With a couple of twists and turns, inexpensive pipe cleaners and chenille sticks can be transformed into whimsical holiday embellishments, perfect for adorning packages or your Christmas tree. Martha constructs a candy cane and a tiny evergreen wreath; the flexible sticks can also be formed into a variety of other shapes, such as a snowflake, stocking, or reindeer.
Tools and Materials
Pipe cleaners or chenille sticks (contrasting colors)
Red felt marker
Hot-glue gun and hot glue
1/4 inch ribbon
Sequins and beads
Candy Cane Ornament How-To
1. Twist together two 6-inch lengths of pipe cleaner or chenille stick in contrasting colors (such as red and white or green and white). Twist uniformly to make neatly spaced stripes. Bend the top into a hook.
2. Loop a trio of tiny bells onto a small piece of pipe cleaner, and twist onto midpoint of candy cane.
Wreath Ornament How-To
1. Cut a piece of cardboard into a circle 3 inches in diameter. Cut a 1 1/2-inch-diameter circle out of its center.
2. Wrap the cardboard circle tightly with 6 mm green chenille sticks; you'll need about four 12-inch-long sticks to cover the form. Tuck the ends into wrapped chenille.
3. To add a tiny candle, cut a 1 1/2-inch piece of white pipe cleaner, and color one end with a red felt marker for a "flame." With hot glue, attach the candle to the wreath. Tie 1/4-inch-thick ribbon into a bow, and glue onto wreath, below the candle. Embellish wreath with sequins and beads as you wish.
Snowflake Ornament How-To
1. Twist three 6-inch-long pipe cleaners together at midpoint to create a 6-pointed star.
2. To add branches: Starting at the center of each spoke, twist on two 2 1/2-inch-long sticks; tighten by clamping down on twist point with round-nose pliers. Moving toward the spokes' tips, follow with a 2-inch stick, then a 1 1/2-inch stick. Space evenly.
Reindeer Ornament How-To
1. Start with the head. Make a cloverleaf of loops at one end of a 6-inch-long (standard length) pipe cleaner. Bend that stick at the 3 1/2-inch point to make a neck; the other half will be the back.
2. Join another stick to the back with a twist. Position head over juncture of two sticks. Fold two 6-inch sticks in half, and twist around torso for legs; tightly wind the remaining loose stick end up the neck. Curl another stick around a pencil, then wind the coil onto the body.
3. For antlers, twist a 2 1/2-inch stick onto neck behind the ears; add shorter lengths for antler points. Turn up the tail, bend up the feet, and play with the knees until he can stand. Glue on a red-bead nose.
Stocking Ornament How-To
1. Use the stocking template to create a cardboard stocking from. Cut out, and apply two strips of double-sided tape to the back.
2. Beginning about 5/8 inch from the top, wrap the form from cuff line to toe with 6-inch sticks of red terry chenille. You'll need approximately 12 sticks to cover the form; tuck in the end.
3. For the cuff, work from the bottom up, wrapping form with standard white pipe cleaners; curl up the end of the last piece to make a loop. Wrap a 6-inch length of silver tinsel around bottom of cuff, and hot-glue ends together. Glue other ornaments to top of stocking-colored beads, tiny bells, and a candy cane.
Silver tinsel, pipe cleaners, and chenille sticks are all available at arts-and-crafts stores.