Hay Ornament and Tree Decorating Tips

Hay Ornament
OK, sometimes I make an ornament that is so easy I almost wonder if I should bother blogging about it. But I decided to do it for a couple of reasons. 1.) Nothing is simple to everybody, and 2.) It gives me another chance to talk about my tree decorating philosophy.

Doing as many trees as I’ve done over the years, I’ve come to believe that a tree where every ornament is a stand alone beauty is like a woman who wears too much jewelry. It can look cluttered and over done. Plus, if everything is special, nothing looks special, because there’s no place for your eyes to rest. So sometimes you need a relatively plain ornament to really highlight the showstoppers.

Then there’s the added trick of giving your tree depth. With six trees and counting I use cheap artificial trees, which means that there are a lot of wires to cover, spots where you can see through to the metal pole in the middle, things that give away how flimsy these trees are. If I take an ornament and shove it all the way to the back, it hides the unpleasantness of a cheap tree, and it also gives more opportunity to vary the depths of the ornaments and make it look like a beautiful arrangement, and not a coat hanger for your ornaments.

This is exactly the kind of ornament I like best for these purposes. It’s slightly larger than average, it’s got an interesting texture, but there’s not a ton of detail that will be missed if your only glimpse of it is peaking through the branches.

Hay Ornament Tutorial Step 1
I call this a hay ornament, because that’s what it’s supposed to symbolize, but the stuff covering the ball is actually excelsior, the stuff you use to fill baskets. It’s cheap and way way easier to work with. Drizzle glue all over one side of a styrofoam ball and stick the excelsior on top. I used a hot glue gun because I have callouses on my hands that burns can’t touch, but be incredibly careful if you do it that way. It works really quick, but the glue pops up through the layers and can get you.

Hay Ornament Tutorial Step 2
Keep going until the whole ball is covered. If you use a craft glue and need a little help keeping the excelsior in place while it dries, just use some small pins. Sequin pins are perfect for this because they’re so tiny they’ll hide easily.

Hay Ornament Tutorial Step 3
Attach a hanger with more pins.

I’m probably underselling this ornament with all my talk of “plainness.” This texture and color up against a tree is hardly plain. But it is ridiculously easy to make, and will provide such a nice contrast to all the figures and ornaments to come.