Thursday, December 8, 2011

Simple Christmas: Geodesic Paper Ornaments

Do you remember making geodesic paper ornaments?

I’ve made them since I was five or six and continue to make them almost every Christmas… usually out of holiday cards from the previous year.  It’s an amusing activity I’ve shared with children and adults.  And it helps me remember all the friends and family who send us cards.  Decorative calendars, museum exhibit brochures and auction catalogs also make interesting raw materials for the ornaments.  I bet you could use any paper that has a card-like thickness but is still easy to fold.

I use geodesic ornaments to fill in empty spots on our “handmade” tree, which is decorated with paper, fabric, metal and wood ornaments from around the world.  They also make great takeaway gifts for party guests or fun tags on hostess gifts -- add a special message in bold black or metallic ink and tie one to a bottle of wine.

Here’s a little refresher on how to make them.  You need scissors, a pen or pencil, Elmer’s glue, a hole punch, cardstock paper and a little ribbon.  Plus you need a circle template (I use one that is 2¼” in diameter) and a template for an equilateral triangle that fits inside your circle.

Find images you like on your raw materials and trace a circle around each image.
Cut out all the circles.  Each ornament needs 20.  You can organize your circles by theme or color or just for fun.  Here are some for an animal ornament!
Fold each circle around your equilateral triangle template.

And then start gluing your pieces together.

I know lots of directions are different.  But I like to start by gluing five pieces together, kind of like a top to the dome.  And then I just build the dome piece by piece, working in a circular motion, until the dome is a sphere.

The last piece is always really satisfying to place!
Once your ball is complete, punch a single hole in one of the “fins” and string a ribbon through it.
You can find directions and kits online that create much more perfect geodesic ornaments.  But I don’t think the ornaments need to be anything close to perfect.  Find a little joy in recycling pretty cards into something even prettier.  And take pleasure in a few moments of quiet busyness during this oh-so-hectic time of year.

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