Hand Cut Filigree Christmas Ornaments

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About: Welcome! Pleased to meet you, I am Barb; a Maker. I have been making things AND explaining how to make things for as long as I can remember. I was all about DIY before it was a popular term. I absolutely lov...

Can you hold a pencil? Draw a line? Doodle? 'Then you can also do this. My projects are usually a bit more complicated but this one still looks quiet impressive. It’s also quite therapeutic, easy going and has so many options. I bet you can get a few of these Hand Cut Filigree Christmas Ornaments done in no time… (take advantage of after Christmas deals)

Supplies:

Step 1: Gather You Materials:

Another reason this is so easy as it needs very little supplies and they are quite inexpensive. You will need a tool though, what better reason to get a new tool?!

The Easter Eggs that I designed came out so wonderful that I just had to have a Christmas version! This hot knife tool will cut plastic like ‘butter’ and even flow through foam-core with ease! No dust or cutting or grinding tools. It’s so quiet and easy to hold. I have yet to explore all the wood burning and soldering abilities of this tool but love the knife tip. Maybe Santa brought you one...

Step 2: The Designing

I bet you think you can’t draw a design… If you can doodle some shapes or anything that catches your fancy, then you can make a design. My theme of the year is Deer and rustic nature so I envisioned a forest silhouette. Need help? Google will oblige much inspiration for ‘silhouette’ designs. It’s that simple. Draw up some designs or just go for it… Abstract designs can just flow from your imagination… take the pressure off as they just cost pennies!

You can draw the designs on with pencil if it’s textured or use a ‘sharpie’ marker. The marker can be wiped off afterward with some rubbing alcohol.

Do remember that the designs need to stay connected by shapes in some way, kind of like stencil letters. Making shapes by cutting holes rather than cutting out large shapes. I like to plan by sketching using positive/negative colours.

Step 3: The Cutting:

Once your have your design it's time to start cutting. Using the hot knife is pretty well the same as using an xacto knife. The difference is that you don’t need as much pressure since it cuts not by force but by melting. You do need to be safe though as there may be fumes from the plastic so do have good ventilation. It’s great that it is not burning or creating smoke but there may still be something emitted. A small fan can also keep fumes away from breathing them. I did not smell any odour though. A very small portion next to the blade does melt and re-solidifies as soon as you slide past. A small fan blowing will help redirect any fumes. I did not smell anything while working on mine.

  • Make sure you have a stable surface so that you don't slip with the knife.
  • Plunge the tip about 2-4mm into the plastic and with patience let the melting ease the cutting.
  • Turn the knife to make cutting around curves easier.
  • Do not apply too much pressure as the heat will do the work.
  • When coming to the end of the shape 'flick' the piece out of the hole
  • Remember; you can always cut more but not add back...
  • A lot of small 'holes' will be stronger than a few large ones (just like lace and filigree designs)

You will have pieces all over the place but at least it's better than a lot of dust!

Step 4: Cut Entire Design

You can work all the way around the ball for maximum effect and light.

It can be a silhouette scene or just random designs... whatever strikes your fancy!

After cutting you may want to remove the pencil marks and a gum eraser works well. I had even just gently scrubbed it with a soapy tooth brush to clean up the pencil. They are quite resilient. If you are very fussy you may want to sand the edges but I did not think they warranted it. You can always cut away more but adding is impossible.

Some balls are smooth and some are coated with glitter. I like the glitter ones. I'm noticing more kinds all the time! I was never a big fan of the 'dull' balls since they were so devoid of character but this changes it all up! There are even some that are like mercury glass! Get ready for next year!

Step 5: Display:

I can imagine this large ornament hanging in a window or from a light. It can turn and show the entire story…

Or use some micro-string lights to illuminate from behind. The light makes it's way through so wonderfully. I am especially happy with the white ones...

Step 6: Why Not Add Some Metallics?!

I have a favourite Filigree Pendant that I took inspiration from when cutting the heart shaped ones. I like the tear drop shapes as they cut easily and they work well together; like 'doodleing'... so easy. 'But so pretty!

You have seen it second here! (First on my site )

For more unique 'not-your-typical-DIY-projects' please visit my site

HAPPY MAKING!! and remember; yes, you can!

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19 Discussions

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Irini Sez

26 days ago

your creations are very beautiful, I have not made any dull metal but now I will try it

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attosa

4 months ago

I love that you won the challenge!!!!! <3

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cvissa

4 months ago

Beautiful! and congrats on winning the holiday decor challenge!

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MadeByBarboffseid

Reply 4 months ago

Thanks! Funny how no one thought of it before, none that I could find anyways.

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Carmel MO

4 months ago

Absolutely love this, what an innovative idea. Love the fact that it’s upcycling, must give you a thrill when you see your old ornaments looking so fresh and different.

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MadeByBarbCarmel MO

Reply 4 months ago

Oh yes! I see so many at the thrift stores! Endless options, even put a little battery light inside.

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MadeByBarbCarmel MO

Reply 4 months ago

Yes, for sure! And it makes a great gift as well and such keepsakes!

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Theristia

4 months ago

Have you considered a water soluble pen for making the markings? Then you wouldn't risk the eraser damaging anything by accident on the thinner bits. Though I haven't tried them on plastic, I'm pretty sure they'd work.

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MadeByBarbTheristia

Reply 4 months ago

I had thought of a disappearing ink one, but was not sure of my memory was right, and it was just for fabric. Watersoluable would be good but I'm afraid my hand getting sweaty may make it smudge. I also just washed it with a soft toothbrush and it cleaned it up. Maybe good planning of thin marker lines that can be cut away would also work. Thanks for the comment!

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misterxp

4 months ago

Wow! Incredible! Will try one for Easter! Had to vote this!

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ToddW63

Question 4 months ago on Step 1

You do beautiful work, what size ornaments are you using?

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MadeByBarbToddW63

Reply 4 months ago

I used all kinds, the silver are the 3-4" size and the white are the large 6-8" size meant for outside trees. I have not 'met a ball' that does not work...

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Cherzer

4 months ago

Love these! You have a distinct style. I said to myself “I bet this is by the same person that made the leaf printed quilt.” So I looked it up, and I was right. :)

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Penolopy Bulnick

4 months ago

These look so nice! The metalic looking ones are the best :D

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MadeByBarbattosa

Reply 4 months ago

Thanks! I had a lot of fun with these!