June 21, 2018
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Be merry, make some tree ornaments

John Clarke Russ | BDN
John Clarke Russ | BDN
Various holiday ornaments.
By Ardeana Hamlin, BDN Staff

The holiday season is more pleasant when I slow down and set aside time to make tree ornaments. This tradition, which I have cultivated since my children were small, is one that infuses me with festivity.

The Internet teems with websites designed to instruct and inspire those who like to hang a few handmade ornaments on the Christmas tree. Go to rollanet.org to learn how to make 3-D round decorations from old Christmas cards. Visit enchantedlearning.com to find out how to make a spiral ornament from construction paper. Visit www.marthastewart.com to learn how to use office supplies such as tags to create unusual and interesting tree baubles. At notmadeofmoney.com you’ll find instructions for paper bird and medallion ornaments. And at everythingetsy.com you can access instructions for making 101 ornaments.

But as much fun as it is to troll the Web looking for projects, I’d rather dive into my stash of materials to see what I can dream up on my own. I like to work with paper and string; my tools are scissors, a glue stick and a hot glue gun. The techniques I use are folding, cutting and wrapping. It doesn’t take a lot of time.

My first encounter with “God’s eye” ornaments came when my children were young and they brought home from school decorations they had made with wooden sticks and colorful yarn. My version involves two toothpicks hot glued together and wrapped with silver or gold crochet cotton with a metallic thread running through it. For those who don’t know the technique or have forgotten it, simple instructions for making the ornaments are posted at crafts.kaboose.com/gods-eyes.html. It takes very little time to make one ornament and the cost is minimal.

Each year I add scraps of interesting and pretty holiday wrapping paper to my stash in order to have it available for ornament making the following year. This month I discovered in my trove green and beige checked tissue paper and a bit of green paper with a red snowflake on it. I tore the tissue paper into a tree shape, glued it to a manila tag and embellished it with dots I made with a red marker. Outlining the tag with silver glitter glue would give it a bit of bling, but, alas, I had none. As for the red snowflake, I cut it out, glued it to a bit of old manila folder, trimmed around it and added a string hanger. Very simple and very easy.

Cut-out motifs from Christmas cards past also make easy and fun ornaments. Glue a string hanger to the back of the motif and there it is, ready to hang on the tree.

Origami is a fun way to make tree ornaments. It requires attention to detail to get the folds right, but the result is worth the effort. A step-by-step, easy-to-follow instruction video on how to fold a Santa is posted at youtube.com/watch?v=UDrgKwj2gS4. To access instructions for folding a simple Christmas tree, go to origami -instructions.com/holiday- origami .html. To learn how to fold an origami star, go to wikihow.com/Fold-an-Origami-Star-(Shuriken). Or visit your local library and ask for a book on origami.

Set aside an hour during the rush of the holiday season to craft ornaments on your own, or with friends and family members. It will make you merry.

Call Ardeana Hamlin at 990-8153, or email ahamlin@bangordailynews.com.

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