Introduction: Paper Ball Ornaments for Your Christmas Tree

Picture of Paper Ball Ornaments for Your Christmas Tree

IMPORTANT:  It's been a while since I did this instructable and now that I reviewed it, I agree that some steps are a little bit confusing.

So if you cannot figure out some of the steps, or you want to learn how to do it quickly, then just read steps 1 to 3 and skip steps 4 to 9. Instead watch the video on step 10. Then follow the instructions on steps 11-12 to finish the ornament. The video shows the whole proces of making the medallion.

Of course if you like challenge, follow up all the steps and just skip step 10 :-)

Recycling paper is one of the many things we can do to protect environment, so instead of dispose our old magazines and the tons of catalogs and paper junk we receive, why don't use it to make some nice ornaments for Christmas? They are original, cheap and safer for your children than the traditional glass balls.

I'll show you how to do it, using origami techniques
You only need some magazines or catalogs, glue and a little bit of patience to make it.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

First gather the following materials:

Old magazines, catalogs, or any kind of paper you want to reuse. I recommend you to choose paper with nice colors.


Scissors (optional, if you have practice you can cut the paper with only your hands).

Step 2: Preparing Our Sheet

Picture of Preparing Our Sheet

Fold your sheet in two, then again fold it by the middle and fold it by the middle one more time.

Unfold it, look the crease pattern: the creases are dividing our sheet into eight rectangles.

Now cut the sheet following the creases (if you are origami lover maybe you want to do it with nothing but your hands, if not, use scissors)

You should have eight rectangles now. We are going to use 6 of them to make our paper ball.

Step 3: Squaring Our Rectangles

Picture of Squaring Our Rectangles

Now that we have 8 rectangles of the same size we need to square it.

To do it, fold one corner to the other side of the rectangle. It should look like the one in the photo (if you want nice results, try to do it exactly), then turn it over and fold the remaining paper to make a crease and cut it out carefully.

Step 4: First Steps (pre-creasing 1)

Picture of First Steps (pre-creasing 1)

Now that we got our square, fold it by the crease we already have, then fold it by the middle so now we have divided our triangle in two smaller triangles.

Step 5: Square - Rectangle -square (pre-creasing 2)

Picture of Square - Rectangle -square (pre-creasing 2)

Unfold it (see the simple crease pattern we have) and fold it by the middle (now we have a rectangle), fold it in two again so we are going to get another square shape.

Step 6: More Pre-creasing

Picture of More Pre-creasing

Unfold it again (the crease pattern is growing).

Fold it like in the photo, so the edges meet in the center (did you notice that we have a rectangle shape again?). Now repeat the above step, and fold it so that the flaps meet in the center (the difference is that now we got a square again)

Step 7: Almost There... (pre-creasing 4)

Picture of Almost There... (pre-creasing 4)

Unfold it and fold one corner to the other side (now we have a triangle shape on one side); fold it again by the middle, so you are going to get a smaller triangle; unfold it and do the same with the other side (see the crease pattern, it is more complex now. Important: at this point you don't need to unfold it, I just wanted to show how the crease pattern changes as we make more foldings)

NOTE: If you don't understand this step, then watch the video on step 10.

Step 8: Now, We Are Folding...

Picture of Now, We Are Folding...

a) Now, pull up the flaps, spread to the side and flatten the paper. Do the same with the other side

b) Bring one triangle flap to the top and flatten it to form a little square. Repeat with the other flaps.

NOTE: If you don't understand this step, then watch the video on step 10.

Step 9: Final Steps

Picture of Final Steps

Last but not the least, here we go:

Fold the flaps of each square to meet in the center

Open the triangles and flatten

Finally, fold the corners back and we are done (look at the final crease pattern, is beautiful, isn`t it?).

Step 10: So You Don't Understand the Steps? Don't Worry... Watch the Video

As I said before, It's been a while since I did this instructable. Nowadays I'm a little bit more skilled with origami and I agree that some steps are confusing...

So if you are stuck on any step, then watch the video. I feel that it is easier to follow than the pictures. Of course, If you like challenge, skip this step.

Step 11: Making the Ball Paper

Picture of Making the Ball Paper

Now to form our ball ornament, we'll need six medallions. So repeat steps from 3 to 9 and make your six medallions.

When you are done, you only need to put them together by the corner flaps using a drop of glue on each flap. I think the images are clear enough to describe the process. So here they are.

Step 12: The Reward to Our Efforts

Picture of The Reward to Our Efforts

Congratulations, you have made your first paper ball. Now make as many as you want of the sizes you want, and recycle as many paper you can. Is August, so you have enough time to have them ready for your Christmas tree.

