Make a Santa Ornament from a Light Bulb

Gail Lee Martin wrote this article for the eHow site telling how to make old light bulbs into Santa decorations. If you have some dead light bulbs, don’t toss them out. 

How to Make a Santa Ornament from a Light Bulb

Here is a craft my daughter, Shannon, and I started making back in 1993. We took them to the Wesley employee’s craft fair. They were so cute and were very popular.
It’s a fun way to recycle burned out light bulbs. Here’s how to make them.

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Things You’ll Need:

  • light bulbs
  • white spray paint
  • various paint and a brush
  • or colored markers
  • glue gun
  • gold string
  • canned snow (the kind sprayed on windows)
  1. We took burned out light bulbs and turned them into Christmas tree ornaments. Start saving up bulbs now and ask your friends and family to save theirs for you too. You can also buy new ones if you can’t wait for them to burn out.
  2. I spray painted the bulb white like Santa’s beard. Even though the bulb is whitish already, the spray paint gives a more even surface and color. It also hides the dark spot that burned out bulbs sometimes have.
  3. Then I used a brush to hand-paint the screw top with red paint for his hat.
  4. I hot-glued a gold string to the top to hang it with. Heavy gold thread or gold wire is fine for this or you can use red yarn.
  5. Using canned snow, I put a rim around the red cap and some on the top for a ball.
  6. Shannon painted and sketched on the expressive faces and added a realistic mustache with a swipe of white paint. Leftover paint-by-number paint or a kid’s paint kit works for this. You can draw on the eyes and details with permanent markers also.

Tips & Warnings

  •  This makes recycling fun.
  •  Check the Santa clip art site listed below in resources for ideas for Santa’s face. You can make jolly Santas, roly-poly Santas, stylized Santas, classic Santas, etc.

Resources

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Use those old light bulbs for crafts

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Make a Star Ornament from a Paper Bag

Post by Virginia Allain – This was an idea that I wanted to show Mom. I was sure she would be making these by the dozens in no time. These can go on a tree, decorate a package, or hang on the door handle.

Brown Paper Star Ornaments

Using a printable star pattern, trace two same-sized stars on a brown paper bag. Cut these out using pinking shears or craft scissors. Don’t worry, the pencil lines will be inside the star.

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Glue the two stars together except for one tip. Leave an opening to put in the filling.

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Pull apart a cotton ball so it’s loose and stuff it into the opening of the star. Use a pencil to distribute the stuffing the way you want. I like most of mine in the center. You could also use a bit of quilt batting or some used dryer sheets bunched up.

Cut a piece of raffia to loop at the top for hanging. Put the cut ends inside the opening of the star and glue it shut, securing the hanging loop.

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Add that homespun, country-look with faux stitches around the edge. Use a black marker for these. Space them evenly.

Tie another piece of raffia into a bow and glue it to the front of the star. Glue some buttons to finish the theme.

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Always save buttons for future use. (photo by Virginia Allain)

Anytime you discard a piece of clothing because of wear or stains, cut off the buttons and save them. A stash of buttons comes in handy to have for clothing repairs or for a craft like this.

A Seed Packet Craft

Back in 2008, Gail Lee Martin put this craft article together for the eHow website. Her daughter recently recovered it using the Wayback Machine which finds defunct web content.

How to Make an Ornamental Birdhouse from Seed Packets

Make an Ornamental Birdhouse from Seed Packets
Don’t toss the colorful seed packages after planting time. Save them to make this easy and decorative birdhouse. Here’s how to do it.

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Things You’ll Need:

seed packets
glue
black marker
decorative touches (spagham moss, ivy leaves, birds)

Collect seed packets with colorful flower pictures on them. Sometimes discount stores have leftover seeds at bargain basement prices when the planting season ends.

Choose one seed packet for the front of the birdhouse. Draw a circle with a pencil in the upper half of the packet front. This represents the hole for the bird to enter. Fill in the circle with a black marker.

Cut the front packet and the back packet with a matching peak for the roof.

Shorten two packets to serve as the side walls.

Start by gluing a front and a side seed packet together along the long side. Continue gluing additional seed packets (the other side and the back) until it forms a square. Allow those to dry between each stage.

Attach two packages with glue to serve as the roof.

Glue on some accessories (spagham moss, fabric leaves, and tiny birds) to complete the birdhouse theme. You can find these in the craft or floral section at discount stores like WalMart or click on this picture to order from Amazon.

Comments

prism said on 11/25/2008 “What a great way to reuse seed packets! Would make a unique gift for wild bird lovers like my Mom. Thanks!”

mactraks said on 9/28/2008  “I never fail to be awestruck at the “recycling” projects my big sister comes up with! This is truly spectacular and easy enough for even me to do.”

Yarn and Rag Crafts

(Article first published on Squidoo by Gail Martin about using yarn and rags for crafts)

My husband and I tackled a variety of crafts over the years. Many of these crafts linked back to our Kansas pioneer heritage. Examples of those include rag dolls and the wagon wheel rag rugs.

Until Clyde retired, I was always the crafty one, but once he had some free time, he joined in with many of the crafts. I’ll share with you photos of many our crafts and the instructions so you can try them out for yourself.rug started

This photo is my husband, Clyde Martin, working on a round rag rug using a wagon wheel metal rim for the base.

