Monday, December 22, 2008

On the 9th Day of Christmas: Christmas Decorating Magic

Dressing the House with Art Beads for the 12 Days of Christmas

I have a jam jar full of favorite buttons, art beads and glass beads that make wonderful ornaments. I give them a little extra pizazz with wire and hangers that made them look very vintage and old-fashioned. I'm sure you have some in your stash you can use this way to create a last minute gift or for your own decorating needs.

To make these I used 9 inches of 18 gauge copper wire for the framework and 4 inches of bright brass 18 gauge wire for the hanger, but you can work with whatever you have or need for the look you are creating. Even colored wire would be lovely to use.

Mark the center of the 9 inch copper wire and on either side of the mark make two round loops that curl in opposite directions. Wrap the legs of the wire around the sides of your art bead centerpiece to give it the proper shape. Mine is an oval so I captured the curve of the oval sides, but you don't have to be too precise now. The loops at top and bottom give you a way to tighten and loosen the sides later.

Wrap a loop at the top using each leg of the wire that goes around the bead, then bend the wires toward each other. Don't close off the top yet. Using the 4 inches of brass wire, make a eyeloop at one end, and wrap the loop around the copper wire at the bottom on the center mark. This brass wire goes through the bead and suspends the ornament, becoming the hook that goes on the limb. I put a star button with a shank loop on the brass wire above the loop, then put the bead over that. You can use any decoration you like or that has meaning for you.

Wrap the copper wire from one side around the brass wire making loops, then wrap the copper wire from the other side. I covered the wire wrap with a bead cap of antiqued brass, and slipped a decorative bead at the top of the brass wire.

If the side wires are a little loose you can tighten the top and bottom loops now to adjust it. I added a bead dangle on the bottom, hanging from the bottom brass wire loop in the center, you can also add more dangles using the two copper loops at the bottom of your wire wrap. If you like lots of dangles make additional loops on the sides of the wrap. Make it the way you like it, there are lots of possible variations!

The top brass extra wire becomes the hanger that goes over the tree limb, put a large gentle curve on it using a paint brush handle or size 11 knitting needle, and you can make a small loop at the bottom of the brass wire to finish it off. I used 24 gauge brass wire to make the dangle with a red glass bead and bead caps.

So go grab your stash of favorite buttons, glass lampwork and art beads, you're bound to have some that will make wonderful ornaments and decorations. If you close the brass wire loop at the top instead of leaving it open, you can make gift wrapping decorations or even jewelry this way!

I'm headed off now to hang this new little ornament on the tree, it may be a gift for family or friends. Enjoy!

Posted by Lynn Davis
who enjoys decorating with a special handmade new ornament for each year's holiday season and gifting them to family and friends.


cindy said...

beautiful and creative!

EmandaJ said...

Ooh, Lynn,

What a lovely ornament! I love te wirework.


Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

Very clever Lynn and gorgeous too! Have a wonderful Christmas with your friends and family!