Christmas balls stuffed with … stuff

I got home from work yesterday to find out that the Topboxes I ordered on Black Friday had arrived.  So that was fun — 4 boxes and one little pouch full of treasures — makeup, hair stuff, bath stuff, nail polish.  Lots of stuff for a good price.

Anyway, each of my 4 boxes came packed with this stuff.

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Pretty packing stuff

 

This is the kind of stuff I hate to throw out because I’m sure I’ll have a use for it some day but then I end up storing it and it takes up space and then I finally toss it out years later.  But since I’ve been in such a crafty mood lately, I looked at that stuff and said to myself “hey, that stuff would look good inside those Christmas balls I bought.”

Last week I bought these empty plastic Christmas ball ornaments.  They were $5 per pack at Walmart.  They come in 3 sizes, this is the largest and they come 4 to a pack.  Each size is the same prices, but there are more in the box (meaning the medium sized ones have 6 in the box and the little ones have 9 in the box).

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This is the large size ornament

 

I bought them because I was going to make some glittered ornaments (which turn out to be easy to make and quite pretty — but I’ll make a separate post on that).  Anyway, I was inspired by looking that the crinkly packing stuff, which had a significant amount of gold in it.  So I set out to make an ornament stuffed with the gold crinkly packing stuff.

This turned out to be rather easy to do — just stuff the gold stuff in the ornament until you’re satisfied — but also a bit of a pain in the ass, because I wanted JUST gold in the ornament and this stuff was all stuck together, and it took a while to just pick out the gold.  I like gold.  I think it probably took about 15 minutes to make it.

I’m happy with it though.

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Ornament during the stuffing process

 

Then I thought, hey why not just stuff the crinkly stuff in all mixed up like it is.  That one took maybe 2 minutes to make.  Maybe not even that long.

Then I started thinking, “Hey, what else could I stick in these balls?”  I happened upon some red beads I had from another crafty endeavour last year, and decided to try those.  That’s another 2 minute project.

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Beads everywhere

 

And then I thought of this jar of glitter gravel I got for $2 at the dollar store, and decided that would look good in the balls too.  You might want the help of a small funnel for this one.  And pour the gravel very slowly through the funnel, otherwise it will jam up and not come out.

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Blurry picture of the $2 glitter gravel

 

Then I grabbed some glass jewel like things I had intended for another project and started filling a ball with them.  I ended up recovering those for their intended purpose, but they looked nice.

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Glass jewel things

 

Then I thought — old jewelry.  So I rounded up some beads from broken bracelets and necklaces, and stuffed them in the balls.

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This one was made from stones on an old broken necklace

 

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And this one from the beads from a couple of broken bracelets

 

Really, the options are only limited by the size of the opening.  Tinsel would be nice.  Maybe even tissue paper.  Ribbons.  Small toys.  Cat fur.  Okay, maybe not cat fur, but I do have an abundance of that.  And there’s no reason that they necessarily have to be Christmas themed.  Depending on what you put inside the ball, you could hang it in a window year round.

And as fate would have it, today I stumbled across this Buzzfeed post that gives 39 ways to decorate a glass ornament.  I’m sure many, although not all, of them would work on plastic too.

Some tips:

  • I found bright colours worked better.  I just liked the look better.  So I’m happier with the red, white and gold ones than the ones I made from beads.
  • If you’re using beads on a string like I did, when you get close to the top of the ornament, you’ll likely need to cut the beads into smaller strands so you can better shove them in.
  • If you use glitter gravel, shake it down as you go.  It settles a lot.  Of course you could also leave the ornament partially full.  That would be nice too.
  • If you’re using something with any weight to it, consider what you’ll be doing with the ornament.  Even the red plastic beads, which were fairly light, would weigh down a Christmas tree quite a bit.  Glass beads even more.  If you’re going to hang the ornaments, you may want to seal up the opening with some fairly strong glue, otherwise the plug (is that what you call it?) will fall out of the ornament when you hang it.
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The final results

 

In the end, this is super easy to do, really quick, gives nice results, and you could do it even with really young children.

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