When we were kids my mom used to do crafts with us all the time. That is how Stay At Home Moms help pass the time and bond with their children. It also works great as a babysitting method. Give us some glue, glitter and paper and see what wonders we create! One year when things were really rough on us financially she brought down all her crafting boxes and had us make our gifts for that year. She taught us how to make tons of different ornaments too, from little dolls made from beads, to small gift boxes folded from old Christmas cards. My favorite was the teddy bear. Made from pipe cleaners and wooden beads this ornament was simple and fun to make. I’ve recreated the same steps my mom taught us here for you to try.
1. Pipe Cleaners (in teddy bear colors)
2. Wooden Beads (of various sizes)
6. Glue* (optional for keeping arms, tail, and ribbon secure)
Select two beads of similar size and coloring from your stack and pull out two of the same colored pipe cleaners. Note: I’ve found that the mid-sized wooden beads work best. The small ones are harder for little hands to do but they can still be used if you wish to make one. The really large ones need glue otherwise the holes in the center are too big to hold in the arms and tail by friction and pressure alone.
Slide your beads onto both pipe cleaners. Make sure you have about an inch and half at the top to make your ears. You can go smaller or larger depending on how big or small your beads are. 1 1/2 inch works best for the mid-sized beads.
Begin curling down the pipe cleaners at the top until you make a nice little spiral. Stop when you hit the top of the beads. Repeat for the second ear.
Cut off all but an 1 1/2in from the bottom of the pipe cleaner. These will become the legs. I like to give my bears springy legs so I wrap them around something cylindrical. You may need to form them up once you’ve wound them so they sit right. Complete this for both legs.
For the arms, cut from your excess pipe cleaners about an inch and a half. Fold down one end so it forms a right angle. This will be the part you put into the bead. Coil the arms like you did the legs. Once the arm is coiled slide the little tab you created into the top of the body bead. This is when you might want to use a little glue. Dab it on the tab and slide it in the body. Repeat for second arm.
Cut another inch and half for the tail. Make sure to make another tab by folding the end into a right angle. Then curl the tail like you did the ears. Once formed, slide it into the back of the body bead at the bottom. This is where you can use some glue if you find the tail won’t stay on its own.
Now it’s time for the face! Once your glue sets draw on the beads with the sharpie and give your bear some sew lines and a cute little smile.
Lastly you want to add the ribbon so your bear can hang from the tree. Cut a small length of ribbon (about 5 inches) and knot it at the end. With the knot to the back of the bear bring the ribbon up and under the ears. With a pin or something small, shove the knotted end into the hole of the head bead, hiding it from view. Once it dries he’s ready to adorn your tree!
For more variety use these funky stripped pipe cleaners and make yourself a whole jungle of creatures to hang from the tree. Instead of spiraling the ear you can cut it shorter and fold it into a triangle to make pointed cat ears. Leave the tail long and uncoiled for that feline look. Get creative!
For more creative ideas and inspiration check out thistleandleaves.com