Make a Retro Bell Ornament

mod-bell-ornamentThis is one of my favorite kind of ornaments. Make it in minutes, make it for pennies, and watch if it doesn’t have the most impact on the tree. This ornament was another way for me to bring in some of my favorite surface design patterns from the midcentury period, this time a “sticks” pattern of overlapping blocks of color. Some patterns are easier to draw than to make out of paper, but this pattern is the opposite. Overlapping blocks of color are pretty easy to come by in a paper artist’s scrap drawer. This is an ornament you can make in the time it takes for the paint to dry.


step-1I found this wooden shape at Michael’s and I snatched it right up. The curvy outline is perfect for the kitschy look I’m going for, and the large size brings a great variety to the tree. When everything is about the same size it can look boring. I love getting a great big ornament and using it to break up any boring spots. For my first step I painted the wooden shapes, front and back, in a beautiful teal blue color. Since this is so large it was going to take up a lot of tree space, so I used an accent color as the background. If that color was used everywhere else on the tree it would be overkill, but just as an accent it makes everything else look better.


step-2I dug through my scrap draw and cut a whole bunch of different strips of paper. They are all about 1/2″ wide, although I purposefully cut some at an angle to give me a few other shapes to add in. Then I just started layering them on top of each other, varying the lengths as well as their position next to each other, until I was happy with how it looked. Then I glued them all in place with a glue stick. I found the glue stick to be the best adhesion while also being easy to move around as necessary to get them all in the right place.


step-3Once they were glued down I gave the whole ornament a coat of sparkle mod podge. You can use the mod podge to stick them down instead of a glue stick, but I found it too slippery and messy when I was trying to get so many pieces on top of each other. You can also use regular mod podge without any glitter, or add your own glitter to the mod podge you want to use. I happened to have some of this in my paint drawer and it was a perfectly serendipitous moment.


mod-bellThese quick and easy ornaments are so satisfying to make. Even at this late hour you could make a whole batch of them and have them on the tree before Christmas eve. The only downside to them is that it throws you into a bit of a crafting crisis when you hang it next to an elaborately cross stitched ornament and you realize you like the simple one better.