DIY Glittery Christmas Tree Ornaments That Don’t Make A Mess!

I’m a huge Scrooge when it comes to glitter. Glitter is banned from my house. Yeah, even at Christmastime. All violators must eat fruitcake. Why? Because while glitter brings a festive spirit to a Christmas tree, it also puts the festive spirit in your hair, carpet, furniture, everywhere.

But now, I can put the festive spirit only where it belongs – on the Christmas tree! The solution? Glitter scrapbook paper. The glitter DOES NOT COME OFF. The glitter stays stuck on the paper, not on your hands! Yay! So, today I’ll show you how to make no-mess glittery Christmas tree ornaments.

DIY No Mess Glitter Ornaments

Project SUPPLIES

  • Glitter scrapbook paper
  • Flat ornaments
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Aleene’s Tacky Glue
  • Foam brush

OPTIONAL stenciling (DIY tutorial shared in part 2 of this post):

  • Stencil
  • Stencil brush
  • Paint

How to Find Glitter Scrapbook Paper

First, look for glittery scrapbook paper in craft stores like Michaels, JoAnn and Hobby Lobby. You can find single pieces of glitter paper, and you can buy books full of glitter paper. Most craft stores have aisles for scrapbooking supplies, and you will find these papers and books there. Here are some of my papers:

Glitter Scrapbook Paper Book

Glitter paper can cost a bit more. The regular price of single sheets at JoAnn and Michaels is $1.99, but you can buy scrapbook paper on sale or use a coupon. All craft stores will email coupons to you. And you can use iPhone and Android apps to pull up a coupon on your phone. So any time you want to buy, you should get 40 to 60% off. The price of books of papers is usually $19, but use a half off coupon or buy during a frequent half off sale, and for $9-10 you get a whole big pack of papers. Look at all the papers in this pack:

I’m sorry. I’m one of those people who forgets to hold the phone horizontal for videos!

Scrapbook paper makes affordable ornaments. You can make many ornaments with a single piece of paper:

One Scrapbook Paper Many Christmas Tree Ornaments

I used copper color glitter papers for today’s project, but glitter paper comes in many colors.

How to Find Ornaments with Flat Surfaces

You also need ornaments with flat surfaces, like the ones shown above. You can use paper mache, ceramic, wood or chipboard. You can buy these ornament shapes at Michaels, JoAnn and Hobby Lobby. Again, buy during their frequent sales and use coupons.

Also, search paper mache and unfinished wood Christmas ornaments on eBay and Etsy, under their craft supplies categories. I found there are a lot more choices of unfinished wood ornaments than paper mache.

HOW TO MakE the Ornaments

This is so super easy and fast!

Step 1. Paint the edge of your ornament with a color to match or contrast with the glitter paper color. I’m using copper papers today, so I painted the edges of my ornaments with metallic copper/bronze paint:

Painted Edges

Step 2. Trace an ornament on the scrapbook paper. If your paper has a pattern on it, you might want to center the ornament over the pattern. I usually draw cutting lines on the back of the paper.

Tracing Ornament on Paper

Cut Paper Shapes

Step 3. Cut the shape. Cut just barely inside your tracing line. Because your tracing lane will be slightly larger than your ornament.

Glitter Paper on Ornament

Step 4. With a foam brush, spread Aleene’s Tacky Glue over your ornament. You can use Mod Podge or other glues. I like how Aleene’s Tacky Glue is thicker and tackier, and less likely to wrinkle the paper.

Glue Paper

Glue Paper 2

Step 5. Smooth your paper onto the ornament. Press with your fingers from the inside out, to be sure all the paper adheres to the ornament. Pay extra attention to the edges. Sometimes you will need to press down on an edge for a few extra moments to be sure it adheres.

If any glue oozes out the sides, wipe it away with paper towel. Be careful to not get glue on the glitter paper, because it might make dull spots.

Glitter Christmas Tree Ornament

Now repeat the steps above to apply paper to the other side of the ornament. You can use the same paper, or a different paper, so you can flip the ornament around for a different look.

If any paper is sticking out beyond the edge of the ornament, you can cut it with scissors, or lay the ornament on a hard protected surface and slice the extra paper off with an Xacto knife.

TIP: WORK ASSEMBLY LINE STYLE FOR FAST DIY

Set up an assembly line so you do all the tracing, then all the cutting, then all the gluing, then all the paper-applying. You’ll make many ornaments, fast.

