My intention was to style this ornament in a super simple way for little kids, and I think it certainly can be that. But sometimes I can't help myself from adding some sparkly embellishment. And is there a more appropriate time to add excess sparkle to things than the winter holiday season? No, I say. No there is not.
To make this, start with a painted frame like the ones shown in my previous post about cardboard ornaments. You can sort of see that I painted the cardboard white first, before adding a coat of light green; you get better opacity and brighter colors that way.
Insert the pipe cleaners into the corrugations/channels however you like. Bend one end of each pipe cleaner into a small loop or spiral. (I do this with just my fingers; pinch the end, then bend it by rotating your hand, then re-pinch and rotate your hand again, until you've got a spiral.)
Cut the other ends of the pipe cleaners so that they're roughly the same length as measured from the cardboard frame, as shown. Pinch them into spirals like you did before. You can stop right now, if you like, or you can add stickers, glue on a collage of bits of paper, add adhesive-backed foam shapes -- whatever you have on hand.
I happen to have a decades-old stash of small glass beads and assorted sequins whose origins are lost to the mists of time. I find similar stashes at flea markets and tag sales, however, if you're into that kind of shopping (and you know that I am). So I made a simple pattern with them, using tweezers and tacky glue to place and adhere them. I also cut a scrap of purple flannel into strips and glued them onto the open sides of the cardboard shape.
I could happily make fifty more of these and each one would be completely different. For an engrossing holiday party craft, make a dozen or so of the painted cardboard "frames," and set out bottles of tacky glue and bowls of paper and fabric scraps, yarn, beads, pipe cleaners, pompoms, felt... whatever you have. Leave it open-ended, and you'll be pleasantly surprised at what your young guests create.
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.