Friday, November 30, 2012

A Family Tradition: Christmas Ornaments

I can not remember a Christmas without making my own ornaments.  Linda and I used newspapers, egg cartons, toilet paper tubes or whatever else we can get our hands on.  We were green before green was green!

Although, I am not sure we could call ourselves truly green since we glittered things to pieces!  
The papers available now are just too much fun to not use. So go green if you wish but for this project make sure your paper is thick enough like card stock.   In the past we may have used pages out of old wallpaper books we collected from venders when the papers were discontinued.  I had a closet full of wallpaper books. My children were free to use them when they were being creative.

But I have to be honest. This is not one of my green projects.  I am using scrapbook paper for this project.


The basic design is an origami bell that I learned from my big sister Linda who learned it from her teacher in school so many years ago.  I have no idea how old we were but she had to help me make mine in the early years.

Now as an art teacher I have my students do this project every year in my high school art classes.  The project has been popular with my students for years. 

Start with a perfect square of any size.
For every fold reopen the paper.
Ready?  Here goes...

The easy way to remember the steps is to remember hot dog, hot dog, taco, taco, kite, kite, kite, kite!
These are not technical terms but my students understand them and I can hear them say it while they work.
"Hot dog, hot dog, taco, taco, kite, kite, kite, kite.."

    Hot Dog Fold
  • Hot Dog (Fold the paper in half creating a rectangle thus the hot dog bun.)
    • Open fold
    • Hot Dog (same as above)
    • Open fold.

    Taco Fold Upside Down
    • Taco (Fold the half from point to point making a big, that taco went upside down!)
    • Open fold.
    • Taco (same as above)
    • Open Fold

    • Turn paper over and work from the backside. 
    • Kite (Turn the paper to make a diamond shape.  Place a finger on the top corner to anchor in place.   With the other hand pull up one of the side corners and fold to the center of the paper, lining up the edge of the paper to the center fold.  Repeat on the opposite side to make a kite shape.  
    • Open folds.
    • Kite (Repeat folds as above on next corner)
    • Open folds
    • Kite (Repeat folds as above on next corner)
    • Open folds
    • Kite (Repeat folds as above.)
    • Open folds.
Octagon shape in the middle
If all folds have been made you will see an octagon shape in the middle.
Gentle pressure on the sides
Gentle press inward on the middle of each side so the sides begin to push inward.  At the same time as you begin to push upward with the four sides, press in the middle to make the middle of the bottom push outward.

Gentle shape the bottom of the bell, creating hills and valleys along the folds. 
Hot glue along point where all four sides come together.

 Okay, now go a step beyond and start some ornamentation to make it distinctly yours.
  • I hot glued rosettes to mine by cutting a circle then cutting it into a spiral.  I used various size circles. 
  •  Use a toothpick and start with the outside edge swirling it around the toothpick. Hot glue in place using the center of the swirl as a base.  
  • Cascade the rosettes downward and add leaves.  
  • For the leaves cut out a leaf shape, fold it down the middle for a central vein, then fold the reverse direction toward the top end of the leaf on each side to push the leaf downward.  
  • Add curly ribbons and you are finished.  


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  1. I love the addition of the roses! That really sets it off. It IS gorgeous! I love it!

    1. So who was that teacher who taught you this Origami project and how old would that have made us?
      Thank you about the roses...My students have been creative with their solutions. I will have to post their versions of the same projects. One girl made "angry birds" which was funny and another made a black ornament with silver diamond dust sprayed on it and a silver bow which looked eloquent.