That’s it! You have made a no-mess glittery ornament!

No Mess Glitter Christmas Tree Ornaments

Now have fun decorating and enjoying the holidays, not cleaning up glitter!

OPTIONAL: ADD PAINTED STENCILS

The glittery ornaments are pretty just like this. The Christmas tree lights will bounce off of the ornaments, and make them sparkle. But if you want to add something more, how about painting stencils on the glitter paper? Come back for Part 2 of this tutorial, where I’ll show an optional step … adding stencil patterns with paint!

 

 

DIY Boho Chic Patchwork Lumbar Pillow

When I made DIY “Fortuny” fabric pillows a few months ago, I made many test samples. It was a CRAZY fun stenciling spree! I painted different color paints on different color fabrics to see what paint+fabric combo I liked best. All this testing resulted in faux Fortuny pillows that I LOVE. And I loved the crazy mix of all the test patterns! They all coordinate together:

Stenciling Spree Samples

They reminded me of Turkish overdyed patchwork rugs, like this one for sale at SukhiRugs Etsy store:

Turkish Overdyed Patchwork Rug from SukhiRugs Etsy Store

So, I sewed all the sample pieces together to make a long slim bolster pillow:

Patchwork Bolster Pillow

The pillow now lives in India! It’s surrounded by other patterns, like a beige and white silk saree that I sewed into bedroom curtains, and a Moroccan star stencil pattern that will be on the wall as a “headboard:”

India pied-a-terre Master Bedroom Patterns

So here’s how to make a pillow like this …

First, wait for a silly cat high on catnip to clear out of the staging and sewing area:

Catnip Hangover

Lay out your fabrics. You can use printed fabric, like quilting fabrics. Or you can paint your own patterns on fabric, with stencils. All of the designs on my fabrics are stencils from Royal Design Studio, and all paint colors are their Stencil Creme paints.

Cut fabric into rectangles. Mine were about 4″ by 8″. Lay them out in the order you want them:

 

Layout 2

You might want to pick the the most prominent visual piece of fabric as a “focal point.” In my layout, the darkest piece of fabric with the four-petal flower shape draws the eye and that’s my focal point. Put the focal point a little off-center or toward the edge, not smack in the middle.

Next, sew the pieces together along the horizontal seams like the stitching diagram shows here:

Horizontal Stitching Lines

Sew with a 3/8″ seam.

Now, you don’t want a final piece with jagged, uneven edges like this. So, cut off the pieces that are sticking out and sew them on so you get an even rectangular block of patchwork:

Rectangular Patchwork Layout

After you sew, press the seams open. I know it can be a pain to iron! But ironing flattens the seams and makes the final result look professional. There’s a saying that when you sew, you might spend more time with the iron than the sewing machine. This is sometimes true. It’s worth it. Don’t skip this step!

Ironing Seams Flat

After you press seams, sew the strips together vertically, as shown in the stitching lines below. Sew with 3/8″ seams. After you’re done sewing, iron the seams open.

Vertical Stitching Lines

Next is an optional step. It’s a small touch that adds visual interest. Because the Turkish patchwork rugs have visible decorative stitching, I sewed over the top of the seams with a decorative stitch. You can use a contrasting color thread if you want this stitching to show up even more.

Decorative Stitching

Next, sew up the sides and install either a zipper or a flap opening on the back. I installed a zipper.

Rectangular Bolster Pillow

Zipper

I wish I had a darker zipper, but I couldn’t find any that were long enough in stores, You can order zippers online in any length you want. But I didn’t have time. This pillow is for our apartment in India and we were leaving in a few days. The light zipper is really obvious but you won’t see the bottom of the pillow much. I can get OCD about things like this, and it bugs me so I might swap it some day! :)

After installing a zipper in the bottom of the pillow, I stitched up the sides and top, and added two long tassels found in the souks of Marrakech:

Finished Patchwork Pillow

It’s truly a global, nomadic decorating pillow:

  • Painted with patterns from around the world
  • Sewn in the style of a Turkish patchwork rug
  • Decorated with Moroccan tassels
  • Now lives in India with saree curtains and Chinese chest nightstands

Patchwork Pillow and Chinese Cabinet

Here it is in our apartment in India, a place which is still obviously a work in progress! I know this photo is underwhelming, to say the least, after all the build-up over the years on this blog about this apartment, But there’s water damage on the wall behind the bed now. There’s a rooftop on the other side of the wall, and during big monsoons, that area floods and soaks the wall. So that must be fixed before stenciling on the wall. But you get the idea of how it will some day look:

Patchwork Pillow

Finally, you know how there may be no more truly unique ideas in this world? You could get an idea you’ve never seen anywhere before, and at the same exact moment, someone else on the other side of the planet is doing the same thing. The day I intended to sew this pillow together, I opened email and found the latest products from CRAFT by World Market. And THERE was a patchwork long slim bolster pillow!

