Christmas Tips & Fun
Learn interesting, unusual, unique and useful facts and tips about Christmas and the winter holiday season, in America and around the world.
Round Beaded Christmas Ornament
very year at Christmas, I look forward to hanging the handmade beaded ornaments that my grandmother made on my tree, as they’re some of my most prized possessions and remind me of Christmases long past. You can recreate that feeling with these ornaments, which make a great gift for your loved ones (or yourself).
These ornaments are completely customizable – choose whatever colors you like, and feel free to play with the types of ribbon and beads that you use. You can make your ornaments in traditional Christmas colors like red, green, gold, and silver, but don’t feel like you’re restricted to those options. I opted for a purple color palette because my favorite ornaments from my grandmother are all in non-traditional colors like pink and teal.
I started in the ribbon section of my craft store and then made the rest of my selections based upon my chosen ribbon, but you can certainly start with beads that you like and then pick the rest of your materials to complement them. This ornament could also be a great way to use any ribbons, beads, or paint that you have left over from other crafting projects. You’ll probably be able to make at least two ornaments if you purchase all of the materials at your craft store.
3” Smooth Styrofoam Ball
Acrylic Craft Paint
Seed Beads (mine were 6/0)
Large Beads (mine were 6mm or ј” glass beads)
Sequins (mine were 8mm)
1 ј” Flat Head Pins
1 Ѕ” Pearl Head Pins
Ribbon (mine was 7/8” wide)
1) Paint the smooth Styrofoam ball (you’ll need to make sure that it’s smooth Styrofoam or you won’t be able to paint it) with an acrylic craft paint in the color of your choosing. I recommend a lighter shade if you’re going to use dark ribbon or a dark shade if you’re going to use light ribbon.
You’ll probably need to allow two coats – I used a foam brush as it works well with the smooth Styrofoam. I do not recommend using a metallic paint or one that already has the glitter in it, as they don’t paint evenly onto the Styrofoam.
2) Once the second coat of paint is dry, brush two coats of brush-on glitter paint onto the ball. I would allow the two coats of glitter paint to dry overnight before moving on to the next step.
I recommend using the type of glitter paint that is basically a clear gel in which the glitter is suspended (DecoArt makes a variety called “Craft Twinkles”). I used crystal colored glitter, but you could use silver, gold, or any glitter that complements your paint, ribbons, and beads. If you don’t want to use glitter paint, you can dust some glitter over the wet paint, or you can leave out the glitter completely.
3) Once your paint is completely dry, you can begin putting the ribbon on your ornament. I used one shade, but you could use as many different complementary ribbons as you like. Begin by laying the ribbon flat against the ornament. Place two flat head pins through the ribbon and into the ball to hold it in place.
Bring the ribbon around the ornament pulling it taut, securing it in place with two more head pins on the opposite side. Continue the ribbon around back to where you began and secure it with two more head pins. Once you have secured the ribbon, cut it from the spool.
I repeated this process with another piece of ribbon, dividing the ball into four equal portions, but you could easily add another ribbon perpendicular to the other ribbons, creating 8 equal portions on the ball. You could also run another narrower complementary colored ribbon over the original ribbon if you wanted to add more detail.
4) Once you have your ribbons placed, you can begin putting beads on your ornament. I started with a pearl head pin, then one of my large beads, and then a sequin and placed it in the approximate center of one of the lengths of ribbon (the middle configuration in the photo).
I repeated this process for the other three lengths. I then used a flat head pin, a seed bead, a large bead, and a sequin above my first bead on the ribbon (the rightmost configuration in the photo), and then repeated the process below the first bead. I eyeballed this and put the beads where I thought they looked nice – there’s no real exact science or rules about where you can place your beads.
I chose to use the same colored seed bead for the beads above and below the first bead – but you can mix this up however you want. I repeated the process on all four lengths of ribbon, and then continued to add beads above and below until I was happy with the number of beads on each length.
5) You’ll next want to create a design for the bottom of your ornament. I inserted a pearl head pin, a large bead, and a sequin into the center of the bottom of my ornament where the ribbons cross. I then repeated this process with four additional pin/bead/sequin groups, making a cross that aligned with the ribbons.
I then took a head pin and one seed bead and inserted it between two of the beads that make up the cross (the leftmost configuration in the close-up photo of the beads on the pins). I repeated this process three times to insert a bead between all parts of the cross.
6) On the top of your ornament, you’ll want to affix a ribbon to allow the ornament to be hung on a tree. Cut a length of ribbon that is long enough from which to hang the ornament – remember, it will be doubled over, so don’t cut it too short (mine was about 9 inches long).
At the top of the ornament, align one end of your ribbon with the ribbons wrapped around the ornament. Secure it with two flat head pins, then create the loop and place the other end of your ribbon flush with the pinned portion. Secure it with two additional head pins.
Over the ribbon that you’ve just attached to the ornament, repeat the design that you placed on the bottom of your ornament in step 5.
At this point, I liked the look of my ornament and opted not to add any additional embellishments. However, you could add additional beads on the painted portion of the ornament, or any other decorations of your choosing, such as faux jewels, decals, or charms.
I hope that this post gives you some ideas for creating your own ornaments to share with family and friends, and I’d love it if you shared some of your own Christmas craft ideas with me.
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