I wasn't the originator of this idea but I saw these ornaments on blogs and Pinterest and experimented with making them. They are an inexpensive and easy way to finish an ornament.
The plastic ornament forms
I was unable to find these clear plastic forms online. I tried many craft websites but had to wait until stores started stocking their holiday craft supplies in the autumn before I could find them. I found them stocked at Michaels, Joanns and Walmart with Walmart having the best price (under a dollar). The forms are what I call a "flattened round" shape which allows you to smooth the fabric onto it without getting folds like you would if the shape was completely round. I found the forms in two different sizes. The larger size is about 4.25" in diameter. The smaller size is about 3" in diameter. I've put a link to a PDF form with the templates here and a photo version at the end of this tutorial in case the link to the PDF doesn't work.
Link to ornament templates
Making a template
You'll need a template in order to cut out the stitched ornament and the backing fabric. Download and print this one-page PDF file which has my template shape. Use it to make a plastic template. You need to be able to see your stitched piece through the template and marking around the edge of the template with a permanent marker helps when you are centering the template over the stitched ornament. I used a piece of quilters template plastic to make my template but any piece of clear plastic or vinyl will work. (for example a page protector sheet).
Finding a design to stitch
Examine the stitch count in your ornament chart to see what size fabric will work best in order to fit the stitched ornament onto the form. I found that many of the Little House Needleworks ornament charts are approximately 50 stitches square and if worked on 28-ct linen they fit nicely on the larger ornament form. I found some nice Lizzie Kate smaller designs that work well on the 3" size. To stitch ornaments small enough to fit on the smaller size form you probably will need to use a higher count fabric or find a smaller design.
Example: "It's Snow Cold" by LHN has a stitch count of 48X48. If using 28-ct linen as I did, that means you get 14 stitches to the inch when stitching over two threads. 48/14=3.42 So your finished stitched piece is about 3.4" across and fits nicely on the 4.25" form. You need a little room outside the design in order to shape the fabric to the form. I wouldn't recommend using Aida as it is a stiffer fabric and may be hard to shape around the plastic form.
- stitched ornament
- coordinating backing fabric
- 1/2 yd of decorative trim to go around the edges and top (check the upholstery department also as they frequently have nice trims)
- white glue (I use Aleene's Tacky Glue)
- optional items: lightweight fusible interfacing, a moist paper towel for glue drips and cleaning fingers, an inexpensive paintbrush to spread the glue, Fray Check to seal the raw edges of your trim where it's been cut.
Press your stitched piece and have your plastic template made. Optional: I like to iron a thin piece of fusible interfacing on the back of my stitching first. It helps avoid glue bleeding into the stitched area.
Place the template over the stitched piece to see where to cut out the ornament shape. Trace around the template with a pencil and then cut out your ornament. If you are nervous about cutting it, cut it a little bit outside of the pencil line - you can always trim it back after you glue it on the plastic ornament form.
Remove the silver ornament hanger part from the ornament form and lay it aside for now. Spread a thin later of white glue on one side of the plastic ornament form. I use an inexpensive sponge brush to get it evenly spread. You don't want the glue too thick or it will bleed into your ornament fabric.
Now carefully place your stitched piece over the glue and slide it around as needed to get it placed correctly. Smooth out the fabric from center to edges so you have no pleats or folds. Don't panic - you can lift it up and move it if necessary for a minute or so until the glue starts setting. Keeping a wet paper towel handy helps so you don't get glue on your piece. The edges of your piece should only go to the center of the ornament sides - you may need to trim it a bit once you get it into place.
This is the hard part to get it glued on correctly. Keep your hands wrapped tightly around the edges for a minute or two while the glue sets.
Have the fabric for the back of the ornament cut out and ready. Spread a thin layer of glue on the back of the plastic ornament form like you did for the front. Now glue on the backing fabric the same way you mounted the stitched piece onto the other side. Smooth out all the creases working from the center out.
This side view shows you that you may need to trim a little bit here or there where the front and back meets. The seam will be covered by the decorative trim but you want them to meet up edge to edge and not have a lot of overlap.
Now you're ready to glue on the trim. Run a line of glue all around the edge as shown. Start gluing the trim from the top of the ornament, go all the way around to the other side then cut it off where needed. The raw edge will get covered up later.
Now spread some glue around the very top edge of the ornament. Pinch the wire hanger ends together and insert the ornament top into the plastic form. If you spread out the little silver 'petals' of the ornament top a bit beforehand as shown below it's easier to get it on. Then you squeeze them all down once it's in place and let the glue set.
STEP 9 - optional
Glue a small piece of the decorative trim around the top covering up the silver ornament cap. Use Fray Check or a tiny bit of glue to seal off the raw cut ends in back.