Enjoy! and thank you for looking.


nbue (author)2009-11-07

 What is hard about this people? Just click on the pictures and use your BRAIN to do a little thing called critical thinking. Sure the written part doesn't spoon feed it to you, but it's still a great instructable. 

acerene (author)nbue2011-12-07

LOL. You sound like my 3-D design teacher. <3

bassclarinet23 (author)nbue2009-11-24

I lost mine...

aychbee (author)2009-12-19

It is 451 degrees F.  I think it's a pretty idea.

Doctor Freeman (author)aychbee2010-12-16

Eww. old wrapping paper.

twighahn (author)aychbee2010-11-18

leds work great

drake (author)2007-08-10

now i need a paper cristmas tree to go with the paper decoration

clk (author)drake2007-12-07

Drake, check out
for your paper christmas tree!

twighahn (author)clk2010-11-18

a magazine with the pages folded down individually makes a great tree but too small for the balls

aychbee (author)drake2009-12-19

Check out the hard cover book tree.  Maybe a super large book like an atlas would work !    : )

twighahn (author)2010-11-18

use last years wrapping paper.also make a wreath with the balls for the one who gave you the gift that the paper was wrapped in.or even a ball from that paper

Claire Esposito (author)2010-03-15

I aman active tap dancing 80 and a free lance craft designer for craft magazines since 1976.  I love these "flowers" but can't figure out how on earth to attach five of them to make a ball???  Anyone out there that can explain?  Crafting with Claire

m.o.M. (author)2009-12-20

These are addictive! I made two for teacher's gifts and they were a huge hit! Thank you for the tutorial!

syribia (author)2009-12-08

I've added an extra step which shows the making process on video. You can watch it on step 10. Hope it helps those who are frustrated trying to understand the photos.

ariath (author)2009-12-07

I love this!! yesterday i was looking at these kind of ornaments in google and today i finally know how to do them :3 thank you so much!!

Just one question.. are you from Hermosillo? 'cause of the magazine XD i've seen it here XD

Anyway... Beautiful ornament! :D

syribia (author)ariath2009-12-08

Thank you. I'm from Mexico City

shelleyjo (author)2009-12-07

Step 7, I was cruising...transition to step 8, I crashed...seems like a small critical step or explanation is missing.  Fun to fiddle with, but I am stuck.  I'll hang onto my many scraps of magazine page and look forward to a bit more info!

syribia (author)shelleyjo2009-12-08

The video is uploading. Once it is ready, I'll add it to the instructable. Hope it helps.

macrumpton (author)2009-12-07

Very cool looking. I wonder if you could electroplate the finished product so it would be more durable. Like this instructable:

syribia (author)2009-12-04

I'm surprised and happy that my instructable became popular after a half and a year I published it  ^_^

I'll make a video to help those who have trouble understanding the photos.

naya1 (author)2009-12-01

This is really confusing! I am only 11 and I have to make a present for my friend by tomorrow!! Any suggestions??

sarahsupremo (author)2009-11-30

I had a few head-scratching moments as well, but I always have that when trying to do any type of origami-related activity.  But once I got one down, I flew threw the rest of them!  This is a really fun project, and the results are so pretty!  Christmas-present extravaganza!

alittlestranger (author)2009-11-30

so pretty, going to give these a go!

finky (author)2009-11-29

 yeah, perhaps its my frustration, but I can't seem to make sense of this 0_0    

midsummermuse (author)2009-11-09

Great pictures! I'm pretty decent at origami, but I'm a very visual learner and I made one of your ornaments--and the pictures enabled me to understand this one. I just wish I started folding the squares from the other side since most of the pretty side is hidden and only peeking out from the "windows". I will try to upload a picture soon! I think I may make more, but the first one took a couple hours (and I was doing other stuff also). But--great job! Makes a cute ornament and a good gift.

kawaiipeach (author)2009-11-08

very easy!!! love it!!! i'm making it for my tree :) 

unbentcrayfish (author)2009-05-18

daaa waaaaaaaa???????? you have a good ball there man but you just made my brain hurt. instructions tooooo hard

SarArtSci (author)2009-05-03

Click on the smaller images below on step eight. you will find the second part to that step illustrated. I took me a moment to find too!

irunwithscissors (author)2009-01-04

its like you skip a step between 8 and 9

alexorson (author)2008-12-04

About how long does it take to make the ornament? Did you do a whole tree of these ornaments or just a few? I'd love to see a picture of these on your tree.

elyena (author)alexorson2008-12-23

It took me an hour to make my first one...I timed it, it took about 00:05:18 to make one side, but that was after I had it memorized and pretty fast. Time consuming, but pretty to look at!

jodydigger (author)2008-12-22

I had muchly fun making these for my little tree arrangement. Here they are!

superquack11 (author)2008-12-15

and now... add LEDs!!!!

soundisvibration (author)2008-12-13

I agree with fingers. I just cant figure out step 8.

