More Paper Magic

Last year, I made a fun paper ornament as a Christmas gift, which, unfortunately, never got completely off the ground. But I'm committed to not only seeing that particular ornament through, but to making more. So I'll walk through the steps to make Ornament #2 and you can decide if this seems like a fun idea for your gift-giving. Here is my almost completed Ornament #1:

I love giving gifts that use family photos. They're totally personal and fun, and the recipients usually hang on to them for years. I got this idea originally from a project DD did, in about the third grade, so I just "sophisticated" it up a bit. The fact that third graders can pull it off should give you confidence and hope for success. I know it did for me. In fact, I probably uttered my favorite phrase, "how hard can it be?"

What you need:
1) A color printer
2) Eight family photos, printed to be about 5" tall by at least 5" wide (any more than that will get cut off.
3) A round template (I used a clear CD - you find these on the top of a new stack of CDs in a package)
4) A triangle template. For this I just messed around with the dimensions until I got it close - you want an equilateral triangle whose points touch the outer edge of your round template. If you know a math whiz, ask them to help you.
5) Pencil, pen, glue
6) Yarn and bead (optional)
7) Glitter (optional)

First, print out your photos onto card stock - you need the extra body of thick paper for the ornament to hold its shape. You can easily get two photos per page. White card stock will keep the photos bright, unless you're going for an "aged" look, and then a cream stock might look nice.

Then, trace the round template (CD) onto the photos, centering the main subject. Cut out these circles carefully.

Next, turn the photos over and trace the triangle template onto the back of each one. Use a pencil and draw lightly - you don't want these marks to show through. You want four of the photos' triangles to be pointing up, and four of the photos' triangles to be pointing down. This is important so that you don't get upside down photos when we start gluing this puppy together. These are fold lines. I hold the photo and template up to a light to make sure that the majority of my subject will be inside the triangle. If there is overflow, don't worry - you aren't going to cut anything off, it will just be bent at that spot.

Use a sharp-edged counter top or a straight edge to fold your photos on the triangle lines, and bend the "flaps" toward the front. (My architect's ruler turned out to be perfect for this!)

Now, it starts to get fun, and just a little bit fiddly. We need to do several things simultaneously. First, cut your hanging yarn about 2.5 feet long and fold it in half. Tie a knot about 2" from the fold, for the hanging loop. Add a bead if you want, and knot it again under the bead. Set it aside for the moment.

We start to glue the photos together next, working on one "hemisphere" at a time. Let's start with the northern hemisphere. Take two of the photos with the triangle pointing up, and glue them together, matching up their adjoining flaps. Match the cut edges and the fold lines as best as you can (it probably won't be perfect). Use a thin layer of glue and smooth it with your finger to avoid any lumps between the photos. Be careful not to get any gluey fingers on the front of the photos, as the toner will smear and ruin your project. (Not good.) Add a third photo in the same way.

After a little drying time, glue ONE SIDE of the fourth picture to the group. Once this has set up, add the hanging yarn - position the bead above the top of the photo group, and glue the last photo to the first. You're half way there! Kind of looks like a little hat, doesn't it?

Now we do almost the exact same thing to the "southern hemisphere." Glue all the photos to each other, sliding the yarn ends down through the center just before the last join.

The final fiddly bit is getting the top pieces to match up with the bottom pieces. It won't be perfect, but get them to match as much as possible.

Finally, pull the bottom ends of the yarn down snug, and tie another knot. Add the last bead and a knot to hold it in place and you're 99% done.

Me, I like nice finished edges, and this is where Ornament #1 got left last year. I'd like to try something festive like adding a thin bead of glue around the exposed edges and sprinkle it with glitter or something. Might add a little bling and camouflage where our edges just wouldn't glue perfectly together. This project will also work with 6 photos - three on top and three on the bottom, but it will have more of a diamond shape rather than a spherical shape. Whichever you prefer...

Let this completely dry, and wrap carefully for presentation to an admiring family member. And PS - if any of my family is reading this, sorry about the spoiler...

Not bad for a short evening's work!


  1. Terri7:02 PM

    Wow, you have been inspired by something lately! Is the weather cooler, is it the extra alone time? Great ideas Cindy!

  2. That is a GREAT idea! Now I really have to start thinking about Christmas since you keep bringing it up. Maybe I won't be surprised this year...

  3. Yeah, shorter days, cooler temps, more time to think - all conspire to get me focused on Christmas and the holiday season. I come from a long line of artsy-craftsy ladies, so it's in my blood. Glad you like the ideas!

  4. Anonymous7:29 AM

    Wow, I've forgotten about these. We, my mom, sister and brother, used to make these with Christmas cards a long time ago.


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