Introduction: Polystyrene Christmas Baubles
Welcome to my first Instructable. I'll be showing you how to make some great looking Christmas Baubles that will last. They make a great group project (all the more to decorate the tree!) so get your little elves in a production line and get cracking!
Polystyrene Balls - This instructable uses balls of 50mm but the size is all up to you!
Bamboo Skewers - To keep your baubles from rolling away and making a mess.
Tissue Paper - I used mostly red and green, my local craft shop sold them in A3 sizes and I have plenty left over from a batch of 40
Hanging Pins - I bought these from www.craftmill.co.uk, you could use bendy wire but these make the baubles look much better.
Jingle bells - optional but I've used them to decorate this batch.
Ribbon - Again your choice, mine is about 10mm wide.
PVA Glue - Watered down to about 1:1 this keeps the tissue paper looking matt not shiney when you finish. It also helps flatten the paper better!
UHU - Or equivalent, to stick your ribbons on with.
Packaging - Optional
Card Stock - Any colour, you can get two box bases to an A4 sheet
A4 Clear Acetate - This is the lid of the box, you will need one sheet of A4 per box, unless your printer wont crop it.
Inkjet Printer - Well its quicker than pencil and a ruler, but I guess that works too.
Step 1: Bauble Tree
So you've got your material and you've got your elves. Time to water down that glue and get cracking. Elf #1 needs to take the tissue paper and rip it into small pieces about 2cm square ish. Neatness is not required here to rip away to your heart's content, don't use scissors! The edges won't be hidden when you coat the balls.
So Elf#1 is busy, Elf#2 needs to start skewering your baubles to be onto the bamboo sticks so you can have a better grip on your work. Grab yourself an empty glass to rest them in. With your glue and a paintbrush its time to get Elf#3 working. Coat your baubles in the ripped up tissue paper coating the whole thing. Use the glass to let them dry. When you've done as Elf labour laws will allow, get the kettle on and watch them clear up while the glue dries.
Step 2: Baubles!
So you're bauble tree has dried, if Elf#1 did a good enough job you should still have some pieces of paper left. If he didn't send him to the corner with no snack. Moving on, take your baubles off the skewers and use the left over pieces to cover the holes left. These should dry pretty quickly, but there's no harm in a brew while you wait.
Now you've found your fancy ribbon its time to get you're elves back in line. Elf#1 needs to use a tiny spot UHU or other such stickyness to attach your ribbon to the bauble and wrap it around. While he keeps that up its time to make your baubles jinlge.
I got my team to use the pins from craftmill.co.uk, the little crowns add the finishing touch. Time to get the elf with the steadiest hands to keep noise to a minimum else that festive jingling might rile up your tiny production team. Thread the bells onto the brass pin and seal with the little crown. Line up your pins to the bottom centre of your ball and just push on your bell, if need be use a tiny bit of glue to secure it.
Time to pass on to Elf#3 to finish up. Using the same pins or a hoop of wire he can add a hook to hang the bauble off the tree. With some time and gentle coaxing your team should finish up a good batch in no time. If you don't want to make boxes for your baubles then you're done, pat yourself on the back for being such a good project manager and give your Elves a break. If you want to make them look pretty press on!
Step 3: Presentation Is Key
My batch of baubles is actually going on sale at a craft fair in December so I need to make them look good so they'll sell. Damn Elf Union demands I pay them more than cookie crumbs and good intentions.
There are plenty of box nets on the internet to find and adapt or if you're patient you could design your own. The boxes I've made have a clear lid so that the contents are clearly visable inside. It's best to give your bauble a little room so I made a box 10mm bigger than my baubles. I made mine at 50mm so my box is 60mm wide giving them 5mm spacing, you could make that a cube and do one per box. The one's in this instructable are in packs of two, so the box measures 60mmx120mmx60mm.
If you want to make a clear lid make your card base around half the height of your baubles, so with mine thats 30mm deep. If you've used a printer to mark out your box net you'll be pleased to know it can do clear acetate too. The lid needs to be at full size so it sits in the bottom and covers your baubles. So 60x60x120, be careful as the ink will smudge off the film, great for cleaning up, not so much if you're cutting. When you have your shape use a damp tissue to clean off the ink.
Fold your acetate, you shouldn't need glue for this. Place your folded acetate into the box bottom to complete the box. So now you're done. You're baubles look great packaged up and safe to gift, keep or sell!