Ryan and I make an ornament for each other every year.
It started when we were dating and, unbeknownst to one another, we gave ornaments to each other for Christmas. We now have 8 years worth of handmade experiments, I mean ornaments, on our tree. I love to think that we'll have 100 unique ornaments by our 50th wedding anniversary!
I thought I'd share the process behind my 2019 layered camping ornament—inspired by our backpacking trip to the Wind River Range that summer. I made this process up as I went along so feel free to be creative with it!
If painting isn't your thing, you can cut out solid-colored pieces of paper in different shapes and shades to create a simple silhouette layered scene.
- Heavy-weight paper (I used acrylic canvas paper)
- Hobby knife and surface to cut on (or scissors for less detailed designs)
- Acrylic paints, paint brushes and water
- Small paper box or container (I used a brown paper box from a craft store and removed the lid)
- All-purpose tacky glue and/or foam craft spacers (to create depth between layers)
- Small hole punch (or something to create a hole in your container)
- Leather, ribbon or string (to hang the finished ornament)
Gather supplies and make a hole in the top of your box/container (I used a small hole punch) big enough to thread with ribbon/leather/string.
Plan your design and sketch out the shapes/scene on your paper. Keep the final number of layers in mind and include interesting overlapping shapes. Use your container as the outside shape pattern.
- Carefully (!) cut out each layer and fit them inside your container before painting (do not glue). You may want to cut out test shapes before committing to a final design. I included optional glue tabs on my front shape to create an extra-clean front-facing presentation (see right photo of tent shape below).
Paint or decorate the inside of your container.
Paint or decorate the layer paper elements. Use bright colors that will stand out from the background.
- Use tacky glue and foam craft spacers to adhere each layer into the container, creating depth as you work from the back to the front.
Paint or decorate the outside of your container. I glued a map of the Wind River mountain range to the outside and wrote the date on the bottom.
Thread both ends of a loop of leather/ribbon/string through the hole you created and tie a knot on the inside of your container.
- Hang the finished ornament on your tree and enjoy for years to come.