Vintage Style Sequin & Beaded Christmas Balls
A Hobby Learned from Grandma
I learned how to make sequin and beaded Christmas ornaments from my grandmother when I was a kid. I have always been the artistic type and have enjoyed doing many kinds of crafts throughout the years.
The ornaments shown here were all designed and made by me. I made this lens because I absolutely love making these ornaments. I wanted to share that love with others. If you fall in love with the ornaments pictured, they are for sale in my Etsy store. This is not just a lens for shameless self-promotion though; this is a lens to get others interested in this art of making homemade ornaments. They make great gifts and do not cost a lot of money to make.
Most of the supplies can be bought in bulk and do go a long way. Save the "leftovers" for other projects. Store them well and they will be there when the creative urge hits!
Learn how to make these yourself or if you like, many of the ornaments featured are for sale in my Etsy store- Treasures by Mimi.
Not Just for Christmas
Handmade ornaments are not just for Christmas. With an ornament stand or hanging from a doorway, window or anyplace you want to display it, an ornament makes a great gift or keepsake.
Celebrate the birth of a child or grandchild with a personalized ornament made with a picture of the newborn. Weddings, graduations, holidays like Valentine's Day, Easter and even the 4th of July can inspire you to create a unique ornament.
I love SmoothFoam. It has changed ornament making for me; it has made it so much easier. Styrofoam is what Grandma used and sometimes her ornaments would "lose" pins. Plus styrofoam that ages seems to degrade and crumble.
Smoothfoam holds pins much better and they make so many different shapes that it does open up creating ornaments for more than just Christmas.
Look at some of these shapes and explore their website for some great crafting ideas!
Another thing that I absolutely LOVE about Smooth Foam is that is it made in the USA! Making homemade ornaments and using supplies that come from the US (instead of CHINA!) makes me feel like I am doing something to help our economy. The service from this company is A+ and the quality is great!
Snowflakes are a winter decoration and not just for Christmas. How much fun would it be to decorate these and hang them in your windows?
Easter, Christenings, the options are limitless! You can create a personalized cross for a new baby, a wedding...like I said- the ideas are endless!
Jewels, Sequins, Beads
What You Need to Get Creative
Back in Grandma's day, a Christmas ornament started off with a styro foam ball. Today I use Smooth Foam balls which hold the pins much better and therefore make the ornaments last forever.
In this lens you will find the supplies needed to start creating your own unique Christmas ornaments.
I love fake jewels, sequins of all colors, beads and most recently, using vintage jewelry in my creations. I sell vintage jewelry in my Etsy store and often I come across one earring or a pin that is broken. I use these in my ornaments and my wreaths and it really gives the piece a unique look.
I have all my ornament making "stuff" organized in plastic organizers and keep these all in a basket. Whenever the urge to create hits, my stuff is ready. I also use ribbons and fancy trims as hangers for the balls. Sometimes I wrap pretty trims around the ball and work my design from there. It all depends what kind of mood I am in.
In my ornament making box I have the usual craft stuff. Scissors, Alene's craft glue (the absolute best glue), a tape measure and of course my supplies.
Glass beads, straight pins,seed beads, sequins that are separated by color, vintage pearls in various sizes, jewels to glue onto the balls, plastic beads and jewelry findings are all amongst my ornament making supplies.
An ornament usually begins with an idea. Sometimes that idea is about a specific color scheme, other times it revolves around using a piece of jewelry. Many times my ornaments are a bit abstract with no real pattern. There truly is something for any taste- as long as you like shiny!
The inspiration for the pink ball pictured was the trim that is wrapped around it. I found the trim in the fabric/craft section of my local Wal-Mart and fell in love with it. Pink, gold and a touch of turquoise inspired me to do two different balls. Pink sequins, pink glass seed beads and vintage pearls along with some jewels make this a very pretty pink inspired ornament.
