Monday, December 13, 2010

Rag Ball Ornaments (and Semi-Tutorial)

The decorating here is coming along slowly but surely.

The tree is finished—yippee! Here’s a peek…

I also made a wreath out of my beloved upholstering webbing, but it still needs a bow of some sort to complete it. Cindy at Cottage Instincts made a cool one and I’m hoping to try my hand at it this week. 

There are a few vignettes around the house, but I haven’t had decent enough light with the overcast weather to take proper photos. I may just suck it up and post grainy pictures since we’re less than 2 weeks away from Christmas. Eeee!

However, I did manage to take a few pictures of these little gems.

Rag ball ornaments!

Tina at Rubies Place inspired me to try them and I thought they would be simple but festive embellishments for a plain garland hung on the stair rails.

Using an old stash of red ticking, my glue gun, and 3" Styrofoam balls from the Dollar Tree (two balls for a buck), I whipped together seven in less than an hour's time. 

If you're interested in making you're own, here are the basic steps:

*Cut or tear strips of fabric about 1/2" wide. I believe Tina cut her fabric with pinking shears; I chose to go for a more rustic look and tore mine. (The trick to this is to snip the fabric about an inch up and then when you yank it, it rips in a perfectly straight line!)

*Cut the strip from the rest of the fabric. Put a dab of hot glue on the ball and attach one end of the fabric strip to the ball. 

*Proceed to wrap the fabric around the ball. (I periodically changed the direction I was wrapping the fabric by folding it at a 90-degree angle and keeping my finger on the fold until I could wrap the next loop of fabric around and hold it in place. Does that make sense? Alternatively, you can twist the fabric, too.) 

*Keep wrapping until you reach the end of the strip. Then grab another strip if needed, affix it with hot glue and continue wrapping until no Styrofoam is visible. 

*Many of the fabric edges will not be laying flat at this point. Simply slide the tip of your glue gun underneath the offending edge(s), squeeze out a bit of glue, and then press the fabric into place.

Because I did this project on a bit of a whim, I didn’t have any wire handy to create loops by which to hang the balls. Instead, I improvised with paper clips.

*Bend half of the paper clip away from itself. Snip that part off with wire cutters to reveal a U-shaped piece to insert into the ball. 

Now, at this juncture, I will add that you should do as I say and not as I did. Because I was flying by the seat of my pants so enthralled in making these ornaments, I didn't think through the steps and waited to insert the paper clip hooks after applying the fabric. Try piercing through several layers of fabric with the semi-blunt ends of a paper clip. You will not find much success, my friends! I had to take a little hammer to beat insert the paper clip hooks into my rag balls. :)

*Make this easier on yourself than I did and insert the paper clips into the balls *before* you start wrapping the fabric. Adding a spot of hot glue on the paper clip ends ensures the loop won't separate from the ornament.

Whew!  It's really not hard if you learn from my mistakes--or approach the project with forethought! 

So, after that bit of finagling on my part, here are the balls happily attached to the garland. 

 That livens up the garland just enough, don't you think?


  1. I love these! I have some foam balls upstairs in my cra(p)ft room waiting for some inspiration. Think I just found it :) Thanks for the shout out too!

  2. Thanks for becoming a follower and for the sweet comment! Your home is BEAUTIFUL! I love your tree and the ornaments. I would love love love to have a live tree, but my bf is allergic. Boo. Maybe one day his allergies will magically disappear and we will get to share one of my favorite traditions - going out and picking that perfect tree! :)

  3. Very cute! I have some blue ticking I might try this out on... :)

  4. Beautiful, Erin! So sweet & your home is lovely, cozy, and the perfect holiday home! Thanks so much for sharing!



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