Amazing DIY African Wax Print Ornaments For A Global Christmas Tree

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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.

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  • 02 of 13


    African wax print DIY Christmas ornament
    Krystle DeSantos

    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 design 

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  • 03 of 13

    Gather Your Supplies

    Materials for creating DIY Christmas tree ornaments
    Krystle DeSantos

    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 pictured

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    Measure Fabric

    Wrapping glued fabric around a clear plastic Christmas ornament
    Krystle DeSantos

    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. 

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    Cut Strips

    Cutting strips of fabric for DIY tree ornaments
    Krystle DeSantos

    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. 

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    Prepare Adhesive

    Preparing the adhesive for DIY Christmas tree ornaments
    Krystle DeSantos

    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. 

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    Saturate Fabric

    Fabric strips being prepared with adhesive
    Krystle DeSantos

    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. 

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  • 08 of 13

    Wrap Plastic Ornament

    Wrapping Christmas ornament in fabric
    Krystle DeSantos

    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. 

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  • 09 of 13

    Repeat Wrapping

    Wrapping DIY Christmas ornaments in fabric
    Krystle DeSantos

    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. 

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    Set to Dry

    DIY Christmas ornaments with African wax print fabric set out to dty
    Krystle DeSantos

    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. 

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    Pattern Play

    African wax print patterns for making DIY Christmas ornaments
    Krystle DeSantos

    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. 

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    Color Ornament Caps

    Using a gold sharpie to change color of ornament tops
    Krystle DeSantos

    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.

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  • 13 of 13

    Replace Ornament Caps

    Finished African-inspired DIY Christmas ornaments
    Krystle DeSantos

    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!