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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

DIY Christmas Balls - Holy Innocents, Nativity, Epiphany - So many creative options!


I have admired those DIY fill-it-up clear plastic Christmas balls for a few years. But me being me, I like to add a bit of Catholic focus on all our Christmas crafts. So when we made these ball, we added a double sided picture of the Nativity or other religious picture to the inside!
Figuring out a way to add the image took a bit of testing and thinking, but I did figure out a way to do it.  We glued two images of the same size onto a popsicle stick. They were glued onto it back-to-back. When the glue is dry, gently fold the image and push it into the ball. After that, we unfolded the picture. Voila! Beautiful Christmas ornament fit for the season!
We had a lot of fun filling these balls and adding the religious pictures! The possibilities are endless!!

About the plastic balls:
For those who don't know about the clear plastic Christmas ball, they are very simple Christmas balls that are made with clear plastic. The top of the ball comes off and the ball can be filled with anything that your heart desires - well, it does need to fit into the small hole in the top! We bought our ornaments at the Dollar Tree - 2 for a dollar - like those pictured here. Ours are about 2.5 inches wide with a half inch opening at the top.   These ornaments come in many shapes and sizes. I have also seen them at Wal-mart, AC Moore, and Hobby Lobby. When buying your plastic balls make sure the opening is larger than a popsicle sticks widest side, otherwise the balls are not going to work.

About the images we used:
Many of the images we used were Nativity stickers. They worked very well. Some of the images were small pictures which we cut from old cards or mission mail. I also have a PFD which includes some images, as well as printable instructions - CLICK HERE. Of course, these may not fit in the Christmas balls you have since not all balls are the same size. Our balls are 2.5 inches in width. If your ornaments are smaller, you may need to cut off some part of the image so they will fit into smaller balls. If you have larger ornaments, then you will need to find some larger images for larger balls.

What did we put inside the ornaments?
Here is a list of items we added to the inside:
  • raffia (for hay) - cut-up in small 1 inch pieces (or smaller) 
  • small sprigs of fake evergreen branches
  • sequins in many shapes:
    - round
    - stars
    - snowflakes
     -hearts
  • fake snow dust
  • glitter in many colors: gold, silver, blue, red, etc.
  • sand
  • small stones
  • any other small item we found and liked
How did we make them?
After getting the plastic balls and finding images that fit the size of our balls, we dug through our craft boxes and pulled out anything that we thought might work or fit into the balls. (see list above).
Find a cup or lid that will hold your ball in place so it won't roll around as you fill it. Now begin to add your hay, snow, greens or any other crafty items you think look nice.  If you are adding tiny items like fake snow or glitter then you may want to use a funnel. If you don't have a funnel, then roll-up a piece of paper to form a funnel and staple it together. Now add your tiny items. Add only enough snow/hay/greens to cover the area below the picture. 

Now take a popsicle stick and place it down into the ball - straight up and down - make sure it is touching the bottom of the ball. Make a mark on the stick at the point where the popsicle stick extends out of the ball's opening. Now remove the stick and cut just below that mark with a knife or cutters. Cut out your images - make sure they are the same size.

Cover the back of one image with glue, then place the popsicle stick in the middle of the image. Be sure to leave enough room above the image so the stick can extend into the ball's neck. Now add glue to the second image and place it back-to-back on the first image - sandwiching the stick in between the two images.  Many of our images were stickers, which we stuck back-to-back on the popsicle stick. NOTE: We still added glue when using the stickers, because stickers will not stay stuck together if they are stored in a hot or humid area - such as an attic or a basement. Because we store our Christmas decorations in an attic, I wanted to be sure that these stay stuck together, so we could enjoy them for years to come.
Your image on the popsicle stick should look similar to the one pictured above. It should have an image on both sides.
Now gently and loosely fold the image so it can be slid into the ball. 

Once you have the image totally in the ball, try to fold the image open by flipping it around and gently pulling it back up the neck of the ball opposite the fold so it will stay open. You can also use another popsicle stick to flatten out the fold. When the image is opened, nestle the bottom end of the stick into your sand, hay, greens, etc. 

Now, put the top back on the bottle and hang it up!

Finished ornaments to inspire!

Here are a few of the ornaments which we created. This might help inspire you if you want to create these! The more we created them the more ideas we came up with! So not all our ornaments are pictured here. I'm sure you can find some adorable items to add in your Christmas balls with Baby Jesus!

In the ornament above, the image sits among little fake evergreen clippings, fake snow, tinsel clippings, glitter and a tiny fake candy cane. 

This sweet ornament is filled with fake snow and loads of multi colored glitter and sequins.

 This ball was in honor of the Feast of the Holy Innocents.
The image depicts the Flight into Egypt. The ball holds sand, small stones, a little silver glitter and small silver stars.

This ornament is filled with small strips of raffia - hay for the stable. It also has a little bit of silver and blue glitter, as well as, large blue star sequins. 

The above ornament is simple yet beautiful! It's filled with fake snow and blue glitter.  

This ornament was very difficult to get a picture of. It is only filled with fine textured glitter: silver and gold as well as a little bit of blue. It really is very pretty in real life, but the picture does not do it justice!

This is another snow filled ball.
It does have larger sequins which are not visible in the picture as well as silver glitter.

This adorable ball is filled with more fake snow, blue glitter and gold star sequins that are not very visible in the image.

Want to download this free printable?
This PDF includes printable instructions, as well as, two different sizes of images to help you get started on this activity.


What would you add to your Christmas ball ornaments!? If you have another idea, tell me about it in the comments below! I'd love to hear your thoughts!




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2 comments:

  1. Soooo beautiful Jennifer! I'll have to remember these and maybe try to make them someday. Thanks for sharing! Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tracy!
      Thank you and a blessed Christmas Season to you and your family!

      Delete

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