Last year was when I started collecting papercrafting supplies, at first just to finish BabyT's baby book (which is *still* not done and she's 2 now). With all those supplies, I also wanted to make something little that I could slip into our holiday cards. Since I love sending regular greeting cards rather than the one-panel photo cards everyone else sends, I figured this craft should include a small photo of us.
On the very excellent blog Christmased, someone commented about a family tradition to have a crafty project that they all participate in, to give out to others. Inevitably they'd end up working on it till the wee hours, hence the name "Christmas sweatshop craft". I love that, so I'm stealing it for my title.
I decided to make small paper ornaments that people could hang on their Christmas trees. Since it had to fit inside a card, it needed to be flat, so I decided on a round shape with a little cap to look like the top of an ornament ball. I had to make at least 45 of these, to fit my Christmas card list. Since I was so excited about this project, I started in early December, so I didn't go into panic mode during this project. Hooray for being a project manager in real life. Sometimes it does pay off in unexpected ways.
|Paper photo Christmas ornament 2010|
- Using the Martha Stewart Circle Cuttermanual circle cutter, I cut approximately 3.5 inch diameter circles - for each ornament I cut one from holiday themed patterned paper and one in plain cardstock.
- I printed the photo I wanted using the Windows Photo Viewer. I printed them wallet-sized on 8.5 x 11" photo paper and cut each one to about 2 inches square.
- I used my Fiskars squeeze corner rounder punch to round the edges of each photo. (This takes a while when you have 45+ photos!).
- I stuck the patterned paper circles to the cardstock circles using Mod Podge Decoupage Glue.
- I used double stick tape to adhere the photo to the patterned paper side of the ornament (once the glue was dry on the ornaments, about a day later just to be sure!)
- I used the Silhouette machine's software to design the ornament top - it's just a rectangle welded to a circle, with another circle inside. I then had it cut out all 45 of these, while I sat back and had a diet Coke.
- I covered both sides of each ornament top with some matte Mod Podge decoupage glue, to strengthen them.
- I stapled the ornament top to the ornament with a colored staple. They were surprisingly hard to find, but I eventually tracked them down at Michael's.
- Using embroidery floss, I tied a small loop to each one so the recipients could attach an ornament hook.
- Rather than decoupage glue, use a Xyron machine, or just strong double-stick tape to adhere everything
- Use an electronic die-cutting system if you've got one to cut circles quickly and more accurately
- Skip using Mod Podge to "strengthen" cardstock on simple projects like these. Plain heavy cardstock should be fine, or use a clear page reinforcement if it's the right side.
- Use Photoshop elements to place the photos in the *exact* size needed on the page, then you only need simple cutting and corner rounding.
- Write your last name and year on the back so you and others can remember your cute project long into the future. (Assuming they don't immediately recycle it...)
- Make at least one extra to keep for yourself!
- Don't sweat the small mistakes - people will be charmed by the fact that you made them something. Unless they're super-critical and mean. In which case, they don't deserve one anyway. So there.
- When making a bunch of the same design, do it assembly-line style after making the first proof-of-concept: cut all circles, glue all, staple all, etc.