Julie Bowersett


Blog Writing Course Alumni

From Guide to Art Schools


Entries in ornament (4)


Woodland Nature Clip Ornament Tutorial

Collect your materials and grab your glue gun, and in 15 minutes you will have a lovely gift topper that can then be clipped onto a Christmas tree as a decoration.


  • large clothespin
  • natural colored raffia
  • small cinnamon sticks
  • assorted dried naturals such as tiny pinecones, star anise, dried citrus peel, rose hips, etc.  (collect your own or purchase a box of chunky potpourri and use the various components)
  • glue gun with glue sticks
  • gold glitter spray (optional)

Begin by tying the raffia into a soft, loose bow.  You will trim the ends to the desired length later.

Securely glue the bow to the clothespin.

Glue two (or more) cinnamon sticks to the bow.

Choose a large, central element and glue to the center of the bow.  Continue adding smaller elements until you have a pleasing arrangement.  Make sure each piece is securely glued down.

Trim the ends of the raffia bow to the desired length.  Try to cut one or two strands at a time, at varying lengths, so the ends don’t look “chopped off”.

You can stop here or add some glitter spray which I think adds a lovely sparkle.

I like to wrap my gift in brown craft paper and use jute twine to tie the package.  Clip the clothespin to the center of the twine and spray the entire top of the box with the glitter spray.


Sweetgum Ball Topiary Ornament Tutorial

Gather some balls from a sweetgum tree and pick up a few other materials from your local craft store to make this quick and easy ornament.  There is some drying time required for several steps so plan accordingly.


  • 1 sweetgum ball
  • 18 gauge paper stem wire
  • 1” clay flower pot
  • small piece of Styrofoam
  • plaster of Paris
  • Spanish moss
  • ribbon
  • gold spray paint
  • glue (hot glue gun or other craft glue)
  • monofilament fishing line
  • wire cutters

Push the Styrofoam piece into the bottom of the clay pot (I used a small piece of packing material; a Styrofoam ball or packing peanut would work, too).

Cut two pieces of wire about 3.5” long.  Twist them together by overlapping their centers and twisting one around the other until they are twisted together their entire length.

Glue the wire into one of the holes in the gumball and let dry.

The wire may need to be trimmed slightly at this point.  Hold the wired gumball up to the pot and check that the proportions are pleasing.  In my sample I ended up with about 2” of wire between the bottom of the gumball and the top of the pot.  Trim the wire as needed.  Push the wire into the Styrofoam in the bottom of the pot.

Mix a small amount of plaster in a disposable cup.

Pour the plaster over the Styrofoam, leaving some space at the top of the clay pot.  Let dry.

Glue some Spanish moss in the top of the pot to hide the plaster.

Spray paint the entire ornament gold (or another color of your choice).  Use several light coats and let dry between coats.  Make sure you paint the bottom of the pot as well.

Tie a ribbon around the stem of the topiary.  Glue monofilament fishing line to the top of the ornament for a hanger.  Try to find one or two holes at the very top of the gumball and insert the fishing line into those holes.  You want the ornament to hang straight and feel balanced; if there is one hole at the very top center you can insert both ends of the line into that one hole.  If there are two holes on either side of the top center glue one end of the fishing line into each hole.


Yoyo Ornament Tutorial


Here is a quick and cute ornament to give your sewing friends. 


•             mini clothespin

•             two coordinating fabrics

•             Clover yoyo maker (optional)

•             hand needle/thread

•             small thimble (I spray painted mine gold to match my fabrics)

•             ribbon

•             button or other embellishment

•             glue gun and/or Jewel It glue

I used Clover brand yoyo makers to make the yoyos for this project.  They are wonderful to use, fast and easy, producing a beautiful finished product.  You can, easily, make yoyos “from scratch” if you prefer.

