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Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016 12:11 am

Ornamental style

The only thing better than making your own decorations is doing it with friends and family.

 

When she thinks about the Christmases of her childhood, Kate Guerrero doesn’t really remember the ornaments that glittered at department stores or the ones that matched tinsel with aesthetic seamlessness.

What she does remember is how, every year, her family would gather for a craft time around the holidays to make an ornament that symbolized the year.

“I remember the experiences we had together so much more than anything my parents ever purchased for me,” says Guerrero, who owns her own craft store, The Lemon Row, on Etsy. “Every year when we put up the family Christmas tree, each ornament had a special meaning.”

Her mom kept all the ornaments Guerrero and her siblings made, and when each of them moved out, they took their box of ornaments with them. The first Christmas after Guerrero and her husband were married, their tree was, of course, filled with her childhood ornaments.

Now a mother of two girls, ages 3 and 1, Guerrero, who lives in suburban Chicago, says her own daughters like playing with paint, dough and sensory materials more than any other toy.

“Making your own (ornaments) just adds to the meaning,” she says, adding that supplies can be purchased at hobby and craft stores. When you look at them, “you get to relive all the memories again.”

Idalia Farrajota, the senior vice president of merchandising and trend for Michaels craft stores, says “the best part about crafting ornaments is that there is no right or wrong way to create it. Rather, everyone’s ornament will be slightly different and unique, and that is what will make it special.”

These do-it-yourself ornaments are the ones that are hung year after year, that still go up on family trees after getting a little tattered and a little bent. They have stories to them.

There’s no reason to be intimidated by the prospect of making your own ornaments, Farrajota says.

“A simple craft project like making ornaments lets both kids and parents express their creativity. After all, anyone can do it!” she says. “Plus, these ornaments could become priceless treasures and valued as a family memory for years to come.”

And like Guerrero’s, they can move from house to house, from Christmas tree to Christmas tree.     

Guerrero, who specializes in crafting with clay, shared step-by-step instructions to making a gingerbread Christmas ornament.

Farrajota and her team at Michaels also shared how to make a snowman and snowflake ornament. Follow the easy instructions, and have fun making memories with your family!

Gingerbread man Christmas ornament
What you’ll need:

  • Parchment paper
  • Acrylic roller
  • Sculpey III Polymer Clay in white
  • Sculpey III Polymer Clay in tan or chocolate
  • Gingerbread cookie cutter
  • Eye hook
  • Twine or ribbon for hanging
  • Baby wipes

Before handling the clay, use a baby wipe to thoroughly clean your hands so that no dust or lint gets transferred to the clay. Unwrap the tan or chocolate clay and condition it (knead it) until it is smooth and easy to work with. Roll a sheet about ¼-inch thick on the parchment paper using the acrylic roller. Cut a gingerbread man shape.

Before handling the white clay for decoration, thoroughly clean your hands with baby wipes so that no color gets transferred to the white.

Condition some of the white clay and roll thin snakes and balls to decorate your gingerbread man, and press them lightly onto the base. Insert an eye hook into the top of the ornament for hanging.

Place the parchment paper with the gingerbread man on top on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly before handling; it will be slightly soft until completely cool. Use the twine or thread to create a loop for hanging.

Craft stick snowflake ornaments
Step 1: Paint four craft sticks (regular craft sticks, skill sticks or jumbo craft sticks), either white or pale blue. Paint both sides. Let dry.

Step 2: Using Creatology™ Craft Glue, glue two of the craft sticks together in the middle, creating a cross.

Step 3: Glue a craft stick diagonally across the middle, on top of the two crossed craft sticks.
Step 4: Glue the fourth craft stick in the opposite diagonal direction across the middle. Let dry.

Step 5: Brush glue onto the top of the snowflake and sprinkle glitter on top. Let dry.

Step 6: Glue clear acrylic gems onto the craft sticks to decorate the snowflake.

Step 7: Make a loop with a 3-inch piece of ribbon and glue to the top, back of the snowflake to make a hanger.  

Tip: Make a variety of snowflakes using the different types of craft sticks: jumbo, skill, mini and regular. Paint them white or pale blue and decorate using glitter and gems.

Pom pom snowman ornament
Step 1: Cut two different color green chenille stems to 4 inches and twist together.

Step 2: Using the cool temp glue gun, glue a green pom pom to the ends of the twisted chenille stems. Let the glue dry.  

Step 3: Shape the chenille stems in a slight curve. Adult: Using the glue gun, attach the pom poms to each side of the plastic ornament where ears would be.

Step 4: Glue wiggle eyes in place. Draw a triangle for the carrot nose using the orange Sharpie® marker and five dots for the mouth using the black Sharpie® marker.

Step 5: Pull the metal ornament top off and fill the inside of the plastic ornament with white pom poms. Reattach the ornament top by squeezing the ends and gently inserting it back into the neck of the ornament.

Step 6: Cut a chenille stem 3 inches long and twist it through the wire loop on the top of the plastic ornament. Bend the other end into a hook shape. 

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