Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sequin Christmas "Light bulb" Ornament and Tutorial

So I'm making these sequin "lightbulb" Christmas ornaments and I'm getting some decent feedback with them :)  So I decided to take some pics while I was crafting them today and share the how-to's in making them with my future blog friends in the form of a tutorial.  This is my second tutorial on my blog, so take it easy on me, ok? ;)

Ok, so here's the picture I took of several of them once they were done (ok, actually the pinkish one laying on its side isn't totally done as I ran out of the sequin string for that color, but it WILL be done once I get some more).

Shades of Safhire - Sequin Christmas "Light bulb" Ornament and  Tutorial

So buy a bag of egg-shaped styrofoam and a bag of small ball-shaped styrofoam shapes.



I bought a bag of this type, but haven't tried it yet, so I can't say one way or the other if it's better or worse than the above type:


For each ornament, you need one small ball foam shape and one egg foam shape:


These are the tools I found really useful to make these.  Tweezers and cuticle scisssors (which is a little-known crafty secret of scrapbookers and crafters and I recommend for small projects) and a stab and grab tool (to use as an awl to poke the hole in the top and adjust sequins that get out of line. Oh, and hot glue of course.

Get yourself some stringed sequins like this (I forgot to snap a pic of the sequins before they went on the ornament, so I grabbed these two from the web):

If you go to a craft store and buy it by the yard, you'll pay about 99 cents a yard.  I got some at Walmart, also, for 59 cents a yard (much cheaper!), but the colors are limited.  But if you can stop there and get the colors you CAN find there (if you can put up with the time you have to stand and wait for someone to come and take care of you) before you go to the craft or fabric store, you can save some money.

Next you'll need some thin silver ribbon. (Sorry the picture is a little blurry...it was taken with my cell phone camera as my regular camera needed charged back up).  You want ribbon that is silver that's 1/8-inch wide so that when you wind it around the end, it resembles the silver part of an old-time Christmas light bulb that screws down into the socket.

I picked up a bag of these to fill in areas I missed in overlapping my sequin string too. It's not a necessity, but comes in handy till you get the feel of working with the sequins and hot glue together.



Ok, the first thing you want to do is pick up your styrofoam egg and push down on it and kind of smush it into the table till you get a flattened bottom (make sure the big end is down and the narrow end up).

Make SURE you only hold it by its sides when smushing pushing down to flatten it.  Don't push on it from it's top or you won't get the  light-bulbish (is that a word...well now it is :) ) desired shaped. It will just look like a misshapen blob (trust me on this...I made the mistake of doing it on my first attempt!) :)

Having said that about the egg-shaped foam, now pull out the small ball-shaped foam and you CAN push down from the top to flatten this out on BOTH sides (top and bottom).

This is the desired shape you want for this one:


Take your handy dandy glue gun (which I still have yet to make friends with -I hate the strings..ugh) and glue the pieces together like thus (I took the picture of this before remembering to flatten out the bottom of the egg shape):


Once you've done that, you'll probably have a small gap where the two pieces meet. Fill that in with hot glue:

Now the pretty part begins :)  Take the end of your sequin string and begin gluing it on at the tip of the "bulb" (the egg shape). 

Just kind of swirl the string around till the tip is covered:


Then just start gluing the sequin string on winding and overlapping slightly as you go.  You want to overlap just slightly so you don't see white between the strings, but not so much that the sequins start to kind of stand on their sides (I did that on my first attempt...it's not very pretty, shiny sequin or not :) ):


Keep winding and gluing, winding and gluing...

 Till you've covered the entire "bulb" portion to here:

Once your sequin part is done, snip the end off and make sure the end is glued and looks good.  Then take out your "stab n grab" (sounds criminal, huh? :) ) tool (or a small awl or something pointy) and poke a hole in the middle of the top in the white flattened-out-ball part:


Get your ribbon you want to use as the loop to hang the ornament by and cut out a length about 6-7 inches or so:

 Tie the ends of the ribbon together (so the loop will be more secure when glued in there).  Then fill the
 hole about halfway with hot glue.  Use your tool of choice to push the knotted end of your ribbon loop into the hot glue in the hole:



Then add more hot glue till the ribbon is glued in there securely:

Next you'll want to glue small lengths of the silver ribbon across the top of the end piece.  What I did was apply one thread of hot glue through the loop and onto each side of it on the exposed foam and laid the ribbon onto the glue and then using the small cuticle scissors (sometimes also called mustache scissors or something...just small scissors that curve up at the end) and cut the ribbon at the area the foam starts to curve down:


I started out just cutting one-inch lengths and gluing those on, but quickly learned to cut after I'd  laid the ribbon on so as to save on ribbon


Once the top is nice and silvery, take your silver ribbon and glue and wind and glue and wind and...well you get the picture:


Till the whole white area is covered.  Snip the ribbon and tuck the end into the crevice gluing it between the portions:

And voila! A shiny, colorful "light bulb" ornament to hang on your Christmas tree :)

There are lots of colors to choose from depending on availability in your craft or fabric store (or Walmart, etc.):

Shades of Safhire - Sequin Christmas "Light bulb" Ornament and  Tutorial

I have to say, it takes a little practice to get the knack of working with the hot glue and sequin strings. The main thing I can suggest is that I learned that if I only squeeze the glue gun trigger about halfway and applied a very thin line of glue, it seemed to leave a lot less strings to clean up afterwards.  On other craft projects, to clean up the hot glue strings, you can just take a hair dryer and blow it on the strings and they kind of disappear, but not on this project (drats!).  The strings seem to be attracted to the sequins (who can blame them, I love colorful shiny things too!) and grab on with all their might.  So, if you can get a handle on the strings as you work, you're a lot better off when it comes clean up time :)  It just takes practice and getting a feel for how the glue responds to the sequins.

I hope this helps you make your Christmas tree prettier than ever this year!

















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