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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Thursday, November 29, 2012

New life for an old book

Oh, it is nearly Christmas again and that means Christmas projects!  Linda and I always spent our evenings after school and weekends making ornaments and doing projects related to Christmas.  I still think the best projects happen in December and the time leading up to Christmas.

One of my fond memories is making an angel in the garage out of my dad's old Popular Mechanics magazines.  After all, what good were they? They were just filled with not so pretty pictures and had lots and lots of writing.  He had stacks of them in the garage so Linda and I just helped ourselves to his magazines and started folding.

When we brought out the beautiful angel Daddy did ask what magazines we used and he did have a strange look on his face when we told but I never heard any complaint!

I guess, we were really cute back then!  I wonder if I could get away with that today?

This week I requested magazines from our school librarian for my art classes. She supplied me the magazines as requested and threw in some old books as well.   As soon as they fell into my hands the old folding memories resurfaced.  I had kids folding pages in minutes.  As I folded I let the book tell me what it wanted to be.  This book wanted to be an angel but we had many various Christmas trees using the same concept.  

The How-to:

(I started with an old book with yellowed pages and thicker paper with 200 pages.)

The Folded Page:

  • Each individual page has three folds: 
    • 1st: Top right corner to inside seam.   
    • 2nd fold: Folded edge of page to inside seam. 
    • 3rd.  Turn up triangle that hangs off the bottom.   
  • Next page: same as above until all pages are folded.

Sleeves and Wings:

  • Pull out pages where you think the arms should be.
  • Unfold page leaving only the first fold.
  •  Tuck tip of page into one of the pages in front of it to create a curved sleeve.several pages in front of it.
  • The hard cover and the fly page folded in serve as wings.

Head...Still re-purposing!

  • Wad up a plastic grocery bag into a ball  and place into another bag making it as round and smooth as you can.  
  • Cut a large circle out of an old white tee-shirt and cover the plastic ball with it stretching it tightly.
  • Hold fabric with a rubber band.  
  • Tape around rubber band and a little of the bag below the rubber band.   
  • Insert taped end into the gap made by the book binding.   

Scarf....oh, so easy and so cute!  

  • Sandwich a 6-8" square of that old tee-shirt fabric between two pieces of paper.  
  • Draw a circle about 4-6" or improvise and wing it and just cut the circle cutting through both papers and fabric. 
  •  Continue cutting in a spiral folding the edge of the circle about 1/2"-3/4" away from previously cut edge until you come to the middle.  Cut a tiny circle out of the middle and discard.  
  • Take an end in each hand and stretch fabric.  
  • It will twist and spiral downward.  
  • Wrap around neck letting spirals of scarf cascade downward.  Hot glue in place. 

Spray Glitter:  NOT re-purposing but oh, so nice!

I purchased spray glitter in the craft section of Walmart.  I used silver Glitter Blast.
Spray the entire angel including head and scarf.

Add halo using a length of wired ribbon about 6-8" long depending on head size.

I'm having so much fun!  
Can't wait until tomorrow so I can do more fun stuff!

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