DIY & Crafts

Make a copper wire holiday ornament

By: Joanne MacBeth / Instruction by Laurie Schultz / Photography by Ryan Brook

Author: Canadian Living

DIY & Crafts

Make a copper wire holiday ornament

By: Joanne MacBeth / Instruction by Laurie Schultz / Photography by Ryan Brook
When Laurie Schultz moved to Unionville, Ont., she decided to give handcrafted Christmas ornaments each year to her nieces, nephews and the children of her close friends as a way of keeping in touch. In 1989 she was joined by Marran Woods, a childhood friend who was living in Uxbridge, Ont. Working together, the two balance their busy schedules with a gift list that now sees them creating 140 ornaments each year.

The process begins in January, when the pair choose a design, gather materials and create a prototype. "Over the years our project has created lots of laughs and great stories to share through our successes and frustrations. We never proceed until we both agree," says Laurie.

Construction begins in February and continues through the year. Laurie and Marran craft together once a week, but when the work is more intricate, they have been known to bead, fold and stitch separately at the cottage, on the subway or even in the parking lot before work. "We nicknamed one ornament the American Express," says Marran, "because in order to finish them, we could never leave home without one!"

The ornaments are always kept a secret until Christmas, when they arrive labelled with the year and presented in a homemade package. The giving has now extended to a second generation, and Laurie and Marran have established a treasured tradition.

Wire tree ornament
Laurie and Marran made 140 of these simple but elegant ornaments for Christmas 2007.

See a larger photo of the completed craft here.

You need:
Tree template
* 45 cm (18 inches) #10 copper wire*
• 5 metallic 5 mm (1/4-inch) pony beads
• 1.3 cm (1/2-inch) dowel
•20 cm (8-inch) length 5 mm (1/4-inch) wide satin ribbon
• Wire strippers, needle-nose pliers and masking tape

*Sold in home improvement stores as electrical wire

Page 1 of 2 -- Find instructions for completing your wire tree ornament on page 2
To make:
Download and print our tree template.

2. Separate strands of copper wire and use wire strippers to remove plastic coating. Each strand of wire is enough to make 1 tree ornament.

3. Wrap ends of needle-nose pliers with masking tape to prevent scratching wire. Using pliers, bend 1 end of 1 wire back on itself to form base.

4. Slide all 5 beads onto wire.

5. Using template as guide and wrapping wire around dowel to make rounded loops, bend wire into shape. Place beads before making each loop, as it is difficult to move them around loops.

6. Squeeze loops together with pliers so ends of each section touch.

7. Trim top to desired length and bend back, using pliers to form loop for ribbon hanger.

8. Fold ribbon in half and knot ends together. Thread loop end of ribbon through wire loop and pull knotted end through.

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This story was originally titled "A Tradition Made by Hand" in the December 2010 issue.

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DIY & Crafts

Make a copper wire holiday ornament