Tutorial of the Week: Filigree Christmas Ornament

LouAnn Home Decor, Tutorials

Good morning, everyone!  I don’t know about where you’re at, but it’s finally starting to look like winter here in beautiful Rossland, BC 🙂  …and all the snow just reminds me of how terribly unprepared for Christmas I am again this year!  If you’re feeling even just a little the same way, perhaps a quick Christmas tutorial will help get you in more of a festive mood 😉

This week, I am going to be showing you how to create beautiful filigree ornaments that will make your Christmas this year absolutely metalicious!  Here’s a quick peek at what we’ll be making together today:

Materials

The materials you need to create this beauty are:

Tools

The tools you’re gonna need are:

  • E-6000 and/or Glossy Accents
  • Hot glue gun (optional)
  • Long flat nose pliers (optional)
  • Ruler
  • Binder Clips
  • Crystal Katana (or tweezers) for placing rhinestones
  • Jewelry pliers (chain nose, bent chain nose, round nose, bail making)
  • Flush cutters
  • Steel block or anvil
  • Rubber or planishing hammer

Step 1

Line the edge of your long flat nose pliers up with the center of one filigree and bend the filigree using your fingers.  Ensure that the top face of the filigree is on the inside of the fold.  This will end up being the outside of your ornament.

If you don’t have long nose pliers, don’t fret…you can use a ruler as a guide when bending your filigree.  In fact, I sometimes use a ruler to ensure I have a nice crisp straight fold in my filigree after using the long nose pliers:

Since we will be using 6 filigrees per ornament, bend the filigree so that the angle between the 2 halves is approximately 60°:

Step 2

Bend 5 more filigrees just like you did in Step 1 🙂

Step 3

Now it’s time to start gluing your filigrees together.  Add E-6000 or Glossy Accents to half of one of the filigrees:

Add a second filigree to the first that you just added glue to, and clip the filigrees together using binder clips.

You can use a couple of spots of hot glue with the E-6000.  The hot glue will hold the filigrees together while the E-6000 dries, and you can avoid using the binder clips.  I do prefer the binder clips myself, though, because I find it easier to get the filigrees fitting nice and tight together.

Step 4

Glue a third filigree to the pair from Step 3, and add more binder clips to hold them together while the glue dries.  Repeat the process for the remaining 3 filigrees.  You should end up with 2 filigree hemispheres, kinda like this:

Step 5

Glue the 2 filigree ornament halves together and add even more binder clips to hold everything together.

You should end up with a little filigree ball loaded with tiny little binder clips:

Step 6

Set the ornament aside to allow the glue to dry for 20-30 minutes.  While you’re waiting, go ahead and make a small glass dangle charm for the bottom of your ornament:

If the thought of breaking out some wire and beads freaks you out, I really recommend you check out my charm tutorial series over on YouTube.  It walks you through everything, right from what tools to use, how to create different loops, and even assembling a chunky charm 🙂

Step 7

Cut a 6″ long piece of 18ga bronze wire, and fashion it into a hook for hanging your ornament on the Christmas tree:

I just used my fingers to shape most of the hook, but you can also use thick markers, spray cans, acrylic paint bottles, or whatever other round object you can find in your craft space.  I did use my round nose pliers for the very tip of the hook.

Step 8

Now that you have a nicely shaped hook, you’re going to want to prevent it from bending out of shape.  You do this by a process called “work hardening” the metal.  I’m sure you’ve experienced this before…you can bend a wire back and forth several times and it becomes harder and harder to bend until it finally breaks.

To “work harden” the metal, you’ll want a steel block, anvil or other really hard surface.  Then just repeatedly hammer the wire hook using a rubber hammer.  You’ll want to gently try to straighten the hook to test the hardness of the wire.

If you’d like to go for a more rustic look, you can use a planishing hammer to harden the metal.  A planishing hammer is made from steel and has a slightly curved face on it.  It will give the hook a hammered look, which is pretty cool.  It also hardens the metal alot faster than the rubber hammer ;P

Step 9

By the time you get your dangle charm and hook made, the glue holding the filigrees together should be set well enough to remove the binder clips.  Now you just need to add the finishing touches…I glued crystal rhinestones onto the filigrees using Glossy Accents.  …and I really can’t tell you how much I love my Crystal Katana for adding rhinestones to everything.  I absolutely do not get any compensation for endorsing the product – I just think it’s a great product 🙂

Once you have your rhinestones, and any other embellies added to your ornament, you can attach the dangle to the bottom using a jump ring, and add the hook for hanging on the tree 🙂

Try Something Different

I really do like how this project turned out, but I want to make sure you don’t get pigeon-holed into thinking you can only use round or roundish filigrees, clear rhinestones and a wire hook for hanging your ornament.  Here’s a look at a second ornament I created using a long narrow filigree from the ButterBeeScraps shop.  I also opted to use purple rhinestones (which I think look heavenly) and add a silk ribbon for hanging this beauty from the tree:

The materials I used to create this ornament include:

Well, that about does it for this week’s tutorial 🙂  I hope you enjoyed it!  Thank you so much for popping by, and have fun trying out different filigree shapes to create some unique ornaments of your own 🙂  Cheers!

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