Instructions from Bay Seniors and co-op student Mellisa Larson
This is an activity that requires adult supervision for children under age 10 to 12 because it requires using pins or a hot glue gun.
What you’ll need:
A styrofoam ball, available from craft stores. Good ornament sizes range from about 2 inches to 4 inches in diameter. Smaller than that, and they’re hard to work with; larger than that, and they take too many beads and may be too large for most trees.
Plastic, metal, glass or faux pearl beads from necklaces or bracelets.
Ribbon to make a loop to hang the ornament. Extra ribbon if you want to use it to section the ornament (see photos).
Sequin pins or glass-headed pins or hot glue gun. Craft glue doesn’t work well with some bead types, and if you want to use the ornament over many years, pins work best.
Craft sequins. These fill in spots, add sparkle, and help create a nice pattern.
A plate or tray to hold beads so they don’t roll away.
How to make the ornament:
1. First, and most important, make sure whoever owns the jewellery gave you permission to use it for an ornament!
2. Strings of beads, either colourful or shiny, make great ornaments. Faux pearls are very pretty, too, but are often individually tied, which is the traditional stringing method with cultured and natural pearls, too. So it can take a long time to pull those necklaces apart.
3. Round beads work best, though irregular shapes can be fun, too. They’re just harder to place uniformly on the foam ball.
4. See how many beads you have and design your pattern based on that. For example, if you have crystals from a bracelet, you may want to space those out around the ornament, or have one even ring of crystals around the top, bottom or centre of the ornament. The good thing about using pins rather than hot glue is that you can move things around!
5. Decide whether you want to go around the foam ball once with the ribbon, or several times. If once, cut enough of one piece of ribbon to go around the ball from bottom to top, allowing an extra 4 inches to fold over to make a loop (see photo). Pin ribbon in place at bottom centre of ornament and then at top, folding over the hanging loop first.
6. If you want to add more ribbon, put another length of ribbon just around the ball (see photo). Depending on the size of the foam ball and the width of the ribbon, you may want one, two or three lengths of ribbon. You will only need one length to be long enough to form the loop.
7. Start to fill in the empty spots between the ribbon. You can have an orderly pattern, a free-form abstract pattern, or something in-between. It’s your choice!
8. Place your beads from the jewellery first. If using pins, push the pin through the hole in the bead until the head of the pin is stopped by the size of the bead opening.
9. Place your sequins next to fill in any other spots.
10. You have an ornament! Handle costume-jewellery ornaments carefully, preferably storing them in their own container (a yogurt or sour cream container works well) when they are not on display.
Fun tip: Consider asking a friend or family member for old costume jewellery they no longer wear, including the story or a photo of when they did wear the jewellery. Ensure they know the jewellery will be used in a craft activity! Make an ornament out of the costume jewellery, and give the ornament to them as a gift, with the story and/or photo included in a card you’ve made and decorated yourself.