Sunday, November 18, 2012


For me, part of the pleasure of Christmas is making some sort of package topper, sort of a gift before the gift. Usually I try and come up with some kind of simple ornament. What better way to experience that childlike joy of Christmas than to play with childlike craft supplies like glitter and pipe stems.

I was playing around with an idea for an embellishment I wanted to make with wire and grabbed up a pipe stem to practice with and ended up liking the results. I think it is fun to elevate the ordinary and I hope you will agree that these little ornaments are a cut above kindergarten crafts.  This simple tinsel and paper snowflake has so many opportunities for embellishment.  Please feel free to save or print this tutorial for your personal use.

*6 pipe stems per snowflake
*Wire cutter
*Misc. embellishments of your choice - beads, pearls, junk jewels, buttons, lace, trims, etc.
*Craft Glues - I used a combination of hot glue, matte gel medium, Tacky glue, Clear drying gel glue, and a glue stick
*Paper - Sheet music, book pages, etc. of your choice
*Card stock
*Mini clothes pins
*Brown ink pad


Bend pipe stem in half
Bend ends up, creating a " W" shape, bends are approx. 1/2 inch
Bend ends down as shown below
Cross ends over one another and twist one time just below the previously bent area creating three tips
Slightly bow out sides of loose stem ends, cross over ends leaving 1 inch tails and twist as shown belowRepeat for remaining 5 stems

Lay one snowflake tip on top of another one, twist right ends of stems together, gently pull open laying another section together, always twisting to the right, repeat with remaining sections. Once you reach the last one twist the left end of the first and last ones joined.Gently press snowflake flat, shaping and bending as desired.
Cut a 2 1/2 inch circle of sturdy card stock and two 2 1/2 inch circles of your choice of paper. (Note I used a paper punch but a cut circle will work just fine if you don't have one) Using a glue stick, glue together sandwiching card stock in the middle, inking edges if desired If you plan to use this as a gift tag, only cut and glue one piece of paper of your choice to the card stock, stamp a " To & From" on the blank back side.
Hot Glue snowflake to center of circle leaving the loose ends up, if the center tips are a little wonky just clip them evenly with a wire cutter.Cut six 2 inch by 2 inch squares of paper per snowflake
Optional: Ink edges of paper squares, front and back, by bushing ink pad across them, this gives and antique or aged lookCurl paper squares into a cone and place a bead of craft glue (I used Tacky glue) down the seam as shown belowClip with a mini clothes pin to hold until dry, then remove clips, with Tacky glue this does not take very long at allGlue a paper cone between each snowflake tip as shown belowBrush white craft glue (I used Elmer's) into the cone tip and sprinkle with glitter, allow to dryEmbellish your snowflake in any way you desire.

Here are a few ways I decorated some of the ones I made with a few extra tips and tricks to make unique snowflakes, let's start out simple...This one keeps embellishment to a minimum, just simple mother of pearl buttons, and no messy glitter if you want to skip that step too. This one also shows that you can reverse the paper cones for a different look:Don't want to make the paper cone part? No problem, here are a few versions without them, simply reduce the size of your center circle to 1 inch and glue to back of snowflake, embellish as desired. For this one I simply glued pearl strands down the center of the tips and added a pearl bead center. This one is done the same way only using silver bead strands extra clips of pipe stems are twisted around the tips and glued to the center to give it more dimension with a snippet of vintage tinsel added to the center. This one substitutes the paper tips for some store bought mini tree ornaments, these have the elegance and look of a heavy glass crystal but are light weight plastic. The center is another craft store mini tree ornament. Additional beading has been added to the center of each tip and will be demonstrated a little further in the post.This message snowflake has clear rhinestones glued to the tips, vintage pearl beads on the loose center tips, mica flakes glued inside the cones, and a bubble message in the center. To make a bubble message print out a word onto paper of your choice making sure it is sized to fit behind a clear glass piece, you can get these in the floral section of most craft or hobby stores. Use a clear drying gel glue, put a dot of glue on center flat back of bubble glass piece, press onto word making sure glue spreads to the edges, allow to dry, cut out around glass piece and glue to snowflake center.

This one has crepe paper ruffle glued onto a decorative sheet music punch out. Vintage tinsel wraps the tips just below the three points and is glued between the paper cones. A fine tip edge of silver glitter rings the front outer edge of the cones.
Here is one done in gold, the center is an old broach:
I used a pretty paper girl dusted with Martha Stewart Ultra Fine Glitter and accented her with feathers, lace, vintage velvet posies, and raspberry beads. A hint of teal gives this on a little pop of color.Here is a pretty one all done up in pink. You did not think I would do one with out a bird did you? This one is my daughters favorite. I hand wove the nest from fibers and wire adding three little vintage pearl eggs and glittered a little ready made bird to further embellish the nest, pink and silver glitter, shell buttons, and mini rhinestones round out the sweet design. Here is a silver stunner that glimmers with mini mirror tiles, glass beads, pearls from an old necklace, and a dusting of silver glitter.Now let's get a little more complex in the design by adding some beading and heavy embellishing, my favorite! Call me crazy but I decided to step away from the traditional colors and see what would transpire. I love these next two! The remind me of velvet and to me they are quite opulent. I bet you never thought you would here that word used in reference to a pipe stem! To add beading to snowflake tips string beads of your choice onto matching pipe stemHot glue tip of stem to base and allow glue to setAdjust beads so they are centered, wrap end of pipe stem around tip a couple of times ending in the back, clip excess off with wire cutter Lastly, I made up this little snow bound cutie. I am not even going to try and explain this process, didn't turn out quite like I envisioned but not all things do. I have so many more designs I want to try out. I might need an intervention to Snowflake Makers Anonymous! I hope you enjoy trying out the tutorial.


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