Magazine article Sunset

Ornaments on the Fly

Magazine article Sunset

Ornaments on the Fly

Article excerpt

Inspired by Mother Nature's living ornaments, these paper and wood creations lend animation to holiday decorations. Use them to add a light touch to your tree, adorn a basket of greens, or brighten a wrapped gift.

Every family member can help put these simple ornaments together. For tools, most require only a craft knife, scissors, and a paintbrush. You'll find the rest of the materials at a woodworking, art supply, or craft store.

The butterflies and their companions spread their wings on clothespins; pin their pinchers onto evergreen boughs or attach them to the ribbons of gift-wrapped packages. The paper doves are from a Japanese art--origami--and take shape with just a few folds; tie them with nylon fishing line so they flutter below branches. And the gleaming, multihued flowers and spirals are created from wafer-thin strips of wood veneer stained with iridescent ink; hang them from nylon line or colorful thread.

Clothespin critters

Each creature has a painted clothespin body. Craft supply stores carry the paint and other materials you'll need to decorate the insects' bodies and appendages: construction paper, giftwrap, and frosted acetate for wings; assorted knickknacks such as styrene foam balls, wooden buttons, tongue depressors, pins, and pipe cleaners for other body parts. Scissors, white craft glue, and paintbrushes are all you need to construct them.

To make wings for a butterfly, moth, or dragonfly, cut construction paper into symmetrical curving shapes. Slip the wings into the clothespin's jaws to test that the "body" masks the wings' center, then remove the wings to decorate them with paint or round stickers. Use round-headed straight pins for antennae and wooden beads for eyes.

For the wide-bodied bumblebee, cut a 1 1/2-inch-diameter styrene foam ball in half, glue tissue paper over the halves, then paint. Glue balls on top of a clothespin; cut acetate wings, then wedge and glue them between the ball halves.

Not all the insects shown on page 46 have broad wings. Our slender grasshoppers feature tongue depressor and toothpick legs that glue to the clothespin's sides.

Origami birds

The birds start as squares of paper, folded as illustrated above right. If you buy origami paper (available in packages for $4 to $12 at art supply and hobby stores), it probably will come with directions for folding other shapes you might want to try. …

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