Paper Ball Ornaments - Tutorial

I've been up to many lovely things lately. Since I figured out how to make these paper balls, I've been obsessive about trying all sizes and styles of circles. The other day at the library, I used their large balloon die-cut to make big circles. That's what I used to make that huge paper ball in the above picture. It's about 7 inches (18cm) across and would make a very nice pumpkin-like decoration for a Thanksgiving table or Halloween next year...

Here's how you make them:


Paper (I used map paper from an old encyclopedia - it has a feel like glassine)
Circle punch (I made several different sizes of circles for different-sized balls)
String or ribbon to hang (if desired)
Hot glue and glue gun

about an hour or so for your first one. Less on all the subsequent ones.

The toughest part of this craft is the folding of the circles into the base shape. Once you get it down, it's soothing to make these while listening to a good book on CD in bed, eating chocolates and cuddling next to your sleeping husband. I'm listening to A Discovery of Witches and eating salted caramels from Costco. It's pure joy. (And the husband is nice, too. :)  )

You will need about 45-75 circles. The larger the ball, the more circles you'll need. I used 45 for the small ones and 75 for the huge one. If nothing else, make a number of circles that is a multiple of three. The ball itself uses three circles glued together to make a single half circle shape, the basic unit for the entire ball.

Here's how the circle is supposed to look all folded

Take two circles and put a blob of hot glue inside one edge of the bottommost circle. I am calling the one closest to my palm the bottom one. You can see how much glue I used in the below picture.

Do the same with a third circle onto the soon-to-be-middle circle. I put the glue on the same sides of each circle so they would all lay the same direction. You can see from the below picture that I tucked the circles in the same place both times. 

Ta da! One unit done. Have a chocolate.

Continue making segments. I just keep making them until I feel like I have enough or am just too impatient to make more. A word of caution here - the number of segments you use affects the end product. The more segments you have, the fuller your ball will be. The fewer segments you have, the more open your ball will look. Neither is wrong - they are just different.

 I then glued the segments together with a line of hot glue on the long edge which will be the middle when it opens up. I didn't worry about gluing down every single circle to the one next to it. It's not necessary to hold the shape, but you be the judge. Perhaps I'm just impatient.

When you've glued a stack together, let the stack of shapes relax open into your hand. If you are going to put a ribbon or string on your ornament, now is the time to do so. Blob a bit of glue on a length of ribbon and adhere it to the folded sides of the stack where it won't show when you glue the final shape together. To close it up, put a line of glue along the middle like you are adding another segment. Very carefully, place the open circle's halves together so they form a ball...

Ta da! You can see that I didn't use that many segments for this example. It has a much more open texture or pattern on it. I forgot to put the ribbon on this one, too. Pretend it's beautiful.

Here's a selection of ones I've made. You can use different types of circle punches for different effects (duh). I used a scalloped circle punch for the mid-sized balls. I think these would look beautiful on a tree, in a bowl or in a display. If you live in a non-snowing place like Bakersfield, you can also throw them at your loved ones.

Not that I've ever done that. :)


Jo Murray said…
These are great!!! Love the concept, and a fab homemade gift for a creative friend.
Gina said…
I've come over from Lesley's blog (Printed Material) and can see I'm likely to be a regular visitor! Thanks for a super tutorial.
Pia said…
Frances said…
I love this technique, and so hope that I might find a way to connect the folded circles without any access to hot glue. I'll experiment!

Heather Eddy said…
Frances - I only use the hot glue because it's fast. You could do just as well with regular white glue. And patience. Lots of it!!!
Art. Of Grace said…
Thanks for a beautiful tutorial and a fantastic blog. Karen
Regina said…
What amazing tutorial!!! Than you for taking your time and share such
lovely ball with all of us!!! I´m now one of our followers!!
Have a nice weekend!
Eu amei muito!!! Antes de terminar de ler todo o tutorial, já comecei a fazer!!! Agora pro natal, voilà, bolas de natal!!! Tank you!!!
Anonymous said…
Gorgeous, so simple, yet so not.....xox
Unknown said…
wonderful tutorial! i may try this with fabric (stiffened with starch) Also don't have a hot glue gun- but with fabric may sew them- or not, may just use some type of glue...
Unknown said…
beautiful - I may try with fabric!
akrnevans said…
These are so cute. I am going to try them today. Thanks, rle

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