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Holiday Shoebox: Shrink Plastic and Scanned Ornaments, Leftover Ornament Tree

Ornaments are sentimental, and it's hard to throw away ornaments you don't use anymore. You can still make great use of old ornaments by following the tips below. Also find out how to make your own shrink plastic ornaments.

It was a very full Shoebox today, with more grand holiday ideas from you. First up was a lovely letter from Margaret Donnelly of San Jose, Calif., who sent in some very creative ornaments featuring photographs of her grandchildren. But that wasn’t all Margaret sent to us. She also included complete directions on how to make them. With thanks to Margaret, see below for the directions exactly as she wrote them to us.

Clever is certainly the word to use when describing the ornaments that Julie Forderer of Wells, Minn., made for her son when he was overseas. Being somewhat hesitant to send breakables with a tree, etc., but still wanting to send a touch of home, Julie gathered up a bunch of the favorite family ornaments and put them one at a time on her scanner. She printed out both sides of each ornament onto heavy card stock and then cut them out and glued them together back to back, so she had a "complete" ornament. With the addition of narrow ribbon hanging loops, they were ready for the tree. She also included tinsel and pine-scented potpourri. Perfect!

When it comes time to start the tree decorating, there is a good chance that many of you run into the same problems that Elaine Rys, of Head Park, Ill., experienced. Elaine had collected a great number of ornaments over the years, many of which she no longer used but couldn’t bear to throw away. Until this year... No, she didn’t finally throw them away, she solved the problem by purchasing a cone-shaped topiary tree, planted it in a flower pot along with some heavy stones to weigh it down, and then working from the top down, started hot-gluing the ornaments to the cone. Elaine says that it’s best to just dive right in without a plan to encumber the creative process. She filled in any small spaces with small wooden beads recycled from an old garland or pieces of greenery recycled from floral picks. She covered the top of the base with pine-scented potpourri and a few small gift boxes. From the photograph she included, it made a very colorful and very pretty holiday decoration.

Round Shrink Plastic Ornament

Projects by Margaret Donnelly.

Materials and Tools:

translucent shrink plastic
pencil
circle templates
scissors
craft knife
3/8" hole punch
alphabet rubber stamps
permanent stamping ink: black, port red, leaf green
heat tool or toaster oven
acrylic calligraphy ink: pearlescent white
acrylic paint: red, green
assorted paint brushes, small liner brush
toothpick
photographs: color copies or printed off the computer
self-adhesive laminating plastic (optional)
glue
needle tool (optional)
jump rings
acrylic spray finish (optional)
decorative cording

Steps:

Note: You do not have to sand the shrink plastic for this project.

1. Using a pencil, trace a 4-1/2-inch circle onto shrink plastic. Trace a smaller circle in the center of the 4-1/2-inch circle. Mark two matching spots 1/8 inch above and below the line of the inner circle, both on the top and on the bottom of the circle; these will be the punched areas to attach the circle together. Also mark a spot 1/8 inch from the top of the larger circle. This will be used to hang the ornament.

2. Cut out the smaller circle with a craft knife; then trim about 1/16 inch of the circle with scissors to ensure the smaller circle will fit into the larger later. Cut the 4-1/2-inch circle out with either a craft knife or scissors.

3. Punch all the marked holes with a 3/8-inch hole punch.

4. Stamp the baby’s name in black permanent ink across the top of the larger circle. Stamp "Christmas" and the year along the bottom edge, alternating between red and green inks. Stamp additional motifs, if desired. You can stamp both sides of the larger circle or leave the back blank. Leave the smaller circle blank.

5. Shrink both pieces using a heat gun or toaster oven.

6. Trace the smaller circle onto two identical photographs of the baby. Laminate the photos, if desired (I recommend this for photos printed using an inkjet printer). Cut the photos around 1/8 inch smaller than the traced circles. Glue the photos to both sides of the circle. Use a needle tool to punch through the photos if the photos are covering the punched holes on the circle.

7. Using the red and green acrylic paint and a toothpick, decorate the edge around one photo with alternating red and green dots. Let dry and repeat on other side.

8. Using a small paintbrush, lightly paint one side of the larger circle with the pearlescent white. Let dry. Paint decorative motifs using acrylic paints and a small liner brush. Let dry and complete the reverse side. Finish, if desired, with several light coats of gloss or matte acrylic spray finish.

9. Attach the smaller circle inside in the larger using jump rings and pliers. Attach a jump ring to the top hole and string decorative cording through the jump ring.

Oblong Shrink Plastic Ornament

Materials and Tools:

translucent shrink plastic
600-grit sandpaper
Holly Berry House ornament rubber stamp
black permanent stamp ink
black fine-point permanent marker
craft knife
scissors
3/8" hole punch
1/4" hole punch
artist-grade waxy colored pencils
alphabet rubber stamps
heat gun or toaster oven
photographs: color copies or printed off the computer
self-adhesive laminating plastic (optional)
needle tool (optional)
glue
acrylic spray finish (optional)
jump rings
decorative cording

Steps:

1. Sand the shrink plastic using the 600-grit sandpaper, first across the plastic and then down. Wipe with a cloth to remove any dust.

2. Stamp the shrink plastic using the black permanent ink. Let dry. Turn the stamped plastic over and trace the image using the black marker. You will be able to see the lines through the shrink plastic.

3. Cut out the center circle using a craft knife. Trim about 1/16 inch of the circle away using scissors. Trim the decorative triangles out of the stamped image using a craft knife. Using the 3/8 inch hole punch, punch holes in the center circle that match the positions of the decorative triangles about 1/8 inch away from the edge of the circle. Punch the top hole out of the ornament using the 1/4 inch hole punch.

4. Color both sides of the stamped ornament using colored pencils. Stamp baby’s name, "Christmas" and year using black permanent ink on both sides of the ornament . Let dry. Shrink both ornament and inner circle using heat gun or toaster oven. If desired, finish both sides of the colored ornament with several light coats of a matte or gloss acrylic spray finish.

5. Trace the inner circle onto two identical pictures of the baby. Laminate, if desired (I recommend this for photos printed using an inkjet printer). Cut out the photos inside the marked lines. Attach the photos to the inner circle with glue. Use a needle tool to punch holes through the photos if the photos are covering the punched holes in the shrink plastic.

6. Attach the inner circle to the colored ornament with jump rings. Hang the ornament using decorative cording.

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