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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Ornaments

It is that time of year again!  The holidays are here and the level of activity grows more everyday.  So what do I do?  Find a new project of course.  What? Doesn't everyone?

This year there is no shortage of teachers to buy for at my house.  My 5 year old is in two different pre-school classes, each has a teacher and an assistant.  My 11 year old may have just one homeroom teacher but there are helpers, assistants and other teachers as well.  I have started with the idea of gifting just 5 people, but I will need to see if my 11 has any one he would like to give something to besides his homeroom teacher.

Pens and star ready to get to work.
 I saw a zentangle ornament on Pintrest a few weeks back and thought it was great.  I also thought that ornaments would be a cute way to "dress up" a teacher gift.  So Monday, I found myself wondering the aisles and looking for something to tangle and hang on the tree.  I thought of using a plain ball ornament but I have found that curved surfaces are not always my friend.  I found some flat porcelain shapes that I thought would work.  I ended up choosing a star shape.  As I was not sure how the micron pen would work on porcelain, I next went looking for a pen to use.  I almost got Sharpie Oil based markers to use, but the color options that were available were not to my liking and the nibs were also fairly large.  I still want a pretty fine tip to use.  I ended up going with Marvy Uchida Decocolor oil pens.  They have an extra fine tip and work well.  The paint flows nicely and so far, doesn't clog or skip.  I am also using the Sakura Pen-touch gold pen.  It is a larger tip and not fine point at all.  The end though, it just large enough to make a nice gold dot where I want it.

I bought an extra star to create my sample on.  At only $1.50 per star, I can afford to make a mock up.  I can make my mistakes there and work out any kinks I may encounter with patterns, pens, or problems there first.  I ended up using Tripoli on the stars.  I wanted a pattern that I felt comfortable doing free hand, looked good without shading, and I could embellish as I wanted. 

Getting started

I left the background white and started with the red pen. I almost stopped right here.  I thought that the red really popped out and that my Tripoli was quite a success.  However, I wasn't sure if all the remaining white space was a good idea.  I didn't want it to look unfinished.  As I really loved the red, I didn't want lose it and decided to switch to green.  After that I went in and added green dots to the red and red dots to the green.  Next, I went back again and put a small gold dot in the center of the groupings. 

Detail of final Star.

After I finished the first one, I took a break so that I could see it with new eyes and see what changes, if any, I would make to the next ones.  I decided that while I liked the added dots, the pattern was too busy.  On the next star, I did Tripoli the same, but left out the red and green dots but kept the gold ones.

I like the design this way.  The open triangles keep it from feeling too busy and the gold dots add a focal point for each "section" of Tripoli and just a little sparkle.  I bought a different red ribbon that I'll add to them before we give them away.  I got a clear sealer to go over top of the pens.  They are said to be permanent but I figure that the clear coat will help to prevent scratching over time. 

First try

The kids and I will work together and decide what to note on the backside.  I am still debating what else we may give them, a gift card maybe, but this is a great start.  These don't take that long to tangle.  In a few days, after they have had more time to dry, I will clear coat them.  I am really enjoying making these.  I may have to go back and get some more shapes to try out.


  1. Oh my gosh...these are fabulous!! I am so outta here to find some!

  2. Wow, I am sooo jealous of your tripoli. It looks absolutely cha-cha on the white star and you make it look easy (tripoli is one I have yet to even begin to master). Thank you for showing how great a simple gift can look!

  3. Very nice. I found wooden ones but could not find porcelain ones. I am going to try Silk Tree Factory and Michaels today. Keeping my fingers crossed!