Pretty Paper Ornaments (and the saga of People Magazine)

December 20, 2011

This past weekend I was going over to friend’s house to help decorate her tree and do other fun Christmas activities. I wanted to contribute something to the festivities, so I decided to make an ornament for her tree.

I had seen these ornaments at West Elm and thought, “how fun are these? I want to make them!”

Newsprint Quilled Ornaments from westelm.com

I’ve never quilled paper before, but it couldn’t be that hard, right? Wrapping paper tightly around a stick…seems easy enough. I watched some youtube videos on it though to be sure my skills would be up to par.  I found this one especially helpful:


The ornaments in that video are way more fancy than ones from West Elm, and I liked the idea of reusing something from around the house. So I decided to use a People Magazine I had.

all of the above = fun friday night

Before I move on to the nitty gritty of  making these ornaments, I want to give a brief overview of the significance of this People Magazine how the magazine normally weaves its way through my family through a series of blobby diagrams:

Every Christmas, for who knows how long, my mom gives my grandma a year subscription to People.

My grandma then reads the magazine after she gets it in the mail every week. Then she passes it on to her neighbor across the street who gets a chance to catch up on the latest celebrity news.

She returns it to my grandma who then passes it back to my mom.

By now the puzzler is half done and the Star Tracks are old news. But still, the magazine continues its journey to my sister.

So wait, what the heck? What’s missing in this flow-chart-of-People-Magazine-sharing craziness?

Sometimes I’ll squeeze in between steps 2 and 3 or 3 and 4, but only if I’m at the right place at the right time…

Ok, Steph, I thought you were going to talk about making ornaments! Get on with it already!

Ok, ok, I’m getting on with it. But first the significance of this particular people Magazine?

That’s right! It skipped steps 2-4 and made a detour straight to me! Fresh Puzzler and everything! So in honor of it, I immortalized and transformed parts of it into beautiful ornaments. (Ok, so it wasn’t  really that big of a deal, but fun blobby diagrams, eh?)

I looked for pages that were brightly colored, ripped them out and cut them into 1/4″ strips lengthwise.


The woman in the video has a quilling tool, which, if you’re going to do this a lot, I would suggest looking into that. I just used the skinniest double pointed needle I had, and rolled up the strips, colored side out.

It took about a whole sheet’s worth of strips to make one ornament. I ended up making two.

Lessons learned/things to try:

  • These ornaments are pretty fragile. They can easily become unwound from the middle and spiral out of formation. It’s fixable, but can be annoying. This could probably be fixed by using more sturdy paper or if there was a way to shellac them to give them some more strength
  • I like that the West Elm ornaments are “outlined” with paper. I think you could easily do this by using a cookie cutter as a form.
  • Try using newsprint or much longer strips of paper. That way the coil would be tighter and may hold its place better.

Even though they’re fragile. They still look pretty on the tree!

Can you believe it’s less than a week til Christmas!? Enjoy the last few days of the Holiday Craze!

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  • Reply intomind December 20, 2011 at 9:23 am

    haha i love the flow charts! 🙂

  • Reply Jenny December 20, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Too funny Steph, True, but funny.

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