CRAFT by World Market Patchwork Pillow

So if you don’t want to sew this, see if you can buy it from global decor stores like World Market! This also shows a good fabric idea — you can use saree fabric remnants to sew a patchwork pillow.

 

DIY Project: Artwork with Thai Palm Leaf Script

Before the paper books that we know today, people in some Asian cultures wrote on thin strips of palm leaves. Then they strung the leaves together into long skinny books. They used wood planks as covers. This is what they look like:

pali-manuscript

You can find these palm leaf manuscript “books” in Myanmar, Thailand, India, Indonesia. You don’t have to travel to get them. You can sometimes find them on eBay. Just search “palm leaf manuscript” on eBay. There’s a wide range of prices. You may not want to disassemble a nice expensive antique, so look for cheaper ones.

We found a palm leaf book in Thailand. We didn’t pay a lot for ours. It was about US$30. That was back in 2001. We were told that Buddhist monks wrote on the palm leaves in Pali script, which is similar to Sanskrit from India. I have no idea what our book says, or how old it is. The palm leaves are hardy and can last hundreds of years, even in the steamy hot Thai climate. So it could be old.

I thought the long palm leaf strips could make a bold graphic statement. So I made big framed wall art for a nook area in our apartment in Chennai, India:

Palm Leaf Manuscript Wall Art

To make this, first, you need a background, I used wide, long canvas. I painted the canvas black. I wanted a lot of drama and a really dark background so the palm leaves would pop.

I thought the black background was too plain. So I stenciled over it with a lighter black paint to add a subtle pattern. I used the Majestic Medina Damask Wall Stencil and shimmery Black Frost Stencil Creme paint, both from Royal Design Studio.

Stenciling on Black Canvas

Here you see the Black Frost paint contrasts enough with the dark black paint in the background:

Black Paints

I first tested out how different stencil options would look:

Testing Different Stencil Looks

Sorry these photos are so grainy. I was working with 3 light bulbs in the whole place, at night! So these photos are brightened significantly so you can see.

After stenciling, I installed the palm leaves over the black background with metallic copper scrapbooking “brads.” Brads are tiny lightweight fasteners:

Installing Palm Leaves on Canvas

Each palm leaf had two holes that were used to string all the leaves together. I simply pushed the brads through those holes.

The original plan was to simply hang the canvas on the wall, using the original wood covers of the manuscript for the top and bottom (you can see these wood pieces in the photo above). But, it gets very dusty in our apartment in India. When we come back to the apartment after being away for a year, we must clean EVERYTHING. Like, we even must clean dust off the wire whisks in the kitchen drawers!! Yeah! Dust gets into the drawers and gets stuck on the thin wires! So that’s why our apartment will be minimally decorated (less stuff, less cleaning) and that’s why we framed this wall art behind glass.

We took the canvas to United Brothers on Bazullah Road in T Nagar, Chennai. Frame, matte non-reflective glass and labor cost US$60 total. (A bargain for those of us from the U.S. — this is a huge frame!) United Brothers has locations around Chennai. I tested different frames. I chose a very thin black frame instead of the wider gold frame. This is because I didn’t want a wide gold frame to visually “fight” with other elements in the niche area, like the palm leaves and the lantern’s shadows. I didn’t want the frame to be a focal point.

Frame Choices

The wall art makes a dramatic space in this little nook area:

Palm Leaf Manuscript Wall Art

Palm Leaf Manuscript Mounted and Framed

It’s visible from the entire foyer/living/dining/kitchen areas of the apartment because we have an American-style open floor plan in the apartment. What’s hiding under the counter and behind the drawers? Our clothes washing machine!

Practical and Pretty

It’s a great combo of practical and pretty.