December 13, 2014

Make Your Own Bookish Christmas Tree Ornaments with Litha of Victorian Soul Critiques

Every year when the holiday decorations go up for sale in stores, I often look for bookish ornaments but rarely find them. If I do find them, they often don't match the ornaments I already own- my holiday theme is blue and silver decorations only for my white Christmas tree. Beyond that, the ones you buy in stores are impersonal, and tell little about you besides your color preferences (and if you're lucky, your interest in books).

As an experienced crafter, I've made a multitude of personalized ornaments, so I knew there had to be a way to show my love of books on a Christmas tree without getting hokey. A book lover loves to share about their favorite books, but how could I do that without going to the trouble of recreating book covers and messing up my color scheme?

Book quotes.

And also, reserving the right to brag about our bookish accomplishments as the year ends. (More on that later.)

Book Quote Ornaments:

 -Decorative Scrapbook Paper (12 inches X 12 inches, mine is glittery)
  (You can make roughly 24 ornaments with one sheet, so don't buy a lot.)
 -A Ruler
 -A Spool of Decorative Ribbon (preferably thin, roughly 9 inches per ornament)
 -A Pencil and Pen
 -A Hole Punch
 -A Pair of Scissors
 -A List of Your Favorite Book Quotes (or religious verses, inspirational quotes, or movie lines)

Optional Supplies:
 -Break Apart Plastic Ornament Globes (available in craft stores) Used for Method #3
  (The glass kind would be difficult to work with for this project, given they can't open up)
 -A Computer and Printer (instead of hand-writing out the book quotes)
 -Rubber Cement (or similar glue that holds well and that doesn't warp or bleed paper)

If you choose to handwrite your book quotes, make sure to do a test run on regular paper. If you're using a printer, print out the quotes. For long quotes I suggest small font (12 or 14), but for short quotes you can use size 16 font. It should be mentioned that depending on the font family, the sizes may change, so experimentation is in order.

Method #1: The One-Sided Book Quotesicle

With a pencil, make tick marks every half inch (1.27 cm) on the left and right sides of the blank side of the scrapbook paper.

Then use the ruler and a pencil to make a lines straight across, from left tick mark to right tick mark. If they end up wonky, you can always erase and start again.

Use scissors to cut along the line, and punch a hole in the top of the paper strip with your hole puncher. Cut a piece of ribbon (I used roughly 9 inches per ornament) and string it through the hole, knotting it near the top. Either write your quote on the strip or glue on one you printed out. Tada! A one-sided book quotesicle ornament!

Method #2: The Two-Sided Book Quotesicle

This is for those who like the look of decorative paper on both sides of their ornament, and also a substantially shortened Book Quotesicle (12 inches long vs. 6 inches). This is better for shorter quotes, as you lose some of the room for words where the ribbon hole is.

After cutting out a 12-inch X .5-inch strip, fold it in half, blank side in, decorative side out. Near the folded part, use the hole punch to make a hole for the ribbon. Fold back the scrapbook strip of paper near the top, where the ribbon hole is:

If you're writing out your quotes, you can simply skip the area where the fold covers. For printed quotes, fold the quote in half, printed side in, and glue it within the folded, non-hole-punched areas. What you end up with is seen above at the end of Method #1, alongside the printed-side up one-sided book quotesicle.

Method #3: The Quote Globe Ornament

This optional method makes the quote a bit whimsical- you could fill the plastic globe entirely with the same quotes (I'd print them for this method), or you could do as I did, making a non-hole punched one-sided book quotesicle, and let it shine by itself. You also have the option of filling some of the plastic globe with glitter, which I omitted for readability purposes.

Spiral the quotesicle (quote-side out) and nest it into the plastic halves. If the ornament doesn't have a ribbon to hang on a tree limb, be sure to add one.

My book quote fit in perfectly with it's globe:

“If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent. And it never faded, and it never got stale. And then, when one wanted it, the bottle could be uncorked, and it would be like living the moment all over again.”
― Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca

Bookish Bragging Rights Ornament:

 -A plain wooden ornament, mine is a flat circle shape (available in most craft stores)
 -Acrylic Craft Paint or Sharpies to decorate it with
 -(Optional) Decorative beads or sequins to glue on
 -Current Goodreads Account or book stats and calculator

I made my own round flat ornament using air-dry clay, but unless you have it on hand (or plan to make pet pawprint or child handprint ornaments), you can buy a plain wooden ornament that will work just as well with less work.

My inspiration for this project comes from the Goodreads Reading Challenges. which show off how many books you've read in a year (if you add them to their database). If you didn't know already, they also record the amount of pages you've read in a year, in addition to the book count. Because this project is pretty permanent (and the year isn't quite over yet), make sure to do your book count from last year, not this year. We may be able to squeeze in a few more books between holiday events.

If you don't have Goodreads, now is the time to start calculating your page count of the books you read in previous years. For me, before 2013 I didn't participate much on Goodreads (or mark books with the dates I read them) so most of my previous bookish statistics are lost.

If you don't know how to get to your stats on Goodreads, here's how:
Log on and click on your profile picture (far right corner) to get to your profile page. From there, scroll down to your shelves, and click the Stats button, which should be just above your 'Currently Reading' widget box.

Then, if you've recorded when you've read your books, you should see this:

Click on the pages button, once you've recorded the book count for the year.

Unless it's 2015, disregard the 2014 page/book count. That ornament can be made next holiday season, or after New Year's Eve.

This is the basic template idea:

So my 2013 ornament reads:
(On the Front Side)
Talitha Read 38 Books in 2013
(On the Back Side)
or 15,416 pages

I used pencil to mark mine in (which would be easier to do on a wood ornament rather than a clay one) and used my collection of acrylic craft paint to color it in.

Then I blinged out both sides with copious amounts of glitter paint, resulting in:

Of course, you can probably use Sharpies to color your ornament instead, but I prefer paint and lots of glitter.

And that's how you make personalized bookish ornaments, without compromising your color scheme!

Thank you, Litha, for sharing this DIY with us!  Visit Litha at her blog, Victorian Soul Critiques.

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