DIY Christmas Ornament Inspirations

We went to check out the Christmas trees on display inside the Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC. There were so many of them, room after room. The hotel itself is incredible. Details details details...

 I focused on the ceilings, not many people admire ceilings because they are boring, well not these ceilings. Every room was carved wood this and crown mouldings that.

Without getting too carried away with ceilings, here are some DIY inspirations for Christmas ornaments from the many trees on display.


Shadow boxes made from old Christmas cards and Christmas card boxes. And garlands made from wooden beads and spools of thread.

This tree was from Scouts Canada, they had badges, stars made from photos, garlands made from epaulettes, wooden snowflakes, beaded reindeer heads...

On the Grinch Stole Christmas tree, there were painted light bulb characters heads. Clever.

My favourite was the mini terrariums, inside glass ornaments. This tree was very rustic, with burlap garland, mini moss baskets, and sea shells.
I would like to make mini terrariums, but not so practical with children around, these things absolutely cannot be knocked over. Maybe I'll make these in 15 years.

Christmas Carol Garland

Keeping up with the sans red and green Christmas theme...
A Christmas Carol Garland for the little white flocked tree.

This is a mini version of the garlands from my 30th birthday party.
Those are cut out letters taped onto fishing line. We have an abundance of yellow card stock, left over from our wedding invites. Good thing I LOVE yellow.

Here's how to make a mini version, with a tab, so it looks better close up, without seeing tape at the top.

Cut card stock to the height of the letters you want, plus a little bit more to form the tabs at the top, score and fold the tab. This is how you keep your letters the same height.

I like to cut my letters free hand, but you can also drawn on your letters first.
Or, if you are not confident with your typography skills, use the whole sheet of card stock to print letters on with your computer, or use your fancy personal cutting machine.

I don't have a fancy cutting machine, so by hand it is. Makes it look more rustic. :P

Joy to the World... ...

Glue letters to string.

Fold tab over string as you glue.

It's not that hard but if you are going to do a whole carol it may take a while.

I only did three lines of the carol.

Now every time I look at the tree, I think of Joy to the World, it's a grand Christmas carol, I love the first three lines, it is truly what Christmas is all about.

Six Pointed Paper Snowflakes

I have decided that I'm going to bring back all the simple fun things I used to do when I was a kid around Christmas time. This one is great because it involves a sense of mystery. I'm sure we've all made paper snowflakes at one time or another but I will share how I make a six-pointed paper snowflake. 

Six-pointed, or a hexagon, is very important in snowflake making because that is how they are found in nature. Geeky, yes. But it does make them appear more snowflake-like, rather than a square with holes cut out of it.

A real snowflake, photo from here.
Start with a square piece of paper. (I know the paper below is not a square, but that is how you make a square from a rectangle.)

Fold point to opposite point into a triangle.

Fold point to opposite point again, to make a smaller triangle.

Take top piece and fold back, at an angle of 30 degrees, or what I do is estimate, then even it out on the next fold.

Fold back to match the edges, adjust your fold so they are equal.

Flip the whole thing over.

And do the same thing as before to this side.

The folding part is complete, now, draw on your design, or just start cutting free hand. To get a six point snowflake, one edge of your design should be higher than the other.

Snip snip snip away.

This is my favourite part, the unfolding. Because you never know how it's going to turn out.

Here's an other one.

One more.
 This one was more intricate, so I used a craft knife instead of scissors.

I love the giggly feeling I get when I unfold these, the excitement of seeing what they look like.

Other than putting them up on your window or Christmas tree, try sticking them on card stock to make Christmas cards, or use them to decorate presents.
Let it snow(flake).

Puffy Paper Star Garland

Puffy paper stars, or lucky paper stars, were the national obsession when I was a kid living in Hong Kong. I made so many of them!

Kids made them, teenagers made them, adults made them. We never did do anything with them other than collect them in glass jars. They are very simple to make, like I said, kids made them. So round up the kids. For instance, if you have 10 kids then you will have 10 stars in less than a minute!

Cut strips of paper, or use plastic ribbon. Lazy me actually used letter size graph paper, there are lines on there already. But you can use any other paper, wrapping paper is great for this. I made two sizes, 3/4" and 1" wide strips. Length of the strips depends on the width. 

22"L x 3/4"W (two strips of letter size)
33"L x 1"W (three strips of letter size)

Start with tying a 'knot', then flatten the knot a little, but don't crease the folds, keep it kinda puffy.

Wrap the end strips around the pentagon as you follow the shape. When one strip is finished tack on another strip. (If your paper is not one big long strip already.)

No glue needed for this, just place the second strip slightly over the first and keep wrapping.

When you are at the end you will have the last bit sticking out.

Tuck the end into the pentagon.

Almost there.

Use finger to poke the sides of the pentagon to make the star. You can also use the edge of your table to do this.

Push in all five edges to create your star.

To make a garland, string stars together with a needle. You can use thread, rope, yarn, ribbon... you get the idea.

There it is, one puffy paper star garland.

 It's not long enough to go around the little tree, need to make more stars.