Finnish himmeli ornaments have been popping up all over Pinterest and I was inspired to try making them out of brass tubing. I'm super happy with the results and now have sturdy and beautiful ornaments that will be great gifts that last for many a holly jolly season to come!
Step 1: Supplies List
- small hobby miter box & saw
- ruler & pencil
- fine metal file or sand paper
- needle nose pliers
- work surface for metal piece prep that allows for the miter box to hang over surface edge (I just clamped a
piece of plywood to a metal work table) and on a floor that is
easy to sweep. Do not do the metal sawing over a carpeted area as the brass filings will be hard to remove.
- a clean work area for assembly once pieces are cut
- embroidery floss (thread) in bright, festive colors
- 2 x No.17 darning needles
- 1/8" x .014 (3.18mm x .355mm) round brass tubes in 12" pieces. Amount you'll need to buy depends on how
many ornaments you want to make. Here's the breakdown:
- one 4.5" octahedron himmeli = 3 x 12" pieces
- one 5" octahedron himmeli = 4 x 12" pieces
* ornaments are measured from top point to bottom point
Step 2: Tubular!
Once you've chosen the size(s) of himmeli you'd like to make and have purchased all the materials and tools you'll need, use the following measurement / quantity chart per ornament for the next step - tube cutting:
3" himmeli = 1 15/16" x 12 pieces
4.5" himmeli = 2 15/16" x 12 pieces (pictured above)
5" himmeli = 3 7/16" x 12 pieces
*The reason we measure 'just shy' of even inch numbers is to account for the thickness of the saw blade and that amount of material that will be lost. This way we won't go over our piece allotments per ornament that I outlined in the previous step. (saves a bit of $ per himmeli)
Measure and mark the first tube section using your ruler and pencil.
Place the tube in the second closest miter box groove and cut at the mark line using your hobby miter saw.
(I use the second closest groove because it makes the tube easier to hold down while cutting.
*PLEASE BE CAREFUL WHEN HANDLING THE CUT PIECES!! The ends will be sharp until we clean them up in the next step.
Now use that first cut piece to measure and cut the remaining pieces you need. (The number will depend on how many ornaments you're making)
You need 12 pieces per ornament.
Step 3: Safety First!
Now to clean up the ends and make them safe to handle for assembly!
First, place the end of one side of your needle nose pliers into the end of a tube section and twist it back and forth a few times. This 'reams' it out and cleans up the rough edge created by the saw.
Repeat this process on both ends of all your pieces.
Then gently sand the outside of all the ends by "rolling" them along your file or sand paper.
Now we're ready for assembly!
Step 4: Assembly Prep
For this process you'll need your:
- 2 x No.17 darning needles
- embroidery floss
- cut and cleaned brass tube sections
- clean, brass filing free work surface
Step 5: Connecting the Tubes
Thread one of your darning needles with the color of embroidery floss you'd like to use. (single thread, not double)
Following the 'map' above, thread the floss through all five pieces. Usually a little shake towards the ground will help the needle go through the tube, but if that isn't working for you, use the eye end of the second needle to help push the first needle through.
You will definitely need to use the needle push technique to get the floss back through the middle section, as it's the second pass through = two thread thicknesses.
Once it's through, give both threads a little pull to tighten/snug up all the pieces.
Then tie a knot to secure the snugness.
Repeat for the second set of five.
Step 6: Last Pieces Threaded
Thread both pieces of floss and pass them through the remaining tube piece.
Repeat for other set.
Step 7: Get Knotty!
Tie the two sections together as shown above.
Step 8: Repeat Knot
Tie the other ends of the sections together, as pictured above.
Step 9: Tying Up Loose Ends
Use a small section of floss to tie the first point/end together.
Step 10: Last Loose End!
Use a longer piece to tie up the other end. *The length of this piece of floss will determine how long the ornaments 'hanger' will be. If you have 10 foot ceilings and want to hang it from way up there, a) lucky you, and b) you'll need a lot of floss...
Step 11: Trim to Finish!
Use your scissors to trim off the floss ends that ARE NOT your hanger.
Be careful not to cut too close to the knots or there's the possibility that the knot will come undone and you'll have to redo that section. (boo)
And that's it! If you prefer the duller brass finish like I do, you're all done. If you'd like to have a more polished, high shine finish, use some brass polish to buff these beauties up to a wonderful bright shine.
Happy gifting & decorating everyone!