I tried all sorts of crafts over the years, from stenciling on pillowcases in the 1950s to macrame plant hangers in the 1970s. After retirement, we worked on some crafts together like the wagon wheel rugs based on a vintage craft from our Kansas pioneer background.

2008-08-17 gail and ks photos 386We made large Christmas decorations from pom-poms which looked great on a wall or door. One design was a yarn wreath and another was a giant candy cane.  We also made Santa faces with yarn, felt, and a bleach bottle base. People loved those and also the fluffy cats made from pom-poms.

Sometimes we get the supplies very cheaply at yard sales. The old sheets and skeins of yarn can be good buys. You don’t always find the exact colors you want though. Let your friends and family know what your needs are and they can rummage around in their excess stuff to share with you.

Here’s Clyde making a pom-pom cat. clyde, yarn cats 001

Making useful things out of worn out clothes or linens was a necessity back in our grandmother’s day and the “how-to” of it all was passed down from one woman to the next.

Q is for Quilts

In the photo below, you see my mother with an antique quilt that’s been passed down in the family. The signatures stitched into the quilt include her mother, great-aunts and their neighbors from the 1930s. What a treasure!

Gail Martin and autograph quilt

Gail explains the names on the autograph quilt.

When I was a child, I remember Mom making two Sunbonnet Sue quilts with yellow squares between the designs. Those decorated the room that I shared with Susan. Those wore out years ago, but recently, I saw the one shown below and it reminded me of the pretty one Mom made.

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On my father’s side of the family, there were notable quilters, including his mom, Cora Joy Martin, and his sister Dorothy (Martin) Jones. One of our cousins even opened a quilt shop that sold fabric and held quilting classes.

When I lived in Baltimore, I was president of the large quilt guild there and organized some of their quilt shows and was the newsletter editor also. Then we lived for a few years in Australia and I was delighted to find the small town of Alice Springs had a very active quilt club.

Even more than the quilting itself, I’m passionate about old quilts. They speak to me.

Here’s a gallery of family quilts.

 

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Shannon (Martin) Hyle with a Martin family quilt. The design is called cathedral windows.

 

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Cynthia Ross with a quilt made by an aunt, Dorothy Jones.

 

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A quilt made by Cora Martin

 

Make Clothespin Reindeer Ornaments

This easy craft can involve the whole family. The reindeer made from clothespins look great on your tree and make wonderful gifts for friends and neighbors. Here’s how to make them.

A clothespin reindeer made by Gail Lee Martin.

A clothespin reindeer made by Gail Lee Martin.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:

  • 3 wooden clothespins (flat peg type)
  • colored markers
  • felt (green, white,red)
  • tiny red pom-pom or bead
  • googly eyes
  • glue
  • strong thread or light yarn
Step 1

I leave the clothespins natural, but some people like to paint them brown. Glue two clothespins together to form the legs of the reindeer.

Step 2

Glue another clothespin to the legs, but it goes upward to form the reindeer’s head and antlers. Note the proportions in the picture.

Side view of the clothespin reindeer

Side view of the clothespin reindeer

Step 3

Drill a hole in the reindeer to thread through the hanger. An adult will need to do this part. The thread for hanging could also be glued between the head and body (then no hole is needed).

Step 4

Glue on the googly eyes. Glue on the red pom-pom nose (or the red bead). Cut out and glue on the felt for a holly leaf accent above the eyes.

The eyes, nose, and holly on the reindeer's face.

The eyes, nose, and holly on the reindeer’s face.

Step 5

Glue on some white felt for his tail.

The reindeer's tail and the red yarn for hanging it on the tree.

The reindeer’s tail and the red yarn for hanging it on the tree.

Tips & Warnings

  • Googly eyes and felt are available at discount stores or craft stores.
  • I’ve used red yarn for hanging the reindeer and at other times gold heavy thread. Thin wire would work also.

Christmas Crafts with Gail Lee Martin

“I think mom, Gail Lee Martin made fabric balls like this one Christmas. Reminds me of the many Christmas projects both Dad and Mom worked together on. Like the yarn candy cane and the Santa head. Both were very nicely put together. They had to start early in the year to get them all made.”  – Cynthia Ross

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Here’s a YouTube video tutorial for making these no-sew folded fabric ornament balls. They give a quilted look but there’s no glue or sewing required. Just cut, fold and pin the fabric.  

Here are more of Gail and Clyde’s Christmas crafts:

Make a Candy Cane Wall Hanging from Yarn. This is an earlier blog post, in case you missed it.  It uses yarn to create a huge candy can to hang on your door or on the wall.

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This reindeer ornament is made from gluing 3 wooden clothespins together. Two serve as the legs and the one pointing upwards makes the antlers. Glue on felt to serve as the tail, the nose and a bit of Christmas holly. Some googly eyes and a string to hang it. Really cute!

I’ll post Mom’s complete instructions for this tomorrow. She wrote about it for the eHow site.

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Candy cane reindeer with pipe cleaner antlers and googly eyes. Made by Gail Lee Martin.

You don’t need much explanation for this candy cane reindeer. It’s pretty clear how to assemble it. It’s a fun project for kids during the holiday season.

You can get a package of wiggle eyes from Amazon or check your local craft store. Click on the photo to see the details or to look for other wiggle eyes, candy canes, pipe cleaners, felt, wooden clothespins and other craft supplies on Amazon.