Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Card Hanging Ball Decoration Tutorial

 My mom always made these when we were kids.  She hated to throw out the pretty cards, but there's no real reason to keep them, knowing you'll get a ton more next year.
So: some way to display them.
 I put all the cards we get in an envelope and pack them away with the decorations. The following year, get them out and get cutting.  

Using a jar lid or other round object about 5" across trace circles on the cards.  You will only really see the center of the circle, so if you are tracing around a photo, try to center the faces in the center of the circle.  

Cut them all out - you will need 20 circles for each ball.  
Smaller circles make smaller balls - but the smaller they are, the harder they are for small hands to fold and tape them together.

Fold each circle in from the edge three times to make a central triangle shape.  The corners of the triangle should be at the edge of the circle, and the triangle sides should be even lengths (that's called an equilateral triangle for you math geeks out there)  Here's a photo.  I eyeball the first one, then use that as a template for the rest.  They don't need to be perfect, because the finished shape has some wiggle room (sorry, Martha!)

If your kids haven't already been helping you trace, cut and fold, definitely call them over because this is the fun part.  Start taping the triangles together by the rounded edges.  I use a piece of tape over the rounded part (the outside of the ball) and a second piece taping the backs together on the inside.  Tape five together to form a circular domed piece, then keep going.  Everywhere points meet you need to have five together.  Eventually you'll get to the final two triangles to be stuck together all around to close up the ball. 
It sounds complicated but once you start it is magical how two-dimensional circles naturally want to make this geodesic sphere.

Figure out where you want the top of the ornament to be, then get a helper to hole-punch a hanger.  I hung mine up in the entry - just using tape at the ceiling
(they are paper after all and hardly weigh anything)  

This whole project was great with kids - cutting, folding, taping, and having to be careful of something fragile they were working on (tongues hanging out of mouths - adorable!!!) 

Of course you can make these balls out of anything - old coloring sheets, toddler custom-colored-on card stock, photos.  They don't store well (ask me how I know) but they sure are a great way to reuse last year's cards and bring people to mind as you write their cards this year.

  Happy Holidays!

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