Does your tree need some new bling? Feeling bit crafty…but not THAT crafty? Cool, then I have a project for you! You’ll need some plain glass ball ornaments, crafting plastic, scissors, double stick tape and photos.
I got my supplies all over the place: plain ornaments can be found at any craft store before Christmas and the plastic sheets are from a scrapbook store. My stuff came from Michael’s and Archiver’s.
Let me tell you a story first. I spotted the photo ornaments on an Archiver’s email blast. It’s looked easy, so I grabbed my supplies and got to work. The first attempt…was not so good.
Here’s the basic idea: You cut a circle of plastic just smaller than the inside of the ornament, mount a photo or sticker on it, roll it up tight and jam it in the globe. Easy peasy, right?
The Trick to Floating Glass Ornaments
Riiiiight. Obviously I was missing something, so I went back to the ‘net and found the trick. If you just cut a circle of plastic and put it in an ornament, it rolls and floats all over place. Want to know the trick?
Ta da! You have to put a tab on the top of the plastic to keep the photo upright!
I also figured out that a peanut butter lid is about the right size for a 3 inch globe, so there’s really no need for fancy equipment–just find a lid the right size and a pair of good scissors. Keep the plastic clean and it totally disappears in the ornament–so do worry if your circle isn’t exactly perfect.
1) Photo ornament
For the first style, you’ll need a photo that can be cut into a 3-inch circle. Use the peanut butter lid I mentioned above (or something fancier) to mark your circle. Cut a circle from the plastic sheet and stick it to the back with double stick tape.
If you want, add snow! I sprinkled a little salt into the bottom of our snow photo (above) for a 3D effect.
2) Floating photo ornament
Same as above, but cut the photo a little smaller than the plastic. It will look like it’s floating when you’re done!
Here’s a few more tips:
- Roll the photo around a pencil to get it small enough. You’ll see what I mean when you try it!
- Use double stick tape to mount the photo. You don’t need to cover the whole picture, just enough to get it to stick to the center of the plastic. Glue doesn’t work well for this project.
- You can make the ornament two sided by using two photos, but it’s harder to roll up and quite frankly, how often do you look at the back of an ornament?
- Feel the need to practice first? Cut a trial circle from plain paper and try it out. The thinner the paper, the easier it is to fish out with tweezers or a bamboo skewer. The only way to remove a photo from the glass ornament is to BREAK the ornament. (Yes, I did that too.)
- Do you really need the plastic? YES! Without a plastic layer the photo won’t uncurl and you’ll be stuck with a curved photo in the ball. Maybe that’s ok, but it certainly lacks a little magic.
You also don’t need to limit your decorations to photos. You can use images of your favorite game characters or stickers. This one is using Om Nom from Cut the Rope. We used the printable from this paper craft and only cut out Om Nom. Since he likes candy, we put a few peppermint stickers on with him. The plastic really makes it look like his candy is floating, don’t you think?
The kids could also make a drawing that you put inside the ornament!
4) Foamy or Glitter Stickers
We used a sparkly foamy Christmas tree sticker for this one. There’s two stickers in there, so it looks good on both sides. We poured salt into the bottom to look like snow. I’ve seen people use sugar, but my husband spazzed at the thought of storing unsealed sugar in the basement when the ornaments are packed away…he has point. No one wants to open up their ornaments and find…critters.
5) Little Trees
This one is using a fake tree from a Christmas village and salt for the snow. I got the directions from Pinterest…there’s a good video from The Crafty Blog Stalker to show you how to do it. You’ll want to cut off the bottom of a tiny fake tree and crush the bristles a bit to make sure it will fit. My dog helpfully suggested we get the tree wet first–he tried to chew up one of these trees. He was right–if you rinse the tree it softens the gluey paint they use for snow. I suggest using the sink, not your dog.
The tricky part is squirting hot glue into the bottom of the ornament and sticking the tree in using tweezers. Hold the tree with the tweezers long enough for the glue to harden. Salt provides the snowy ground and covers the glue.