Monday, December 21, 2009

Then how the reindeer loved him

I got some good suggestions back in November when I asked for Christmas ornament suggestions, but I ended up going with these:

I saw the idea in a craft catalog and since I already had a bunch of wine corks I'd been saving in case I figured out a use for them, I ran with it. These are actually really easy to make, and I got 13 done in about an hour and a half. I thought it might be fun to post the directions, since when I looked online last month for easy Christmas ornament ideas, I would've appreciated seeing a simple project like this.

Here's the original ornament:

First, the supplies. Of course you'll need corks. As I mentioned, I'd been saving ours for quite some time, but you can order them from Oriental Trading or possibly even buy them at a craft store. You'll also want googly eyes, pom poms for noses (red or brown / black if you don't want Rudolphs), brown pipe cleaners, brown felt, ribbon to make hanging loops, scissors, small-headed pins, wire snips, a skinny Phillips screwdriver or ice pick, and tacky glue. You can try other kinds of glue if you wish, but in my experience, tacky glue is the best when working with oddball materials like cork and plastic.

1. Decide approximately where on the cork you want to put your reindeer's face. Based on that, use the screwdriver or ice pick to make two shallow holes in the top of the cork for the antlers. You don't have to go really far down into the cork -- you just want your antlers to have a little bit of stability. It's hard to control exactly how the antlers will be positioned, so put them on before you put the face on, or you may end up with a lopsided reindeer.

2. Tie a piece of ribbon into a hanging loop and use a pin to attach it in between the antler holes. I had inch-long pins and found they were hard to get into the cork without bending the pin in half, so I used the wire snips to cut half the length off before using them.

3. Cut four ~2" pieces of pipe cleaner with the snips (not the scissors) and make the antlers. Put a dab of glue on the end of each antler before pushing them into the holes.

4. Re-evaluate face placement if necessary. Glue on eyes.

5. Cut two tear-drop shaped pieces of felt for ears. I made a template from a little piece of cardboard and cut around it for each ear, which was actually the most difficult / annoying part of the whole process. After some trial and error (mostly error), I discovered that it's best to glue the ears on before the nose, because it's really easy to knock the nose off while attaching the ears. Glue the ears on the back side of the cork, where you think they look best.

6. Glue on a pom pom for a nose. Et voilĂ ! All done.

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