a big enough hole for the hemp to go through will be great! (I used #10).

String both ends of the hemp through two holes of another button (these were up-cycled off a ruined dress shirt of husband’s!), and tie a knot.  Then tie an overhand knot in the ends of the hemp, and voila! hanger!

And there you have it folks, easy peasy. But don’t inhale too many modge podge fumes per evening, k? I don’t want to be responsible for lost brain cells…

Now! post me a link in the comments to either your take on this project, or some hand-made or up-cycling that you’re doing for Christmas this year! I love getting other people’s ideas.

Supplies needed for 6 ornaments:

  • 1 old paper back book cut into 1/2″-3/4″ strips (you’ll need 20-25 per 3″ ornament, see above)
  • 1 container of Modge Podge crafting glue
  • 1 knitting needle or skewer (if using knitting needle, you’ll want something to start your puncture with, a skewer or an awl)
  • 12 buttons
  • about 6 feet of 20 lb jewelry hemp
  • 6 3″ styrofoam balls

Like to print out instructions and have them with you while you craft? Click here for a .pdf for this ornament.

8 thoughts on “Upcycled Christmas Ornament

  1. Those are really neat!

    I wondered if you were going to do something papermache with the old book. I wonder if you could make a papermache newspaper ball to avoid the purchase of styrofoam — but it'd need to have a hole in it before it dried. Maybe wrapping a knitting needle in Saran Wrap and then building the papermache ball around it and letting it dry that way and then pulling it off the needle… hhmmm…. I just sort of hate the contrast between recycling and buying anything styrofoam.

    1. If you figure something out, let me know! Modge Podge would certainly stick better to paper mache, but it wouldn't be a smooth surface…

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