Choose the size yoyos you want to make and the appropriate fabric.  I used the small (1.25” ) and large (1.75”) yoyo maker for this project.  [In retrospect I think the bottom yoyo should be smaller as it is a little floppy on the clothespin.  Strive for 1.5” and 1.25” yoyos.]  The yoyo makers consist of two parts which snap together.  Essentially, you place your fabric between the two halves and cut out a rough circle. 

Holding the seam allowance flat against the plastic parts you stitch through the slots on the maker making a nice, even stitch all the way around.  When you are finished you simply draw up the thread to close the yoyo.  If using the yoyo maker, follow the instructions included with the product.

If you are making the yoyos by hand, begin with a circle of fabric about twice the desired finished size (3” circle for a 1.5” finished yoyo).  Turn under 1/8” along the perimeter of the circle and stitch a running stitch through the seam allowance all the way around the circle.  Draw up the thread to close the yoyo and tie off.  There are plenty of tutorials on youtube demonstrating the technique for yoyo making if you need some guidance.

Here are my two completed yoyos.

Glue the largest one to the clothespin with the glue gun.  (Helpful hint:  leave a little opening at the center of the largest yoyo to insert some glue between the layers.  This helps stabilize the yoyo on the clothespin a bit.)  Glue the smaller yoyo on top of the larger.

Glue the thimble on top of the yoyos.  I decided to use Jewel It glue to attach the thimble as sometimes hot glue does not adhere very well to metal or other slick surfaces and tends to pop off.  If you use a glue like Jewel It allow for longer drying time.

Tie a loopy bow with the ribbon.  I secured the center with a small piece of wire.  You could also tie a conventional overhand bow or use some other pleasing design.

Glue the bow to the side of the ornament.  Glue a button to the center (or use another embellishment such as a ribbon rose).


Silver Spider Tutorial


  • Small silver bulb ornament
  • 64 silver bugle beads
  • 1 clear, faceted plastic bead
  • 2 silver sequins (optional, see note)
  • 28 gauge silver beading wire
  • glue (I used Jewel-It but any glue appropriate for metal, glass, plastic will work; I don't recommend hot glue)
  • Wire cutters/pliers
  • Monofilament fishing line

Begin by preparing the tree ornament.  Remove any hardware from the opening at the top of the bulb.  There are a number of types of bulbs with differing types of hardware.  Mine had a piece of wire glued into the top, covered with metallic paper.  I used the pliers to pull the wire out and trimmed the paper even with the opening at the top of the bulb.

Next, glue the two silver sequins (eyes) to either side of the plastic faceted bead (head).  I found that placing the bead on a large tapestry needle made this task easier.  Set aside to dry.  NOTE:  I found that the sequins were almost invisible on the finished product and really feel this step is optional.

Cut four pieces of wire 5” long.  Working with one wire at a time, thread one bugle bead onto the wire, bend the wire over the bead and twist the end around the remaining wire to secure. 

Thread an additional 13 beads onto the wire for a total of 14.  Secure the last bead in the same manner as the first.  Repeat for all four wires.  Note that the beads will not fill the wire completely.

Lay the four wires parallel to each other.  Separate the beads in the center with 7 beads on each end of the wire.  Twist the wires together in the middle.  Continue twisting until the unit measures about 4” long.  This completes the legs.

Bend the center of the leg unit into a slight curve and glue it to the underside of the bulb.  Use plenty of glue for this step.

Glue the faceted head bead onto the end of the bulb and let dry.  Cut a piece of fishing line the desired length for a hanger.  Loop around the neck of the bulb, behind the legs, bring the ends to the top and tie an overhand knot to secure.  Trim to the desired length and tie another overhand knot at the end.

If you wish to give this as a gift, include a copy of the following story with the spider.  Right click on the image and “Save Image As” to a convenient place on your computer.  You can then insert the image into Word or other word processing file, resize it as desired, and print it out on cardstock.  Trim to size and punch a hole in the card.  Thread a thin piece of ribbon through the hole and tie through the spider’s hanger.