Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Homemade Christmas Ornament Idea

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't really in the Christmas spirit this year. I have a goal to get back to writing more often, so I am sure I will be sharing more about the reasons behind that, but for now all you need to know is that Christmas was pared down from the past. We didn't do a lot of of crafts. In fact, I think this is the only one that we created, and mostly it was because we were given a plain glass ornament at church and asked to decorate it for the tree there. Sadly, this wouldn't have happened otherwise, and it would have been a shame, because this was fun to make.

The inspiration for this ornament came from the December issue of FamilyFun magazine. I have made a few changes, partially due to what materials we had on hand and partially due to personal preference for what seemed sturdy. (I really couldn't see making this with tacky glue, for example, and then having it come undone. Yes, this would have been more kid-friendly than my adhesive of choice: hot glue, BUT you have to agree that mine is going to hold up, and that was what I was going for.) Anyway, we were all pleased with the results.

{Our Family's Christmas Ornament - 2014}


  • clear glass ornament
  • small pom poms (round beads are what was suggested in FamilyFun)
  • toilet paper tube 
  • scissors
  • tacky glue
  • hot glue gun
  • card stock (whatever colors you like -- we used blue and silver)
  • pipe cleaner (optional, for trim)
  • clothespins (optional, but recommended)
  • permanent marker (optional, for personalization)

  1. Remove the top of a clear glass ornament and hold it while the kids add some colorful "gumballs." (Note: Anything that is small enough to fit inside the opening could work. We used pom poms because we didn't have beads on hand. Perhaps real gumballs would fit?)
  2. Cut a section of a toilet paper tube to make the base of the gumball machine. Wrap it in colored card stock (Logan picked blue.) and adhere with tacky glue. Add a small rectangle of another color card stock for the gumball machine opening. (We used silver.) Again, apply with glue. Now, here's a handy tip: Secure two clothespins, one on either end of the tube, and leave on until the glue has dried. This helps the curved paper stay put until the glue is set!
  3. Find a base for your gumball machine. Ours is a lid (Thankfully, in the color Mia wanted: red.) from a peanut jar. FamilyFun suggested using a large button. (I don't know about you, but I don't have huge buttons laying around my house, however, I do have a good assortment of plastic lids at any given time.)
  4. Assemble the gumball machine. I used a hot glue gun (adult use only) instead of the suggested tacky glue. I made a ring around one end of the tube section and then applied it to the bottom of the glass bulb. Then, I made another ring of hot glue around the other end of the tube and pressed the plastic lid onto it, securing the base. For a finishing touch, I used two scrap pieces of red pipe cleaner to cover up the hot glue. (I wish I had thought to do this when it was first hot, but better late than never. The tacky glue would have been less goopy looking and wouldn't have needed the "finishing touch," but I am still asserting here that my way is going to hold up for the long haul. And that is what we want since we're going to be displaying this year after year.
  5. For a little extra personal touch, I took a black Sharpie and wrote our family name plus the year on the back. This was an easy (and totally free for us!) craft that we were able to make together.

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