Craft and Hobby Storage
Crafts are a great way to unwind, relax and just do something that makes you feel good. Storing your supplies well is important. Craft supplies won't go bad and they should be stored safely so they are protected against damage.
When I first got started making sequin and beaded ornaments I used empty Sucrets lozenges containers and empty egg cartons to store my supplies. I have moved up and gotten more serious and have my beads, sequins and pins organized very well.
Check out these great storage options. Remember that craft items are versatile and can be used for other projects.
I love little tool boxes like this. You can easily pick up and move to another room and it can store under your bed, in a closet or cabinet. Clear is another good option. No surprise about what is inside.
Love this. You can pull out each drawer when you are working with a particular color. Everything is organized.
Another good storage option. Depending on how much you need to store, this is a great organizer.
Making sequin and beaded ornaments I often do searches for Jewelry making. This is how I find many different beads and sequin sources on the Internet. This organizer can hold your straight pins, beads and other tiny items used in ornament making.
See-through storage is great. You can put ribbon in this, scissors, your glue and anything else you need.
Barbie Inspired Ornaments
As the beginnings of Hurricane Irene began, I sat at my kitchen table making this ornament. Inspired by a nice collection of vintage pearls that I had just received, I decided to make an ornament. It soon turned into what my kids dubbed a Barbie disco ball and I just went with it. Pink vintage pearls, pink glass seed beads and pearl pins along with tons of silver sequins cover this ball.
It took several hours and I was determined to finish before we lost power. I made it and finished it off with a silver ribbon for hanging. I used pink ribbon to trim the side of it and overall I am pleased with the results. It is difficult to photograph because it reflects light but it will look amazing on a Christmas tree or displayed on its own.
- Barbie Disco Pink Silver Christmas Ornament
Several hours of work, new and vintage items were used in the creation of this gorgeous ornament. For sale on Etsy, this is one of my favorites.
Barbie Disco Ornament
Made during the hurricane, I love this ball. It is so pretty in person. It will make a nice heirloom gift. Pretty in pink pearls, ribbon and shiny silver make it a Barbie inspired ornament. For sale on Etsy, check the link to purchase this unique Christmas ornament.
Vintage Earrings Ornament in Christmas Colors
When I found these vintage pierced earrings that were missing their backs, I instantly said they would make a great addition to an ornament. I placed them on the ball first after dipping them in some glue. I then used sequin threaded pins to surround them. Glass red seed beads compliment the earrings which are red with goldtone trim. I used green and gold sequins and some really pretty gold ribbon to complete this ball.
How to and more
So how do you make a sequin and beaded ornament? Below is a link to directions. I also have links to my Etsy store in case you prefer to just buy them as gifts. There is also a link to a site where I purchase supplies.
When you first start out, your local craft store such as Michael's or AC Moore is a great place to pick up supplies. Even your local Wal-mart has a craft aisle. Once you get serious (or hooked), order in bulk online.
- Treasures by Mimi
Handmade by Mimi these ornaments are really special. If you want a special color or maybe a set in a particular color scheme, just message me and I will get to work on it.
Plasteel is the company who makes Smooth Foam balls that are the base for my ornaments. Very friendly company with great prices. Check out their site to see what they have available. You may get inspired.
This company has a no-nonsense website that is well-organized. I have purchased from here only because I often need specific colors and do not feel like hunting them down at the local craft store. Ordering is easy and reasonable.
- How to Make Sequin and Beaded Ornaments
Here is the how-to to start making your own Christmas ornaments.
- Ornament Treasures
This is my newest Etsy store where you can order custom ornaments or choose one of my many new creations.
Colors of the Season
Some like traditional colors when it comes to decorating for Christmas. This ornament was simple to make compared to many that I do. It is an old-fashioned styro foam ball so in order to make sure it lasts forever, I had to stick each pin into Alene's craft glue before inserting it into the ball. Time consuming but it upsets me to find an ornament that I made with pins missing. It ruins the whole effort.
