Paper sculptures have been my holiday DIY go-to for the past 5 years. They are quick and easy to make--and nearly impossible to screw up. Handmade decorations are the best, especially when they quickly transform common home supplies into fresh ornaments and garlands. Paper ornaments inspire wonder in that they are both humble and magnificent, flat and dimensional, simple and complex. They are made from ordinary supplies yet each is unique, like a snowflake. Make them big or small and from any kind of paper: be it decorative, upcycled, or homemade. And they work great for any festivity: simply choose a color theme to suite the holiday, wedding or birthday party and viola!--you've got decor for days!
If you want extra hands, invite the kids to help: there’s plenty of coloring, cutting, scrunching, and stringing they’d enjoy. The more helping hands the merrier!
Tell us how it goes: #ApronEraDIY. Can't wait to see what you create!
How to Make a Paper Sculpture Ornament
These no-fuss ornaments are very versatile: they can be made from any paper and any string or ribbon. The best part about them is that there is no right way to do it. Every shape is interesting in it’s own right and they can be re-molded with ease at any time. If the paper is stiff or you want a more weathered look, try spraying the paper with water to soften before forming. Wetting the paper also makes it more pliable, so you can mold its shape with more precision than you can when shaping dry paper.
- Baker's Twine
- Paint or Markers
- Hole Puncher
These ornaments are super forgiving so let loose when it comes time to the twisting and teasing (try looking away and getting rough with the paper for some surprising creations). Enjoy!
PREP: Slip into your ApronEra apron so you are prepared for merry mess making
- Decorate paper(s) with markers or paint. (Tip: try contrasting marks, colors, tones, or patterns on the front and back of the paper for dramatic visual effect.)
- Cut the paper into small, medium, and/or large squares to suite your project
- Fold the square in half
- Fold the rectangle in half
- At the folded corner of the square, hole punch through all four layers.
- Thread the twine through all four layers
- Loop the string ends together to form a hang loop
- No hole puncher? Make it work by poking a hole with a knife or scissor tip
- Open the paper up and then twist and tease it into an interesting shape. (Tip: To create a more leathery paper texture, smush the paper into a tight wad. Then open the paper ball before molding into shape.)
Viola! Hang on a branch and enjoy the holidays.
TIP: Store bought decor gets pricey as it gets larger. But not so with the paper sculptures! So make some big ones to round out your decor and invest the money saved on a good cause.
PAPER IDEAS: upcycled, double sided decorative, origami, homemade, printer, or wrapping paper, journal/sketchbook pages, kids art, and photos.
More DIY Ideas
The paper sculpture is very versatile. Here are some enjoyable iterations. Send us pictures of your creations & let us know how it goes! #ApronEraDIY
How to Make a Paper Ornament Garland
Make this cool and quick garland by linking the paper ornaments together.
To make it: Thread each ornament through the hang loop of another and pull until it hooks around the ornament of it's neighbor. Repeat until all ornaments are linked together and take care not to get them tangled*. To finish the garland and prepare it for hanging, create a hang loop of twine without an ornament. Then find the very first ornament in the chain and thread the hang loop around it and pull until it hooks. Hang and enjoy the holidays!
*This is a bear to untangle so take care when storing. Treat it like you would Christmas lights and wrap it around something before boxing it up after the season or event.
Upcycled Paper Ornament
The creative process produces by-products: sketches, drafts, notes, prints, samples, versions, illustrations...all of which make for great paper sculpture material. They are packed with memorabilia and capture the creative process in a fresh, eco-friendly way.
Any paper, of any size can be upcycled into a paper ornament: wrapping paper, kids art, note pages, books.
How to Make a Paper Mobile
Let me know how it goes in the comments and share pictures of your unique creations at #ApronEraDIY. Can't wait to see!