So says Sarah…

Handmade Christmas ornaments

Posted in About Me, Art Activities for Kids, Life with Child by Sarah Lipoff on 12/16/2010

© Sarah Lipoff

In anticipation of getting our first Christmas-tree-with-child, I totally admit to having some concern that the tree will just be a glowing full-of-lights tree devoid of any ornaments. We have some lovely ornaments from my husband’s side of the family and I would hate for this to be the year that they are no longer family heirlooms.

So, I got to thinking and remembered a crafty project I’d done with students in the past. It’s simple, easily accomplished at any age, and you can make lots and lots of them!

Squishy shiny balls of fun – which would make PERFECT unbreakable Christmas tree ornaments!

You probably have what you need around the house, and you can get the kids to create an assembly line if you are wanting to make a gazillion of them. Just make sure to cover your work table – this project gets messy! I made a couple with my daughter and gave them a test-run on a tree outside to see how the wee tot would treat them. She spent a good amount of time ooooohing and aaaaahhhhing while looking at their glittery coolness!

Stuff you need:
Mod Podge (or plain ol’ white glue)
Brushes
Tissue paper
Glitter
Balloons
Tinfoil
Scissors
Large craft needle
Fishing line

Start by blowing up the balloons until each is about 3 to 4-inches in diameter. To help the balloon from slip-sliding away, you can form a little nest out of tinfoil to keep it steady.

Go ahead and invite your kids to tear several sheet of tissue paper into bits about 1-inch in size. You can use one color of tissue paper or mix and match. Tearing encourages your child’s fine motor skills, which is great for developing all those small muscles in her hands!

Your kids can coat the balloon with glue and then layer on the tissue paper! If you’re using Mod Podge, this stuff is awesome – but a bit smelly. If you can, work in a ventilated area, or open up a window and let the fresh air flow. This is also the super-messy part, and if you’re working with colored tissue paper, your fingers – and clothes, may get a bit colorful as well!

Keep gluing and layering tissue paper until the entire balloon is covered except for the upper tippy-top where it’s tied. Now give each a quick sprinkle with glitter and let dry overnight.

The next day, cut the top of the balloon with a scissors and watch as it shrinks up the shell of tissue paper. You can gently pull out the balloon and then poke and squish the shiny tissue paper shell back into a round form.

Take that big craft needle (or a push-pin would do) and make a hole on either side of the top opening of your shiny and glittery ornament. You can thread with fishing line, tie, and then hang!

These are great to put on the tree or let your youngsters play with! What’s great is they wont break! They may get all squished up, but you wont have any broken bits of cherished ornaments to clean up….

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