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Create the look of a vintage Christmas ornament with a few simple materials. Easy enough for children to make. Elegant enough to hang on the parlor tree.

Vintage Christmas ornament craft photo
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Vintage Christmas Ornament image)
This vintage Christmas ornament has all of the proper Victorian ingredients: a romantic illustration, glitter highlights, and tinsel fringe. But, while Victorian families probably went blind hand-coloring and gluing on strands of pressed tin, you can make these reproductions in a twinkle.

The secret ingredients are foamcore board and tinsel garland. With a large piece of foamcore board and a single garland, you can literally turn out dozens of these for your Christmas tree, windows, and package decorations.

The other trick to these ornaments is printing two mirror-image vintage illustrations for the front and back. We give them to you, ready to be printed, but if you start making your own designs, start with two identical copies of your image and "flip" one of them with your graphics program.

Materials for Vintage Christmas Ornament

  • Vintage Christmas ornament suppliesVintage images (FREE PDF download).
  • Matte photo paper, heavyweight.
  • Foamcore board, 3/16" thick, about 4" square per ornament (see Tips).
  • Tinsel garland, 2" thick. We used gold garland, but any coordinated color will work (see Tips).
  • Ribbon or fabric cord, 3/16" wide or less.
  • Straight pin.
  • Glitter glue. We used gold to highlight the angel's glowing star.
  • Craft glue.
  • Scissors.
  • Craft knife (for cutting foamcore board) (see Tips).
  • Self-healing cutting mat.

Instructions

  1. Vintage Christmas ornament craft, step 1Cut a 3" diameter circle from foamcore board, using a craft knife. Cut a 12" length of ribbon. Form the ribbon into a loop with the ends overlapped. Push the straight pin through the overlapped end. Dip the pin in glue and push it into the edge of the foamcore circle. This is now the hanger at the top of your ornament.

  2. Vintage Christmas ornament craft, step 2Print the two vintage images on matte photo paper. Trim them carefully with small scissors. Glue the foamcore circle in the center of the back of one image, with the ribbon hanger at the top of the image. Apply glue to the foamcore circle, position the other trimmed image exactly over the reversed image and press until the glue is dry (see Tips).
  3. Use gold or silver glitter glue (or craft glue and sprinkle-on glitter) to decorate the image. We applied gold glitter glue just on the angel's star. Let this dry completely.
  4. Cut a 9.5" length of tinsel garland (see Tips). Apply craft glue to the edge of the foamcore circle between the paper cutouts. Starting at one side of the ribbon hanger at the top of the ornament, push the tinsel garland between the paper cutouts into the glue on the foamcore disk, circling the foamcore, ending at the top. Let the glue dry.
  5. Fluff up the tinsel garland and you are ready to hang your vintage Christmas ornament. Make some more identical ornaments, purchase other images, or rummage through your collection of vintage images and whip up a batch of instant antiques (see Tips)!

Tips

  • Foamcore board, or foam board, is a material constructed of an inner layer of polystyrene foam sandwiched between two layers of heavy paper. We used black (black paper on black foam) but this project will work as well with any color. If you can't find foamcore, you can use two layers of corrugated cardboard or those foam meat trays from the grocery store.
  • When cutting foamcore board, don't use scissors because they will crush the edge as you cut. Use a long-blade craft knife or a micro-saw.
  • At Christmas, it is possible to find tinsel garland in gold, silver, white, green and all sorts of colors. We used some rather wispy gold garland from the Dollar Store.
  • Cutting the right length of tinsel garland is simple. Remember how to find the measurement of the circumference of a circle by multiplying its diameter by the value of pi? For a 3" diameter circle of foamcore, the circumference is 3" X 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510 which is about 9.5".
  • When looking for other vintage images for for Vintage Christmas ornament, here are the qualities you want:
    • well-defined shapes are the best, like circles or other geometrics.
    • avoid images with words, because when the image is flipped on the back of the ornament, the words will be reversed as well.
    • if you find an irregular shaped picture you like, trim it with the background into a circle or oval, or cut out the figure and glue it to a geometric shaped background paper. Remember, you can resize any image.
We have a Halloween version of this design, so you can plan ahead. For more Christmas cheer, take a look at our Christmas Chenille Dolls
and Christmas Napkin Rings.


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