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Amazing DIY African Wax Print Ornaments For A Global Christmas Tree
Christmas time is here again and what a wonderful time of year it is! All year long I look forward to these moments of spending time with family and friends and sipping hot chocolate on cold winter nights. There’s just so much to love about the holiday season. There’s the food, the parties and of course the gifts, but what I’ve always found most exciting about the holidays is the decorating. Twinkling lights and greenery in the form of trees and wreaths, all accented with shiny metallics, fit my fancy and I just can’t get enough.Continue to 2 of 13 below.
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Last year I DIYed blue and white chinoiserie-inspired ornaments and combined them with bright pink tassels. This year I challenged myself to do something that reminded me of home and incorporated my culture. African culture makes up large part of who we are as Guyanese. There are as many different kinds of patterns on the African continent as there are nations, peoples, and languages, all of them unique and beautiful with a complex interaction of colors and patterns, and I knew that ornaments featuring even a few of these patterns would give me exactly the tree I was dreaming of.
I wanted a group of bright, colorful ornaments made of African Dutch wax prints. These prints have an amazing history that spans continents but even more their vibrant colors and stunning patterns have, for many of us, become the epitome of West African designContinue to 3 of 13 below.
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Gather Your Supplies
With all of my supplies on hand I got to experimenting and the end results made me very happy. Continue reading to get all of the instructions on how you can DIY these ornaments in time for Christmas!
Below is a list of the items you’ll need for this project:
- Large plastic Christmas ornament balls
- African print fabric
- Decoupage glue
- Paint brush
- Gold sharpie*
- Measuring tape **
** optional and not picturedContinue to 4 of 13 below.
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Try as I might, I was unable to locate my measuring tape for this step so I came up with this useful step. Knowing exactly how long your fabric is, in this instance, is less important than consistency. So if you can’t put your hands on a tape measure or ruler, simply cut a long strip of fabric and use that as a guide. I wrapped the strip around the diameter of the ball and trimmed off the excess for a perfect fit.Continue to 5 of 13 below.
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Once you've determined the proper length by wrapping the first strip around the ball, you can use this single strip as a guide for cutting several strips of fabric. Continue until you have enough to cover the entire ball. This method is actually a lot less trial and error than it might seem at first blush. And once your strips are measured and cut you'll have another opportunity to trim them in a later step before starting the process of sticking them to the ornament.Continue to 6 of 13 below.
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Once you have your fabric strips taken care of, it’s time to get ready to attach the to your ball. Pour your decoupage glue into a small container for use. Decoupage glue can sometimes run a little thicker than you need for this project, so if that seems to be the case, feel free to add a touch of water to thin it out a bit. Also, if there are any strips that still need trimming to a shorter length at this point, now is the time to do so before you start the next step.Continue to 7 of 13 below.
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Dip your fabric strips into the glue, saturating the entire piece of cloth. Remove any excess glue by running your fingers along the strip. This part is a little bit messy so I advise you to use a pair of gloves and spread a protective covering over your work surface. Myself, I used an old grocery paper bag for this and, failing to take my own advice (or failing to think of it first) opted for glue drenched fingers, which were not a pretty sight by the time I was done.Continue to 8 of 13 below.
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Wrap Plastic Ornament
Remove the metal cap from your ornament and wrap your glue-saturated fabric around the ball. Smooth out any air bubbles or creases and tuck the edges of the strips inside the opening of the ball. This will give you a nice clean effect when you re-assemble the ornament.Continue to 9 of 13 below.
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Just about every DIY has an element of repetition in it and this one is no different. At this point, you'll simply repeat the wrapping process outlined in steps 6-7, using the remaining strips until the entire ball is covered.Continue to 10 of 13 below.
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Set to Dry
Leave your ornaments to dry overnight. I placed mine on top a plastic bag rather than the paper bag. I did this to avoid brown paper sticking to the ornaments after the drying process was over.Continue to 11 of 13 below.
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For my second ball I wanted to preserve the circular pattern from the fabric so I cut out two of the circles and set them aside. I repeated steps 6-7 then applied the circular shapes to the front and back of the ornament.Continue to 12 of 13 below.
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Color Ornament Caps
This step is completely optional but if you wanted to change the color of the top of your ornament you could do so with a sharpie marker for a quick transformation. Depending on the color palette of your pattern or of your overall tree it can be a great way to add a little extra color to your ornaments.Continue to 13 of 13 below.
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Replace Ornament Caps
Replace the caps on your new African print ornaments and admire. Wrapping holiday ornaments in fabric is a great way to display your heritage or to simply mix a little global flavor into your Christmas tree traditions. Happy holidays!