Wednesday, December 21, 2011

handmade holiday | star ornaments

DIY star ornaments
I'm a non-traditionalist when it comes to Christmas ornaments. I think the red/green/gold combination is boring and depressing, and I don't do baby Jesus or religious themes on my tree. I like fun, bright, cheerful colors, and non-traditional shapes. However, I've been so non-traditional with my Christmas decorations lately, that I realized I've been un-Christmasing Christmas.

Enter the star - my favorite Christmas shape. It's modern, yet Christmasy at the same time. I could decorate a whole tree with stars, and many of my handmade ornaments this year are stars - whether made of felt, glass, wood, or sticks.

DIY star ornaments
This idea came to me as I was trying to fall asleep one night - "I should sew on wood!" I thought. The next day I busted out my power drill and created one of my favorite ornaments this year. These were so simple to make and I love how they turned out. They look very Nordic to me, which is awesome since I am a big fan of the Scandinavian aesthetic. And they're Christmasy!
DIY star ornaments
Materials | wood stars, embroidery thread (4' per star), hemp twine (for hanging cord), glue
Equipment | power drill, scissors, needle
Tips |   Drill the center hole larger than the others.
           Start and finish sewing at the center hole.
           Finish the stars by tying a knot at the center hole at each side.
           Dot each knot with a dab of glue to keep from unraveling.

DIY star ornaments
I made this ornament years ago after taking a stained glass class. At the time I planned to make dozens to give as gifts, but the thought of cutting glass at home and littering my house with dangerous glass shards made me decide against it. I have since seen similar stars popping up in Etsy shops and at craft fairs.
DIY star ornaments
Admittedly, this project is not the best DIY if you've never worked with glass before, but I had to share it because it is one of my favorites.
DIY star ornaments
Materials | glass, copper foil, flux, solder, fishing wire (for hanging cord)
Equipment | glass cutter, soldering iron, experience with glass
Tips | Please don't cut or burn yourself!

DIY star ornaments
I made these stars last year after realizing I was never going to make more glass stars. I liked the look of the circle in the center of the glass star, so used that as inspiration for these much-simpler-to-make felt stars. I had been attempting hand sewing some much more intricate felt ornaments last year and wanted a simple shape that could be sewn quickly using my sewing machine. I machine-stitched two felt stars together (for rigidity) and then hand sewed the circles on either side.
DIY star ornaments
Materials | felt, thread, silver cord (for hanging cord)
Equipment | scissors, needle, sewing machine

DIY star ornaments
I call this guy "Franken Star" - you can see my handsewing skills leave a lot to be desired. That just gives it character, right?
DIY star ornaments
Materials | felt, thread, hemp twine (for hanging cord)
Equipment | scissors, needle

DIY star ornaments
Everyone's heard of cinnamon-applesauce ornaments (we had some on our tree growing up), yet this was my first go at making them myself.

What a mess! The dough looks like, well...there's a reason I nicknamed these Sh*t Stars. I'd give you a recipe (you mix cinnamon, applesauce, and a spoonful of glue), but the one I used was clearly off in its proportions and I had to dump a bunch of extra cinnamon in to make the stars look like stars and not mud pies.

Also, I now have a 5 pound jug of ground cinnamon and no idea what to do with it!

Anyway, I wanted to make the cinnamon ornaments with a twist and add a little sparkle, so I sprinkled glitter over the stars while they were still wet. I recently saw glitter described as "the herpes of the craft world." I tend to agree - but at Christmastime all bets are off. The sparklier the better, I say! Mine are a little rough looking (evidently you can rub them with sandpaper if you prefer a smoother look), but that's part of their rustic charm.

Surprisingly, the dogs have not *yet* eaten these "cookies" off the tree...
DIY star ornaments
Materials | cinnamon, applesauce, glue, glitter, hemp twine (for hanging cord)
Equipment | bowl, rolling pin, cookie cutters

DIY twiggy tree topper
Once our tree was decorated with handmade ornaments, I realized I couldn't put our usual store-bought copper star on the top (I think it came from Target), so I set about to make my own using some twigs from our backyard. It was a frustrating process as the star kept breaking apart, so I eventually got out the glue gun (as evidenced by the unsightly globs of glue at all the joints - oh well). Putting the star on top of the tree involved some swear words, and you will see my wire wrapping skills suck even more than my hand sewing skills, but hey, the tree is topped!
DIY star ornaments
Materials | twigs, glue
Equipment | pruning shears, glue gun

Oh, and there was one more star ornament I made this year. I didn't like the way it turned out and hadn't planned to share it, but I should've at least photographed it first, because now it looks like this:
"That's what you get for making an ornament out of STICKS!"
"That's what you get for making an ornament out of STICKS, Mom!"


sNick said...

Great post! Where's the best place to find textured glass to cut down to size for the stained glass star?

Funnelcloud Rachel said...

@sNick - You can get textured/colored glass at a stained glass supply store. There are several here in the DC area, but if you do a google search you might be able to find one near you. Hope that helps!