DIY Christmas Ball Wreath: Beautiful–and fragile memories

FullSizeRenderHere’s a great January activity if you see an opportunity to purchase some 75% off Christmas balls: make a Christmas ball wreath.

My motivation in December was that I had occasion to go through my grandmother’s Christmas tree decorations, and I discovered some Christmas balls from the 1940’s and 1950’s.  I knew by the box styles and the paint patterns that I was looking at Christmas memories and treasures–probably not worth a lot, but beautiful.  I decided to combine the ones that were not damaged into a Christmas ball wreath to display on a mirror, like the elegant ones I often see in home decorating magazines.

I watched a great tutorial that walked me through the basic steps.  Side note: What I love about this woman’s tutorial is the absolute ordinariness of the toys, couch and general house mess behind her.  The tutorial is easy to follow: materials needed include a styrofoam wreath shape, about 50 balls in assorted sizes (mostly big, some medium and a handful of little ones to fill in the gaps), colors and shapes, and hot glue. You will need between 60 and 90 minutes to do it right–that’s not too much time, but don’t hurry.

One problem with using antiques instead of the recommended dollar store assortment, is that the older ornaments are much more fragile.  I followed the directions and removed the wire tops. Working from the inside circle toward the outside rim, I created a rather large wreath. It became larger and larger as I tackled all of the gaps in between the bigger balls. When I was finished (and my fingers were sufficiently burned from careless application of hot glue), I was delighted with the result.

I held it up to the wall to imagine its lovely future, and when I set it back down, three or four of the old balls spontaneously combusted. What a mess. I like old balls (insert joke here), but the modern ones are just as nice and less problematic.

I modified my plan, and the large wreath is now on my dining room table with a pillar candle in the middle.  It’s really too large for the table, but beautiful just the same.

Total cost to me for the first wreath:  $5 styrofoam wreath and $1 worth of hot glue sticks.

The second wreath was a little less successful.  I found several boxes of assorted balls as I was taking down the tree–stuff that’s been out of use for years.  Inspired, and a little cocky from the first wreath experience, I tackled the second wreath using a wire wreath that I had already.  This was not the perfect plan, and the wreath did not take shape as expected.  I halted about half way through the project, and I’m going to wait until I can get to the craft store for the styrofoam wreath. (What project did I have in mind for the wire wreath?  I cannot remember.)

While I was surfing for a video of a Christmas ball wreath that justified my use of a wire frame (without success),  I came across a video that instructs the crafter how to make a wreath from pages of an old book.  Last year, Jeremy set himself up to make a wreath a month:  The Yule Log 365 Wreath-of-the-Month Club (I made that up just now, but it’s catchy.)  He’s been talking about some very creative ideas for this year, 2015. I accept the challenge, and I’m going to shoot for making one a month–on second thought, maybe we can split the task.  He can do even months, and I’ll do odd.  My focus, though, is going to be on wreaths I can make without going overboard on the expense of the materials.  I’ll be posting my results and the cost of each.

The Yule Log 365 hopes that you are able to save some of your Christmas spirit to carry through the year by launching a similar project or series of projects. Let us know your plans for 2015.