Paper ornaments are a classic – both as a craft and as holiday decor. And as Christmas is right around the corner, I prefer to get crafty before December so I can enjoy a full month of holiday cheer.
I know I tend to use a lot of traditional decor around my place. There’s nothing wrong with old stuff, but it can look a little outdated if you don’t counterbalance it with something more modern or unusual.
I like to decorate bedrooms and smaller spaces with small Christmas trees. However, these can be a challenge to decorate because of their size. So I decided to make some simple paper ornaments for a small tree I plan to display. This is a great project for anyone who likes simple and cheap crafts. If you’ve kiddos, this is something you can do with them!
Materials List for Paper Ornaments
- Yarn and/or Ribbon – For Tassels and/or Hanging
- Cricket, Die Cutting Machine or Paper Punches (optional)
- Paint (optional)
- Markers (optional)
- Paintbrush (optional)
- Large Needle to Thread Yarn/Ribbon (optional)
Create Your Backgrounds for the Paper Ornaments
You can make these paper ornaments with patterned scrapbook paper or construction paper. In which case you can jump to the cutting portion of the instructions below.
However, I wanted more pizzazz in my Christmas tree. That and I like to get crafty, so I decided to DIY some backgrounds on my paper.
These patterns can be as simple or complicated as you wish them to be. If you love painting floral patterns with watercolors you can do that. Since I wanted my Christmas tree to have a modern touch, I chose to stick to simple geometric patterns.
Below are some of the patterns I used and how I made them.
Abstract Line Art
This one is super simple. I used a black marker and drew lines across my paper. If you’re an overthinker, I suggest you challenge yourself to draw a line across your paper without lifting the marker. Continue to drag it around until you get a good result.
You can also play around with marker tips to achieve a variety of looks.
Gingham is one of my favorite geometric patterns and looks great paired with so many styles. To create a gingham pattern, you’ll want three variations of the same color. The easiest way to do this is to pick a color and mix it with various amounts of white or black.
When you create gingham patterns, imagine a 3×3 square. Your darkest color will go in the center square. Your medium color will surround every side of your lightest square. Finally, the lightest color will go in the corners.
You can use tape to create straight lines, or you can do what I did and use a square tip paint brush and eyeball your squares.
To create these stripes, I watered down some acrylic paint to create a watercolor look. The more water you add to your paint, the paler the color will be on your paper.
This stripe pattern is meant to look imperfect. If you’d like something more streamlined, use painters or washi tape to create straight lines.
This pattern is one of my favorites. It reminds me of a tiger pattern by Scalamandre and it’s really easy to recreate.
To create the stripes, you’ll want either a pen or a black market with a thin tip. The technique for the stripes is to make them with a series of lines. You cluster them together in various lengths to create a sense of movement.
My tip here is to use your wrist to flick the line across the surface of the paper. Make sure to keep your lines close together so that they look like a solid block of ink from afar.
Cut Your Shapes
Cutting the shapes for your ornaments is the most tedious portion of this tutorial. That said, with the right tools you can reduce your cutting time significantly. I used a combination of a die-cutting machine and a paper punch to create the shapes for my ornaments.
Alternatively, if you don’t have any of these devices you can use a lid of some sort as a template for round ornaments. I recommend you draw your circles on the backside of your paper so that your pencil marks are invisible once you’ve completed the ornament. Keep in mind it will be more time-consuming when you cut out each circle by hand.
Below are my suggestions for the amount of layers you will need for each paper ornament you choose to create.
|6 Layers and Under
Once you’ve cut your pieces, you will want to fold them down the center. Ensure the pattern side of the ornament is sandwiched inside.
Prepare Your Accessories for Your Paper Ornaments
I like to use beads on my ornaments because they are pretty to look at while being functional too. Beads stop your yarn and ribbon from sliding right through the center of the ornament. You can glue your ribbon or yarn to the center, but in the occurrence that they don’t adhere well, the beads will prevent any sliding.
Dollar Tree carries various kinds of beads. They have wooden beads, plastic beads, pearl beads, painted, unpainted, large and small. And sometimes they’ll introduce new colors during different seasons.
They also carry a variety of yarns, ribbons, and tissue paper. I use these to hang the paper ornaments and to create tassels. Tassels are easy to make and add a fun touch to simple ornaments.
How to Make a Tassel
To create a tassel, I used a piece of scrap cardboard and cut the height to the approximate height that I wanted my finished tassels to be – 2” in my case. Then, you simply wrap your yarn around the cardboard as many times as you like. If you want very full tassels, you’ll need to wrap your yarn many times. For slimmer tassels, less so.
Once you’ve reached your desired fullness, then you can snip your yarn. Cut a separate piece with some extra length so that you can thread it through all of the layers of yarn. Tie a knot or two to secure it.
Cut all of the layers of thread to create the tassel. Trim the ends until they are even.
How to Thread Your Beads and Tassels
To keep the yarn layers bundled together, I like to use thin ribbon or embroidery floss. I tie them together and then use a finishing ribbon or thread on top to give my tassels a finished look.
If you do choose to use beads, I thread them with whatever ribbon or yarn I intend to use for the handing loop of my ornament. I like to use one on the top and bottom of my ornaments, but you can do as you please. I thread my yarn through a wide-eyed needle and pull my thread through the center of my tassel. Then, I pass it through my bead.
I prep these before I start gluing, but you have some leeway here in terms of the order you choose to do them.
Glue Your Pieces
Once you have a good pile of circle cutouts, you can begin to piece together your paper ornament.
You have numerous choices when it comes to adhesives. Glue sticks and double-sided tape are the easiest and quickest methods, but they are not always the most reliable. Wet glue will be reliable, but can be time-consuming and messy.
If you choose to use wet glue, your drying time is going to be longer. I recommend you use a brush to spread your glue and soft clips like clothespins can keep your pieces sandwiched together while they dry.
When you glue, you want to put adhesive on the outer half of your cutout and then adhere it to another half of an other cutout. Continue to do this with as many layers as you’d like.
Before you glue your ornament closed, you will want to place your bead and tassel combo into the center of the ornament. Then you can glue it shut.
Finishing Touches to Your Paper Ornaments
To finish off your paper ornaments, you can knot your yarn or ribbon now, or you can thread a second bead to the top.
You can also choose to glitter the edges or use a metallic marker to add touches of gold or silver to the edges.