One of my favorite past times around the holidays is crafting. From making Christmas cards to gingerbread cookies, there’s no shortage of creativity during this time of year. One tradition I love the most is decorating styrofoam with sequins and beads (it’s a lot more fun than it sounds, I promise). It was a tradition my grandmother and I used to do that started with cone-shaped styrofoam to look like decorated Christmas trees. On this particularly broke Christmas season, I had the genius idea to turn this beloved tradition into ornaments that I could easily gift my friends. And now, I’m passing the idea on to you!
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This particular ornament is very easy to make, but much like putting a puzzle together, can be time consuming. The sequin and bead pairing give this ornament an almost vintage look, which makes it look that much more unique. You know the person you’re gifting this to will love the time and love spent making such a timeless ornament. Gift this to your parents for the family tree or your bestie so he/she can add it to their growing tree!
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- Ribbon (red, thin ribbon pictured, although any size/color is fine)
- Styrofoam balls (medium sized pictured, although you can do larger or smaller if desired)
- Sequins in assorted sizes and colors (500+ count)
- Clear, very small beads (500+ count)
- Beads in assorted sizes and colors
- Pins (500 count)
1. Take the ribbon and cut about 6 inches or so. This will be where you hang the ornament. If you prefer a lower-hanging ornament, make the ribbon longer. Tie the two ends together into a knot so it forms a small loop. Place two, bare pins to stick in place on top of your styrofoam ball. Make it look pretty by taking a pin, putting a small bead through the sharp part and sits right below the head of the needle (so the sequin doesn’t fall through). Then, put a large sequin through the point and let it sit under the bead.
(Note: if you want a very antique looking ornament, feel free to stack a ton of unique beads throughout. This may cost more and take more time, but placing old, large or interesting beads under the tiny bead and over the sequin makes it look like a faberge egg. This looked great on those trees I mentioned above!)
2. Take the entire pin and stick it through the styrofoam ball. Feel free to cut the extra ribbon along the ornament, although I kept mine (it kinda looks like a bow).
3. Figure out what kind of design you want. If you’re doing stripes or some kind of pattern, it doesn’t matter where you start. If you’re trying to create an image, like a snowflake or Christmas tree, you need to start with the background colors first.
4. Once you’ve decided your design, start with the background. Start by taking a pin and putting a clear bead through the point (as pictured above). Then, choose your color/size of choice for the sequin you place under the bead. It’s best to use large sequins to fill up the “background space” around your ornament. Make sure the sequins are touching and try your best to fill up all space so that no styrofoam is showing. Of course, leave a relatively medium to large size space of blank styrofoam so that you can design your image later.
5. Naturally, with circular sequins, they won’t be able to touch without leaving some open parts of styrofoam showing. Take a pin with a bead through it and use a small sequin to fill up that remaining space. The look will be slightly stacked sequins of different sizes creating a colorful collage. I used different color, smaller sequins to create a bit of depth and a variety of color in the background for this particular ornament.
6. Once you’ve covered the majority of your ornament with large sequins, it’s time to do your image! (My blue ornament had a snowflake design, whereas the one pictured below had a white background with a Christmas tree). Start by using small sequins and outline your image (you can also outline with a sharpie, although this will cut into your styrofoam ball a little bit).
With my Christmas tree, I used small green beads instead of clear ones to add an extra pop of color. Once you’ve outlined your image with little sequins, fill in as necessary. I used larger, green sequins to fill in the space and small red sequins to look like ornaments on the tree (ornaments on an ornament! Inception!). Don’t forget to cover all of the styrofoam!
7. You’re finished! Your image may take a long time or short, depending on how detailed it is. My Christmas Tree ornament took about two hours or so. Smaller styrofoam balls will take less time, but they also provide less space for a detailed image. If you want to do a striped or Chevron pattern, a small styrofoam ball would be perfect!