This one has green, red and gold sequins sectioned throughout the ball with glass seed beads. So pretty on the tree. The Christmas lights reflect off the sequins.
Most of my balls are not heavy (if they are it will say so) and they can hang well on a real or artificial tree. If you do not have an ornament hanger to display the ball alone, try a banana tree or thumbtack it to a sunny window or in a doorway. There are all kinds of ways to display these ornaments.
To hang the ornaments use your imagination. Pretty metallic trims, ric rac, ribbon and even pipe cleaners can be used. Make sure to secure them by using glue or extra long pins.
I purchase bags of multi-colored sequins and separate them into colors. Sometimes I will run low on one color and then I make it easy on myself and make a ball like this one. I used plastic beads of various colors and different colored sequins. I found a great gold and silver ribbon that I used to divide the ball in half. This was fun to make because there was no specific pattern to follow. My Barbie disco ball had a pattern I created that took focus to follow. With a ball like this one there is no way to "mess" up.
When making a sequin and beaded ball the only rule is to not leave any of the base showing.
An Assortment of Sequin and Beaded OrnamentsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Get Started the Easy Way
To see if making handmade ornaments is for you, why not try an ornament kit? This will give you an idea how to do it, if it is for you and I guarantee that if you are curious enough to even be reading this, once you try to ornament kit you will get the itch to create your own!
Color for the Holidays
Imagine how nice any of these ornaments would look on your Christmas tree. With miniature lights reflecting off of the sequins it will enhance the ornament even more. These are only displayed hanging from built-in shelving in my living room but they look great on the tree.
This is a perfect craft to do with your older kids. It may take more than one sitting to complete but it can be an ongoing project. You can also purchase smaller smooth foam balls and be able to complete an ornament in an hour.
From Homemade to Heirloom
My Grandma Szabo left us more than a decade ago but her crafts remain. It is really nice especially around the holidays to pull out one of her ornaments and remember her. Your homemade crafts become heirlooms for your family and friends. It is a really nice way to be remembered.
Hobbies to Share
Growing up I remember many different craft projects that influenced my love of creating homemade. Teaching or learning how to make craft items with your children is a memory for you to share.
Here are some ideas to get started.
- Kids love sequins and beads. The shinier the better and if you give them the tools they need to create, believe me they will! Your ornaments may not look like mine but that is okay. It is all about being creative and having fun!
- SmoothFoam has many different shapes that you can decorate as ornaments. The flat style forms are great for gluing a school picture onto and then decorating with beads, sequins or any other craft decoration.
- Making sequin and beaded ornaments is a fun project for winter. When it is too cold to play outside, crafting is a fun way to pass the time.
- Homemade ornaments make great gifts! People can see the time you put in and they will appreciate your efforts!
Creating an Heirloom
When I was little, a friend of the family painted my name on a silver glass ornament. Every year that silver ball was hung on the tree and it was passed on to me to use in my own home. Glass ornaments often get broken and because of that, my special name ornament doesn't come out of its' box.
The beauty of sequin/beaded ornaments is that they are non-breakable. You can create an heirloom ornament that is sure to last many years! I have several ornaments my late grandmother created and they have been shared with several family members.
Another way of creating an heirloom sequin/beaded ornament is to personalize it with a picture. This can be a little tricky but my tip is to use one of the wallet-size (or smaller) newborn pictures that is typically taken in most hospitals. You may have received a picture of a niece or nephew in a birth announcement and this may be a good picture to use.
You will cover most of the ball with sequins, leaving a space for the photo. Crop the picture and add a touch of glue to the back. This is just to hold it in place so you can secure it. Use pinned sequins to secure the photo to your ball. It may look awkward at first, you are going to need to move the picture around until you get it to where you want it.
I made one of these when my oldest was born (way back in 1981) and recently came across it. I had to laugh at how primitive it looked compared to my more current "creations" but the idea was good. We all got a good laugh over her baby picture and she was thrilled to have this memory heirloom ball to hang on her own Christmas tree.
