Design a set of festive, colorful and shatterproof Christmas tree decorations by altering versatile Styrofoam balls. Ask your kids to help you with this simple craft that allows you to take a simple 3-inch ball and tailor the designs to your holiday decorating style and the other embellishments on your tree.
Scraps of fabric give Christmas tree balls a touchable texture. If you don't have fabric on hand from other sewing or craft projects, buy remnants at sewing or craft stores or ask the store managers for free scraps from recent workshops.
Turn the ball into a bouquet of fabric flowers. Cut a 2-inch square of cotton fabric; use pinking shears to prevent fraying. Place the tip of a mechanical pencil in the center of the fabric, gather the fabric face up around the tip, and dip the fabric into white glue. Push the tip of the pencil into the Styrofoam ball and remove the pencil---the edges of the fabric should protrude from the ball to resemble a small flower. Repeat the process until you've covered the entire ball with fabric.
Buttons and Pins
Give your ornaments a homespun look by covering Styrofoam balls with colorful buttons. Gather an assortment of flat buttons in holiday colors or, for an elegant monochromatic look, different shades of the same color.
Decorate the ball by sticking a straight pin through a hole in the button and pushing the pin into the Styrofoam ball. Vary the look by stacking two or three buttons of different sizes and shades on the pin before inserting it. Ensure the straight pins are short enough so they don't poke out through the other side of the ball. Use the same technique to cover an ornament with sequins or small glass beads.
Paints and Glitter
Design sparkling ornaments by coating the ball with a layer of red, gold, silver or green acrylic paint. Once the paint dries, create swirls, designs or monograms with glitter glue squirted directly from the bottle. If you don't have glitter glue available, create a pattern with white glue and sprinkle the adhesive with glitter while it's still wet.
Make simple decoupaged ornaments by cutting colorful tissue paper into 2-inch squares. Spritz the back of a square with spray adhesive and smooth it onto the Styrofoam ball. Repeat the process until you've covered the entire ball, and then paint the ornament with a thin layer of decoupage glaze. You can also create nostalgic ornaments by using bits of memorabilia like old love notes or snippets from travel brochures instead of tissue paper.
Whatever decorating method you choose for your Styrofoam tree ornaments, display the completed crafts on your tree with a ribbon loop that coordinates with the embellishments. Cut a 6-inch-long piece of ribbon with scissors. Fold the ribbon in half, insert a straight pin through the ends of the ribbon a quarter-inch up from the bottom ,and push the pin into the Styrofoam ball.