This post contains affiliate links. I receive commission from purchases you make through these links, at no added cost to you. I only recommend products I use and truly believe in. You can read more here.
Do you have a pile of Christmas cards from this past year? How about a pile from the past couple of years!? Well, if you do and you’re like me and don’t know what to do with them (because, let’s be real, you know you don’t want to just throw them away) I have a great craft for you. This craft uses the cards you’ve received which gets rid of those pesky piles and gives them a sweet sentimental quality. And you can keep them or give them as gifts next year.
I don’t know about you but handmade items are one of my favorite things to hang on the Christmas tree. These twenty-sided paper balls (icosahedrons) make adorable tree ornaments and are surprisingly easy to make. I not only hang them on my trees but on shelf pegs as well. So grab those old bags or piles of Christmas cards and let’s dive into these ornaments.
An icosahedron is a 20 sided shape
Icosahedron is a geometry term. The name comes from the Ancient Greek words, eíkosi meaning 20 and hédra meaning seat. You will use 20 paper circles to make your ball. Each circle is folded around a triangle to form the correct shape and then glued together. The craft looks like it would be difficult but it’s really not. Cutting out your paper circles is the most time-consuming part.
My mother-in-law gave us one of these balls years ago. Hers was made out of old Christmas cards. Years ago people would receive Christmas cards just as we do today. Instead of throwing the cards away after the season some people would save the cards. She saved hers and used them to make these Christmas ornaments. This is a great way to recycle items you already have on hand but don’t want to throw away for sentimental reasons.
You can use old Christmas cards if you have them. They tend to hold their shape really well and definitely fit the theme for your ornaments. And what better way to find a use for all of those cards! The only downside to cards is that you may be limited to only a few usable pictures and/or patterns per card. Still, it’s a great craft to use them and not feel guilty throwing them away.
If you don’t have old cards you’ll have to use holiday cardstock or scrapbook paper. I’ve used heavy and lightweight paper and both worked equally well. Paper with small patterns works best. Your circles will not be that big and larger patterns overwhelm the circles. When it comes to assembling the ball I suggest using a glue stick to glue the paper edges together. Regular craft glue works best for attaching the string hanger.
Speaking of the string hanger, I like using single-strand jute, twine, craft string or yarn. The possibilities are almost endless when it comes to your choices. But I do recommend double knotting whatever you choose so that it doesn’t slip out of the ornament, though that’s very unlikely.
So what supplies will you need to make these unique Christmas balls? Decide how many balls you want to make and whether you’re going to make different size ornaments. I made three different sizes and didn’t really have a set number of ornaments I wanted to make. You will need twenty card or paper circles per ornament so plan accordingly if you are going to make more than one*.
- Thin cardboard or heavy cardstock for circle and triangle templates
- 20 cards or sheets of scrapbook paper/cardstock*
- Glue stick and craft glue
- String, twine, jute or yarn
- Glitter/glitter glue (optional)
I definitely recommend reading this tutorial and watching the video before starting the craft.
Step 1. Trace a circle onto your cardboard. I found items around my house to trace around. Cut the circle out. Now draw a triangle slightly smaller than your circle on the cardboard and cut that out.
Step 2. Trace your circle onto the wrong side of your cards or scrapbook paper. Cut out circles. When you have 20 circles cut out it’s time to fold them.
Step 3. Lay your triangle on the right side of the card or paper and fold the three sides over it. Do this to all 20 circles. Be mindful of your patterns and which way you want your triangle to face. (More on this point in the video.)
Step 4. Now you’re going to lay your pieces out in the position they will be on the ball. You need 5 circles for the top, 10 circles for the middle and 5 for the bottom. The top 5 will point up, the bottom 5 will point down and the middle will be a mix of both. Your pattern or picture should be facing upright for each piece regardless of the way your triangle peak is pointing. (Again, more on this in the video.)
Step 5. Once you have your pieces laid out and are satisfied with the placement, take one circle from the top row and apply glue to one of the side flaps. Glue the next circle to that flap. Then apply glue to the new circle’s other side flap and glue the next circle in that row to that flap. Continue gluing the circles to each other until all five are attached but leave the last one open so that we can insert the string hanger.
Step 6. Take your string and form a loop, then knot the ends. Apply a couple squirts of liquid glue to the knot and insert it between the two unglued ends. Slide the knot to the top of the middle and quickly apply glue to one of the unglued side flaps then pinch them together closing the opening in the top row. Your entire top row should be together and the string should be sticking out of the middle of the top.
Step 7. Now let’s build the middle section, working from the same starting point where you started on the top row. You’re going to glue all of the triangles with the points facing down to the bottoms of the top row. Begin at the starting point and work your way around the row skipping the triangles pointing up. When finished your ornament will look like the claw in the claw vendor game.
Step 8. We’re going to glue the rest of the middle row in between each of the just glued triangles now. Start at that starting point again and apply glue to one of the side flaps of the triangle attached to the top. Stick the next triangle to it. Now go to the next triangle that you glued to the top row and apply glue to the side flap and attach the next triangle in line to it. Do this to each glued triangle until you have attached all of the middle row. Now you’ll glue all of those middle sets together. Apply glue to a side flap and adhere to the next set then apply to that set’s flap and adhere the next group. Continue this until the entire middle row is formed. You can definitely see the ball shape forming.
Step 9. For the bottom row, you’ll begin at your starting point and apply glue to the bottom flap then adhere the first triangle to that flap. Then you’ll move on to the next bottom flap and apply glue and attach the next loose triangle. Repeat this until all of the bottom row triangles are attached. Carefully glue each triangle to its neighbor. I find that applying the glue to the first one and then attaching the next one to it, then applying the glue to the next unattached neighbor makes it a bit easier to handle. When it comes to the last triangle, apply glue to both flaps and carefully adhere it to its neighbors on both sides. Allow your ornament to dry completely.
And that’s it! You’ve completed your icosahedron Christmas ornament! I hope you enjoyed this craft and I hope you’ll share other creative ways to use old Christmas cards, too.