If you follow lots of blogs, you’ve probably been reading about The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. A&C also participated in a Christmas ornament version of the swap as well, called the Merry Mail Ornament Exchange. It’s a great concept: bloggers apply and get matched into groups of 4 people. You make 3 ornaments and send one to each of the other people in your group, and you also receive 3 handmade ornaments in turn. It’s a fun way to freshen up your Christmas tree and make some new friends!
We auditioned a few different ornaments to determine which ones we liked enough to send to our blogger buddies. These star ornaments were something we’d never really seen before and we were really excited to share them with everyone that we knew! They aren’t exactly easy to make, but you end up with a really beautiful ornament. And we loved that we could customize the colors so that everyone got something just a little bit different.
A special thanks to Alyssa’s dad, Jim, for his help in making our concept come to life! You’ve seen him help out with power tools elsewhere around the blog, and he also helped act as an engineer for this project.
To make the template:
The template is the most difficult part of the project. You’ll need a piece of paper and pencil, a piece of wood (read instructions for more specific information about the wood), tape, a small piece of colored tape (painter’s tape or washi tape would work), 6 nails, and a drill.
1. Draw the star outline that you want to replicate in your ornament on a piece of paper. Make sure it’s the appropriate size for your tree, but ours was about 4 inches tall.
2. Find a piece of wood that’s large enough to fit the outline and tall enough that you can drill small holes for nails to fit into without going all the way through the wood. Tape the paper to the wood.
3. Select a drill bit that’s the same size as your nails. You want to be able to pull the nails in and out of the wood with some effort. They still need to be pretty firmly anchored in the wood.
4. Tape off your drill bit so that the bottom of the tape signals when you want to stop drilling. You don’t want the holes to go all the way through the wood.
5. Drill into each of the 5 points of the star. Drill a 6th hole slightly off to the side. This will anchor your wire when you start actually making the ornaments.
6. Insert nails into each hole.
You’ll need: 2-3 pieces of fairly soft colored wire (the kind you buy in the jewelry-making section of the craft store is best). We used different combinations of 20-30 gauge wires. Each piece needs to be about 9 feet long. Also, you’ll need wire cutters and possible needle-nosed pliers.
1. Line the pieces of wire up and create one bundle with them.
2. Anchor one end to the template by wrapping it around that 6th hole, the one that isn’t actually part of the star.
3. Begin drawing a star pattern with the wire, hooking it around each point of the star. Keep the wire fairly taut, but you don’t necessarily want to create sharp angles at each nail. The looser your wire, the softer the star will look.
4. Repeat until you have about 2 feet of wire left. We wrapped ours about 5 times, but yours will vary based on the size of the star that you drew for the template.
5. Now you’re going to wrap the remaining wire around the inside angles of the star. This will keep it from unravelling when pull it off the template. You’re basically wrapping up all of the wire into a neat package. Thread the wire under the star and back over the top, making loops that connect each of the inside angles. Continue until you have about 4 inches of wire left.
6. Wrap the end around the last point of the star once to hold the shape. Use the remaining wire from the to create a small loop. This is where you can attach an ornament hook or string a pretty piece of ribbon to hang it on the tree. Pull the nails out of the template and remove the star.
7. Wrap the anchor end of the wire around a point on the star where it won’t be noticeable. Trim any loose edge with the wire cutters.
8. You can use any extra wire pieces to create a coordinating wire hook, if you’d like!
We played around with some fun color combinations. This wire is available in a wide variety of colors in the jewelry-making section of almost any craft store.
The other members of our Merry Mail group included Jamie from Sincerely, Moi. She has a cute etsy shop and sent us sparkly rhinestone mason jar lid ornaments. Jess from Foreign Room send a painted birch round ornament (glad to see we’re not the only ones obsessed with birch rounds!) Thanks, ladies, for your lovely ornaments!