Every year I am reminded just how much Christmas has changed over the past 20 years. Today, most Christmas decorations (and Christmas gifts for that matter) are mass-produced. Decades and decades ago Europeans used to refer to their Christmas trees as “snack trees”, since many of the ornaments and adornments on the trees were edible. Today, there is not much that you could eat off of the average American Christmas tree. While there is nothing wrong with plastic ornaments for your Christmas tree, I feel a sense of comfort, simplicity, and tradition when adorning my Christmas tree with hand crafted ornamentea. The simple addition of an orange studded with cloves, or a garland of popcorn, adds a sense of home to the tree – along with what can be a wonderful aroma. If you want to add a deeper sense of warmth and tradition to your Christmas tree then let me teach you how to make Christmas ornaments using nothing but spices, ornate ribbons, walnut shells, and a little glue!
Years ago I stumbled on a lovely Christmas market in Salzburg, Austria, with a maze of small, clean, and garland topped wooden booths selling desserts, spiced wine and Christmas ornaments. While navigating this maze I discovered various traditional, ornate, and beautiful hand made spice ornaments. In this post, I will provide you with the free, step-by-step instructions that you need to create a Heart Spice Ornament. If you like this design then check out more spice ornament patterns with detailed instructions on my Craftsy site. There are many methods and tricks that simplify the delicate task of making a spice ornaments, and in my Craftsy patterns I share all of my best tricks for making ornaments that rival those that I found in Austria many moons ago!
Sometimes, finding the spices needed to make traditional ornaments can be a bit tricky. Before going on-line and buying spices, I suggest that you check out any Asian markets or natural/organic markets in your area. I found many of mine at a Fresh Market grocery store here in New Hampshire, which is a higher end grocery store focused on organic and natural products (sort of like a Whole Foods). Any ribbon can be used for the pattern below as well, but I am partial to using gimp for the edging. I purchased mine at M&J Trimming in New York. It is wonderful to have a look there if you get the opportunity, but they also have an online store that carries much of their stock. Just search for the word “gimp” when you are on their site and you will like what you find!
2 complete star of anise
~3/8″ gold gimp trim
~3/8″ flat gold ribbon
Gold paper (scrap booking paper works great)
Glue gun with clear glue
1. Cut a heart out of cardboard, about 3 inches across. Cut two more matching hearts out of the gold paper. Cut a 6 inch length of gold ribbon.
2. Glue one side of the ribbon to the cardboard on each side to form a loop. Glue the gold paper over the cardboard and ribbon, on both sides of the heart. Let dry completely
3. Glue a star of anise to the middle of the heart front. Create a pile of coriander seeds. Cover about 1/3 of the heart front around the star of anise with glue. Press coriander seeds to the glue making one thin, complete layer of seeds. Continue glueing sections of coriander seeds until the entire front of the heart is covered around the star of anise.
4. Repeat step 3 on the back side of the heart.
5. Starting at the top of the heart glue your gimp trim to the side edge of the heart.
6. Make a small bow with the same ribbon used to make the loop. Attach at the base of the loop with hot glue.
7. For a final finishing touch add a small bead in the center of the star of anise, and some gilded babies breath.
Your finished ornament will not only be beautiful. It will also add a wonderful smell to the room. It reminds me of the spiced wine traditionally served at the German Christmas Markets, but that is another story…
For more information, and more intricate and challenging traditional ornament designs please visit my Craftsy Store.