Keyth (author)2008-04-02

This is great. I do a similar thing my mom used to do with all our holiday cards. I'll add an image (after the recycled batteries charge again for my camera!), and maybe a 'structable soon. Pretty easy to figure out though, not really rocket science. Although if you're not geometrically inclined you could have a problem determining the three fold lines.

Toad33 (author)Keyth2008-12-12

Hello Can you please tell me how to make the paper ornament ball? Thank You Toad33

Shadowfury (author)2008-12-08

Why not just sink-fold one of the triangles into the module and join it with the triangle of another? It would be a little more difficult, but it would save you the hassle of sitting there waiting for the glue to dry.

Rachel Lee (author)2008-10-22

i added a small star to the centre of each medallion :-)

that looks so good. I'M SO CONFUSED! Why can't I do it!?

Just glue some stars to the center of the module.

The5thElementMamma (author)2008-12-04

This part has me so confused. I can not seem to get it to look like this no matter how hard I am trying. I am really aggravated so i'm just going to come back later.

ccjones22 (author)2008-10-23

This makes me long for Christmas! I can't wait to get our Artificial Christmas TreesArtificial Christmas Trees out and start decorating! Thanks for reminding me that Christmas is almost here!

jasper28 (author)2008-05-28

I love these! I used to do them all the time. They're great for decorations. I have not done them for a while since I found another type that you don't have to glue, but it's much more complex. This one looks complex, but in reality it is easy to do.

Keyth (author)2008-04-05

Got it. Here's the pic, y'all!

hav2sing (author)2007-12-29

I love the idea of recycling old Christmas Cards and scraps of paper, using colorful magazines etc... to create these. I got stuck on step Number 8 -- it took me a long time to figure it out, and it was only because of the pictures... so excellent job on the photos!! I used pages from a catalogue, and used a bone folder and a toothpick to help me make the smaller folds as the project got smaller. To put the string on for an ornament, I use "Zots" (tm) clear adhesive dots 3-D -- I find that the "Ultra" variety are super sticky, large and easy to use. Putting on some kind of acrylic spray would help these perhaps not be as fragile...? Thanks for posting this... I love it!! :D

fingers (author)2007-12-27

I had fun with this until I got to step eight..after an hour of trying I have given up..seems like instructions could be better with more details for those who have never done this..thank you

s0dreadful (author)2007-12-21

Thank you soooo much for this how-to!! It is incredible! I love origami but I usually get frustrated, even with "easy" stuff. But this, although really intricate, is not that difficult; and it is so beautiful! Thank you, it's the perfect little gift.

AdamK (author)2007-08-09

This is a great idea. The instructable is a bit confusing, because there are so many folds. I was completely lost on step 3 when it said "fold into eight rectangles" and the picture showed four. And then it said "cut" and I couldn't figure out what to cut for the life of me. The title helped there, because I hadn't quite caught on we were making rectangles.I also sat there dumbfounded every time it said "see photos". In the end, I think I figured it out, though I've yet to try it. I would suggest that you add more instructions in place of the "look at photos", as it does tend to get a little confusing. I do like it, though. A lot.

syribia (author)AdamK2007-08-09

Thank you for your comments, when I finished it yesterday I thought "Hope is clear enough to be understood" but you are right, it's confusing.

I'm going to rewrite some parts to make it clearer. However your comments will be much appreciated to correct it because my native language is Spanish, so my English grammar and vocabulary are not as good as I'd like. Furthermore, this is the first time I try to explain how to make origami (if it is hard for me to explain it in Spanish, just imagine the challenge that is to me explaining it in English, but I love challenges, so here I am _)

sasandow (author)syribia2007-12-10

Hi, This is the first Instructable I've seen and I think it's wonderful. I can't wait to try it. But even more amazing than your idea is that you provided it in English when Spanish is your first language! Trying to explain three dimensional objects and actions using words is hard enough in our first language, but to be able to do it in a second language is awesome to me. Espero que yo podria hacerlo, pero that's just about all the Spanish I know. !Saludos!

About This Instructable




Bio: Food Chemist, bug lover and enthusiastic crafter with a passion for papercrafts, specially origami
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