When I was a kid, we used to buy kits to make beaded ornaments. The balls were styrofoam wrapped with silky thread. Then pins with beads were stuck in them in a pattern to make a glitzy ornament for the tree. I adored those old ornaments and when I see them today, I still love them, even though they’ve lost some of the pins and the silky threads are shaggy from years of handling.

In my efforts to find ways to celebrate the holidays that don’t have to do with food, I made an ornament dripping with beads in honor of those decorations I remember from my childhood. I started with a pattern, but my ball was a different size. Also, I was just using a bunch of beads I had bought at random for this project, so they probably weren’t the right size either. The result was that as the net grew around the ball, the sections got uneven. I had to abandon the instructions and improvise. The end results are a little wonky, but I think that’s what I like about this ornament the best. It’s just like the ones we made as kids, imperfect and obviously handmade.

My homemade ornament, in honor of those we made as kids.
My homemade ornament, in honor of those we made as kids.


The metal heart was part of a pair of earrings I bought at a thrift store.
The metal heart was part of a pair of earrings I bought at a thrift store.

Do you have a favorite handmade ornament from your childhood? Do you make something like them today?

9 thoughts on “Handmade Holidays: Beaded Ornament”

  1. I think it’s beautiful! 😀 I wish I could do that kind of detail work again (like actually seeing the beads to put the needle through). Ah, well. I can see the results!

    1. Thanks, Tammy! My eyes keep changing as I age. I can still see super close up without glasses, but no telling how long that will last. I know I’ll have to adjust what I make as my limitations change, but I always think of Matisse, who was going blind, and switched from painting to huge paper cut-outs that are some of his most popular work today. We can still do good work as long as we are willing to do what we can.

      1. That’s the spirit! I had to weigh the chance of losing all of my sight, or losing part of it to save most of it. There was no question and no hesitation – I went with keeping most over losing all. 😀

      2. My father has serious vision problems and he would agree with you. Some ability to see totally beats none! We are lucky to live in a time when we have such advanced medical treatments available. Dad’s macular degeneration has stopped in its tracks because of a new treatment he is getting that only came along shortly before he got diagnosed.

      3. That’s fantastic for your dad! 😎 My problem was proliferative diabetic retinopathy. I’ll let you google that, if you want, but the effect was basically, smear your glasses with grease and then dip them in dust bunnies and try to see through that. Fun times!

    1. Thanks! It was totally an experiment that got a little out of hand towards the end. Still, I’d like to make some more of them.

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