Easy tips for ornament making
This sequin ornament was easy to make but it looks beautiful. Here is how I did it.
First I took gold ribbon and wrapped it around the ball. I secured the ribbon with straight pins dipped in glue. (just an extra precaution to secure it)
Next I threaded gold glass seed beads and a sequin onto a pin and got started. Each sequin is slightly overlapped so that no white of the foam ball shows. When doing this around the ribbon, I lift the ribbon slightly to slide the sequin underneath. This design was easy to do because I used a gold bead on each but alternated sequins between gold and turquoise.
The most difficult part of making this ball (for me) was the ribbon on the bottom of the ball. It took several tries for me to secure it and get the look I envisioned.
(this ball is also for sale in my Etsy store)
Would You Pay For a Sequin Ornament?
Please help by taking time to vote. Many artists sell their handmade ornaments online. Some sell for more than $50 each. I prefer to price my ornaments affordable so everyone can enjoy them. If you are not into making your own, how much would you pay for one? Please feel free to offer feedback. thanks!!!
How much would you spend on a Sequin and Beaded Ornament?
Blast from the Past
Christmas is a time for making memories and these ornaments remind one of long-ago Christmases.
I love to decorate for the holidays and I make these ornaments to help celebrate the joys of the season. Every ornament I make is NOT from any kind of kit. I organize all my ornament making supplies, keeping them in several plastic containers. Sequins are organized according to size and color. The same with my pins, beads, ribbons and trims. I envision what I want the ornament to look like and go from there. An ornament can take 1 hour or it can take several hours to complete.
I am very picky when it comes to how my ornaments look. I overlap sequins so that no white is showing on the balls. I have even completed an ornament and then taken it apart because I wasn't happy with what it looked like.
I am an artist that takes my work seriously.
Where to Find my Ornaments
Every ornament I make is a labor of love. It is an old-fashioned hobby to some but to me, it is my "Zen" time. I find it very relaxing to sit back and create a jeweled treasure.
If you are interested in purchasing an ornament (or two or more) as pictured in this lens, you can find my stores on Etsy.
Treasures by Mimi is my store that I used to sell just vintage in but now I just sell my artistic creations.
I am happy to do special orders and although I am now working outside the home (being a starving artist was not fun) I still have time to create.
Whether you do a themed tree, traditional or focus on one color, I have an ornament for you!
After the holidays I like to get organized. I do inventory and usually list a few things on eBay just to make room for the supplies I purchase at the after-holiday discount sales. This is when the buyer wins by getting a great deal on beautiful items that I just don't have room to store!
Check it out!
Selling Christmas Ornaments
Doing a Holiday Bazaar
Recently I took my ornaments and did a local holiday bazzar. Preparing for this was fun and a bit nerve-wracking but overall it was a good experience.
I sold several of my handmade ornaments, met tons of vendors and got several sales weeks after the event. Many people admired my work and told me stories of their grandmas, aunts and others who also shared this fun hobby.
Although many times I use Vintage finds in my ornament creations, when I buy "new" I really look for American-made products. There have been way too many jobs lost in this country and if I can help keep a small (or large) American business going I will do it.
I have found my experience with these companies to be very positive and I recommend using them for your craft supplies. (I would never recommend a company that I wasn't sure of)
- Cartwrights Sequins & Vintage Buttons
Sequins, beads, pins, glitter and more. Fast service and quality. Located in Arkansas, this company's website is easy to use and has great customer service.
- Plasteel Online
SmoothFoam balls are what I use to make my ornaments. They are made of expandable polystyrene and they hold the pins much better than old-fashioned styrofoam. Just another reason why my ornaments last forever! This company is located in Michigan and
Please leave your feedback on how you feel about these ornaments. Would you hang them on your tree or give them as gifts? Have you ever made your own ornaments?