Magazine article Sunset

Surprise Your Christmas Tree; These Cheerful Ornaments Are Easy to Make from Wood Veneer, Clothespins, Form Balls

Magazine article Sunset

Surprise Your Christmas Tree; These Cheerful Ornaments Are Easy to Make from Wood Veneer, Clothespins, Form Balls

Article excerpt

Mother Nature inspired them, but she probably didn't intend to create anything quite like the ornaments shown here and on page 104. The flowers, insects, and jungle balls are loosely based on real flora and fauna, but they have their genesis in the home crafts room. Their bold shapes and cheerful colors will add life to your tree and make memorable holiday gifts for friends and family. The ornaments are simple enough that every family member can help put them together. For tools, most require only a craft knife, scissors, and a paintbrush. You'll find the rest of the materials at a woodworking or craft store. Veneer flowers and spirals These gleaming, multihued flowers and curling shapes started as almost-paper-thin strips of wood veneer. Many woodworking stores sell veneer in rectangular sheets (a 2-foot square costs $10 to $20, depending on the type of wood) or narrow rolls. Don't buy veneers with an adhesive backing. If you're going to stain the ornaments with semitransparent iridescent ink, use light-colored veneers, such as maple or birch. You could also use the veneer unpainted and still have a rich variety of wood colors to choose from. You'll need a paintbrush, iridescent ink (sold at art supply stores; about $5 for a 2ounce bottle), white craft glue, clothespins, a craft knife, scissors, and thread. Start the star-shaped flowers by cutting a sheet of veneer into 2- by 10-inch pieces (with grain running the long way). To make the wood flexible, soak the pieces in a bucket of warm water for about a half-hour. Following the sketch at left, bend the veneer to make a conical center. Apply glue to the overlapping ends and hold them together until dry with paper clips or clothespins. When the glue is dry, cut along the overlap to make a pointed end opposite the cone. Paint both sides of each cone with the same color, or use two tones. The top photograph on the opposite page shows three ways the cones can be glued together. Experiment with the designs, then join cones along their edges with craft glue. Use paper clips or clothespins to hold them tight until glue dries. Hang them from thread or fishing line. The curlicue ornaments started as 1- by 12-inch lengths of veneer that were soaked and then wrapped around a broomstick like a stripe on a barber-shop pole. Hold the veneer in place with rubber bands until dry. Clothespin bugs and critters Metamorphosed into a fanciful insect, the common spring-type clothespin will find a happy place on the boughs of your holiday tree. These clothespins can also evolve into miniature animals to decorate trees or gifts or to hold gift tags. …

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