Incorporate your landscape into your holiday decorations by making this durable but elegant outdoor ornament. It’s perfect for hanging from trees or pergolas, or placing in outdoor containers, like a birdbath or vase. By using artificial garlands and berries, you can ensure that your ornament stays vibrant throughout the holiday season.
- 1-2 hours, plus time for the paint to dry
- garland, pinecones, bow (optional)
Step one: Shape the wire
Cut the 14-gauge wire into five sections, each 30″ long. Using a pair of needle nose pliers, bend the end of each length of wire into a small hook. Then bend the entire length to form a circle, using the hooks you formed to connect one end to the other. It’s easy to poke or scrape your hands when working with wire, so wear a pair of heavy garden or work gloves for protection.
Step two: Secure the loops
Wrap the 24-gauge wire around the linked hooks to secure them together. Be sure to wrap it well—otherwise, the ornament might easily disassemble in inclement weather. Once you’ve secured the thinner wire five or six times around the hooks, clip the excess and twist the ends of the thinner wire.
Step three: Form the frame
Fit one hoop into another at a 90 degree angle. At the top and bottom points where the two hoops overlap, use the 24-gauge wire to bind them together, wrapping the connection points several times to secure it. Repeat the process with the other hoops, varying the points where they join to fill out the surface of the sphere.
Step four: Paint the frame
This step can be messy, so you might want to spread newspapers over your work space first. Apply an even layer of white spray primer. Allow that plenty of time to dry, then make a second pass, this time with spray paint. We used Hunter green paint to blend in with the garlands, but a bold red or a bright white would also complement most Christmas decorations well.
Step five: Attach the chain
Decide which point on the surface of the sphere is the top. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want the densest accumulation of wires to be the bottom of the sphere, to make it harder for your decorations to slip out of the frame. Secure the chain to the top-most point of the ornament—you may need to use more of the 24-gauge wire for this. Be sure to leave plenty of chain-length for hanging the ornament, particular if you intend to hang it from a tree branch.
Step six: Decorate the ornament
Once the paint is dry, it’s time to apply a little creativity. We filled our ornament with greenery by threading garland through the frame and into the sphere. You can experiment with the fullness of the scene by cutting different lengths and testing the look of the ornament with different amounts of garland. As a guideline, we used about 2 1/2 feet for the version pictured above, then completed the evergreen theme by filling out the rest of the space with pinecones. For extra color, we tied a big ribbon bow to the chain.
But don’t feel that your ornament has to look like ours. Be creative and make the project your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Thread the frame with LED Christmas lights, hiding the battery pack inside the garlands;
- Fill the bottom half of your ornament with garlands, and place a battery-powered LED candle in the middle for a little light;
- Double the number of 14-gauge wire hoops and paint the entire ornament white so that it resembles a snow ball.