Handmade Ornament Tutorial

This weekend, I made some handmade ornaments inspired by Anna Getty's I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas that I mentioned a few weeks ago here. (Oops, I see I failed on my mission of a blog advent calendar full of tips for you guys). :(

Some of my girlfriends and I made an agreement to only exchange ornaments as a way of simplifying the holidays. It is a nice tradition and we met on Sunday evening at a wine bar to exchange them. I wanted to do handmade this year and while there are many ideas for ornaments in the book, I settled on this one.

I didn't feel like messing with eggs though and I happened to have some clear glass ornaments so I adapted the "recipe" (basically, I eliminated the steps about blowing out the egg contents and sterilizing needles).

I gathered my supplies: ornaments, decorative tissue paper saved from a gift years ago, scissors, glue, paint brushes, water, bowls. I also went through the newspaper and cut out phrases that reminded me of each of my friends: a favorite city, their initial, an activity, etc.

Then it was time to cut the tissue paper into strips. I followed the book's suggestion of 1/2" wide by 2" tall. It was only around midnight after I got home and was trying to fall asleep that I realized it was that dimension that caused me to have so much bubbling going on with my strips on each ornament. That dimension works well for an egg but my ornaments were round so I if you are going to do an ornament like me, I suggest strips about 1" tall instead.

I have really improved on my perfectionism though, I must pat myself on the back for that. I didn't like all the bubbles but I constantly reminded myself that the point of handmade items is not to look like it was produced by a factory machine. The beauty is in the imperfection! Think of all the love that was going into this darn ornament! And glue!

When you have covered your ornament with tissue paper strips, add the collage elements. Finally mix some glue with a few drops of water and paint the entire ornament with that glue mixture. Then steal some pipe cleaners from your kiddo (hey, you bought them right?) and dry them from a towel rack. (Edited: I forgot to tell you that once they are dry, replace those wonky pipe cleaners with a pretty ribbon. I used a 1/8" double-faced satin ribbon from Paper Source).

I wish I had a picture of the packaging because I hate to leave my readers hanging (heh) with this awful photo. But I used cellophane bags lined with red tissue paper and made cute little name tags with my scalloped circle Martha Stewart punch. I tied the top with some multi-colored yarn that I had on hand.

So basically I bought absolutely nothing to make this gift. I had the ornaments, the tissue paper, glue and packaging materials -- a win-win! Even if they are quite bubbly! (I think they are just effervescent with eco-friendlieness and love!)