Tinsel Trading Ornaments
Make good use of all those pretty ribbons and notions you've saved to make exquisite holiday ornaments.
Inspired by those made by Monica LaHue, the mother of stylist Andrea LaHue, these Christmas balls are covered with green silk taffeta and adorned with metallic ribbon, cording, and a festive tassel.
- Petal template
- 3- and 4-inch Styrofoam balls
- Thin cardboard
- Craft scissors or utility knife
- Tape measure
- French curve drafting tool
- Tailor's chalk
- Fabric scissors
- 1-inch sewing pins, for fabric
- Assorted metallic ribbons, cording, trimming, thread, and notions like sequins and buttons
- 3/4-inch sewing pins, for ribbons
- Transparent tape
- 1 1/2- to 2-inch decorative glass- or pearl-headed pins or hat pins
Print the petal templates for 3- and 4-inch Styrofoam balls. Trace their pattern on cardboard, and cut out the shapes with scissors or a utility knife. To make your own template, measure the circumference of the ball with a tape measure. To determine the template's width, divide the measurement by 6, and add 1/2 inch. For the length, divide the circumference by 2, and subtract 1/2-inch. Then use a French-curve drafting tool to draw the arc of the petals.
Position the template on the bias of the fabric. The bias is a line diagonal to the grain of the fabric (a 45-degree angle to the selvage). You can save cutting time by folding the fabric back on itself 6 times, so you can cut all the petals at once. Trace the template with tailor's chalk, and cut out petals with fabric scissors.
Using a 1-inch sewing pin, pin the tip of the first petal to the "top" of the ball. (Don't push the pin all the way into the ball, since you might need to remove it to adjust the fabric.) Pull the fabric down, and secure the other tip to the bottom with another pin. Pull and stretch the fabric so it lays smoothly against the ball. Apply the second petal directly opposite the first using the same technique. Continue until all 6 petals are in place. (Don't worry if the petals do not fit perfectly from point to point; if too short or narrow, try to stretch it slightly more to fit, and if too long or wide, trim fabric as necessary. Cover any gaps with trim.) Make sure the petals are evenly spaced. When you are satisfied with the coverage, push in all the pins. Trim away overlapping fabric between the sections.
Cover the seams using narrow decorative ribbon and trims, measuring between 1/4-inch and 1/2-inch wide. Hold one end of the ribbon in place with your finger at the top of the ball, wrap the trim around the ball's circumference, overlap the 2 ends, and secure with a 3/4-inch pin. Make sure the seam is covered, and push in pins to secure. Repeat process to cover all the seams. Add complementary trimming, cording, or threads using the same method. If a cord is too narrow to stick a pin through, attach a small piece of transparent tape to each end, and push the pin through the tape.
Cover the pin heads on the top of the ball with sequins or buttons, also pinned in place. Thread the tassel to the bottom of the ornament. Make a ribbon loop, and attach it to the top of the ornament using a decorative pin.