Paper Christmas ornaments are a great DIY holiday craft for kids and adults! In one evening, you and your children can create easy, colorful paper Christmas ornaments using nothing more than a coffee can, window screen, cookie cutters, scrap pieces of colored paper, and a blender. This paper Christmas ornaments project introduces children to papermaking, and is sure to add a special touch to your holiday decorations.
To prepare the pulp, tear small pieces from your sheet of colored paper, about the size of a quarter. Put the pieces in a small bowl of water to soften and prepare them for the blender.
Fill the blender about half full of water and add about a half sheet of torn paper. Blend at the lowest speed for 10 to 15 seconds. Then change to medium for another 10 seconds then high speed for another 10 to 15 seconds. By varying the speed of the blender you will help prevent it from overheating and binding up. If the blender seems to be having trouble then reduce the amount of paper you put in.
After the pulp is blended pour it into the strainer that is sitting in a large bowl or plastic tub. This helps drain the water so that you can put the pulp into a plastic cup or dish. Do this for each color that you would like to use.
The next step is to make our “mold and deckle”. This would be your coffee can and window screen. Take the plastic cover and punch holes into it. You can use a nail, ice pick or bookbinder's awl. This plastic cover holds the screen in place on the bottom of the can.
Next, cut a piece of your window screen about 3 inches larger than the size of the lid, about 8" square. Lay your screen over the coffee can. Snap the lid tightly so the screen stays flat. Next fill your dish tub, baking dish or even a saucepan with about two inches of water. Insert your coffee can - screen side down - into the water and move it around until the water level rises.
Scoop out some paper pulp from the color of your choice. The ideal amount is 4 -5 scoops. Stir it around until it's evenly spread out over the screen.
Lift it straight up and let it drain. Set the can down and gently pull the plastic lid off. Lift the screen out and turn it over onto your felt pad or handy wipe. Sponge the back of the screen and then gently lift the screen off.
Here's the fun part. Take your favorite cookie cutter and lay it on your wet piece of paper. Begin to fill the inside with the colored pulp of choice.
Gently lift the shape off and again lay the window screen over it and press with the sponge. At this point you may use a hair-dryer, iron or let it air dry. Repeat the process for the second side.
Once the pieces are dry you can decorate them with 3-D Gels, Glitter or crayons. Using a glue stick coat both sides, lay your string or ribbon in between and then press the pieces together using two weights, such as phone books.
This is a fun project for the weekend, and the kids can use their coffee can ornaments for anything, such as gifts, decoration, or door hangers with messages like “In and Out”, “Beware Dirty Room”, and “Enter at Own Risk”.
Darrell Ross has been an artist/teacher for over 30 years. He specializes in teaching Introduction to Drawing and Paper Making to both children and adults.