Christmas Ornament





Introduction: Christmas Ornament

About: I love to stay home as much as as I love to travel, I've been to 49 states (missing Alaska) and 31 countries. I have two wiener dogs now and a cat. We all live together in a house in the woods. With no roaches.

Make a Christmas ornament for your tree this year. This one is pretty indestuctable so you will be able to treasure it always. Make more as gifts and you will always be remembered. Like cooking, once you have the supplies in place you can make a whole ornament in less than 15 minutes.

Step 1: Supplies

Most of what you need is pictured here but read the list anyway because I added some items, such as:
Needle nosed pliers
Drill and nail setter, or anything you may have to punch holes in metal
030 thick plastic sheets found at [ here]
Tin snips
Christmas-y image or old photo
Altoids box
Head pins (pictured below the drill, they are stiff wire with a flat head on one end, available on line at Rings and Things. Hyperlink is not working today so I can't post a link)
Beads (cut up an old necklace)
Thin wire for the hanger, I used copper
Rhinestones (optional)
Mica (optional)

Step 2: Pull Apart That Altoids Tin

As you can see the bottom is bigger than the lid so you can make two ornaments by cutting the bottom tin's sides down to match the size of the lid. The lid's sides are already the right size for cutting zig zags into.

Step 3: Use Your Tin Snips to Cut Down the Height of the Sides of the Bottom Tin

You want to make the height about the same size as the lid. Just be careful as little metal scraps are as sharp as... well, little metal scraps. You will be well served by setting up a little can on your work table to collect the scraps because stepping on a little cut out zig zag next month will be an unpleasant reminder of Christmas.

Step 4: Now the Fun Starts

This photo shows you how both your tins will looks, be we are only going to work with one in this 'ible, the bottom one. Using the top is great of course and the snowman ornament at the start of this 'ible was made from a lid, you can see the difference in the edges of the zig zags. One is no better than the other, I just wanted you to see that you can make two from a single can.

Step 5: Tracing

Using the Altoids tin as a templet, trace around your photo and the plastic too. Cut out both. Pull off the thin protective plastic covering on both sides of the plastic "window".

Step 6: Place Your Image Into the Tin

You will most likely need to trim to fit here, add your plastic and trim to fit also. When the plastic fits take it back out and add some mica pieces. These give an old-timey look to the ornament. I found mine inside of a huge cave in North Carolina, but surely there are online sources.

Step 7: Cutting the Zig Zags


Step 8: Bend the Zig Zags Over With Pliers


Step 9: Pound Flat

Pounding the ornament flat makes it look much better and it's at this point you want to dill holes to hang the hanger and any decorative beads.

Step 10: Adding Head Pins and Hanging Wire


Step 11: Putting on the Beads

For a long time I just could not figure out how to hang the beads, then I came up with this solution - just curl the extra wire sticking out from the last bead (leave about an inch) and twist it on your smooth nosed needle nose pliers and then bend into place so the beads wont fall off, it looks like a little itty bitty spring.

If you aren't a former jeweler and a tool collector like I am you can use a nail to coil the extra wire around to make the "spring". You will still need pliers to hold on the the wire while you wrap it around the nail but then you don't need smooth nosed needle nosed pliers.

Step 12: Hang on Your Tree

That's my mom, I sure do love her and this 'ible is dedicated to her.

Step 13: More

Once you get the hang of cutting zig zags you will want to use all sorts of things to make ornaments from - I am always saving metal lids, smoked oyster cans and tops to metal boxes. I think the heavy plastic makes the ornament look professional but please experiment. The mica sure isn't necessary but I happen to have a lot of it. I have tried using plain old acetate and because it isn't that thick it just doesn't give the same look as .030 mil plastic.

If you save your Christmas cards this year you will have lot's of great images to choose from to make an ornament. The snowman is from art work my grandfather did for Milton Bradley Old Maid cards. I just made a laser color copy of the original.



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    I wonder if this could be done with a thin metal like maybe thin gauge aluminum flashing. Seems to me that it would allow you to make all sorts of organic shapes. Hmmmmmm... Lowes here I come!

    That's a nice use of a tin - where did you get the mica? I used to have a pair of snips like them, they were great...


    9 replies

    An old feldspar cave down Hoot Owl Road in Penland, NC. I love those tin snips, they go through tin like it's butter. They are from MCS, Lemonie, why can't I hyperlink anymore, when I try to paste the pasted part flashes and is gone, it won't stick, I use Safari, could that be it?

    You dug mica out of the Earth?! Or someone else did and you bought it? I liked my snips, they were the tops (forget what happened to 'em). For links these days you nee to use the button, it's a planet-resembling thing...


     Not out of t he earth, it was stuck to the walls of this gigantic feldspar cave, I  climbed up really high to get to it. Thanks for the hyperlink info, I'll give it a try.


    Wow, that may be worth an instructable on it's own?


    Sure, maybe one day when I go back.

    Chuckle.  This was a really OLD toaster, it was constructed with mica sheets inside to shield against ambient heat (I guess in also helped insulate the entirely metal "Rube Goldberg" mechanics inside from the electronics, too. 
    Wow,  I have a little mica (somewhere) that I got from an old (really old) toaster....some rather nice sized sheets, really.

     Who was toasting mica? And why?

    I tried the hyperlink thingee, it worked, this time!  I was having trouble before, so thanks to you and lemonie for the info. Cman

    Oooo I really like the tiger and Bugs  ones especially :-) 

    Your mom sure does love you too! What an honor to have an 'ible dedication !  The Mom 'ible is just the best present ... ever !! Thank you so very much .

    Great Instructable, Ninzer:  I can tell you love your crafts and it shows in your work.  Good to see you submitting!  Cman