• Ornament wreaths made from new Christmas ornaments — I shop Target, Big Lots, Michael’s and K-Mart and make two wreaths

    christmas ornament wreath new ornamentsI am a completist. So even though everyone may be tired of hearing about making vintage ornament wreaths <– tutorial here, I need to do this story — about making these wreaths using new ornaments, instead of old. Some folks want to use new ornaments — because they cannot get their hot hands on the vintage… because they prefer not to shoot up their precious vintage ornies with hot glue…  or because vintage is too costly. Making two wreaths using new ornaments, I discovered a fourth reason to try it with the new: To hone your skills. Strangely, perhaps, as I continue to make more wreaths (for friends and family),  I am not finding it “easier” to make wreaths that please me 100% — I am finding it more difficult. Maybe I am getting pickier, or over-thinking it. In any case: Even if you have an innate talent for something, there is nothing like practice practice practice. And no question, it’s way less stressful — albeit, still not super cheap to practice on new ornaments! Read on for my tips on where to buy vintage-style ornaments new — and where to find the best prices.

    christmas-ornament-wreathAs you can see from the two photos above, I made two wreaths using new ornaments. Based on the ornaments I found, I made the wreaths in two color combinations:

    • (1) red-green-silver-gold…
    • and (2) aqua, pink, silver, gold and blue.

    retro-style-christmas-ornaments-targettarget retro christmas ornamentsI chose these two color combinations after seeing and buying the vintage style ornaments at Target — shown above. Yes, Target has glommed onto the retro Santa’s sled more than any other retailer I was able to spot, and this season, has sets of ornaments that mimic vintage Shiny Brites. The sets come in the red/green or pink/aqua color sets (more or less).

    #1 — Target (above): So my first piece of advice if you want to start a wreath using new ornaments: Start with Target’s ornies, pick one color way or the other, and then build out your other ornaments from other retailers, who have other shopping advantages, I found…

    christmas ornaments big lots#2 — Big Lots (above): For 2.5″ balls to circle the outside of your wreath form, I found that Big Lots generally had the best deal. You could get 15 @ 2.5″ ornaments for $5 (before any sales). There were similar el-cheapo deals on smaller — including 1″ diameter — ornaments in a variety of colors — some with little flocked designs even. When you are making ornament wreaths, it is super good to have itsy ornaments like the one-inchers (and even smaller) on hand. TIP: Both Kate and I agreed that we tended to favor filling in gaps on our wreaths with small balls in silver (especially) and gold on all our wreaths — these lighten up the wreath and sort of help your eye dance all around it. If you want to save money, focus on acquiring the silver and gold itsy balls — at Big Lots, you could buy 54 for $5!. Of course, having some color one-inchers on hand is nice, too, to add dimension and pop.

    While Big Lots was cheapest to buy balls in bulk, this store had limited color and design selection, so next I would go to…

    christmas ornaments michaels#3 — Michael’s (above): Michael’s has a lot of ornament diversity — and started having sales pretty early in December, which made their generally-higher prices more palatable. Note, I loved their selection of decorative ornaments — flocked! — for the front of the wreath; Michael’s was definitely the best source for decoratives to complement the Target Shiny Brites. I love Michael’s red-white, green-white and red-green-white ornaments in particular — I’ve become a huge fan of the green/red/silver/white/gold  wreath combination — a real crowd-pleaser. Michael’s also had a good selection of 2.5″ balls for the outside in colors beyond those available at Big Lots.

    retro christmas ornaments kmartFinally, #4 — K-Mart (above): K-Mart also was good for colors for the outside rounds, particularly in the Sandra Lee collection. For ornie bling, I also loved the faux-chrome-plated plastic stag — just like the vintage one, only it’s a bit bigger.

    My key tips if you want to make a wreath using new:

    • Decide on a focused colorway — and collect narrowly in that colorway. Start with Target… then Big Lots, and check out Michael’s, too, especially if you can get ornaments on sale.
    • For the outside ring of a 14″ foam wreath, you will need 20 @ 2.5″ round ornaments. Kate and I then counted we each use AT LEAST 24 ornaments for the top of the wreath. In this wreaths featured in this story, I used 38 top-ornaments on my red/green wreath above… and 35 ornaments on my pink/blue wreath… the number you use depends on the size of these top ornaments and also the size of your weebits and how how you fit the top ornaments around your weebits. Finally, we have found that up to 30 smalls to fill in; you could use more or less. The more ornaments you have to work with for the front of that wreath, the ‘easier’ it will be to create a pleasing design. This is work — there are now lots of photos of ornament wreaths online — study these photos for design ideas, don’t just jump into a hot glue frenzy.
    • In addition – you need kitschy weebits like the stag, or small Santas, or floral picks or whatever to work into your wreath. I tend to think: At least three focal points on the front of the wreath, I like doing one at about 2 o’clock, one at 5 o’clock and a third (‘heavier’ / good feng shui) one on the left about 9 o’clock.
    • I did not try to “age” my new ornaments. Maybe someday I will do these. Meanwhile, I will just try… using them for 25 years. That should do it.

    All this said, I could not get this story published fast enough — because I was back at Michael’s the other day, and they are already so discounted that they are running low on stock. In addition, good luck getting a wreath form. The shelves are wiped clean in my town. Ack. Next year, I will be sure to get all my stock well in advance. In fact, if you are making multiple wreaths, it may be smarter to buy in bulk from Amazon or other online retailers, where you can save a goodly chunk of dough re mi.

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    1. Thanks for the tips!

    2. Mary Elizabeth says:

      One advantage of using newer ornaments is that many of them are not glass but some kind of shatterproof material, like the ones at Michael’s that come in plastic tubes.

      I didn’t notice this when I was buying them, but I found out when I was decorating one of my small trees with a combination of 2″ glass Shiny Brites (reproductions) and the ones from Michael’s. When I left the room for a minute, my male tuxedo cat, who is curious about anything different in the house, started fishing ornaments out of the bin and batted them onto the floor. The three glass ones broke immediately.

      Once the ornaments are on the tree, it’s not a problem, because although both cats have tried batting at them, they are fastened to the branches with green twist ties, and so far this year only one came off its little hanging loop. (What do you call that wire thingy that is at the top of the ornament and goes inside? And do you take it out when you are making your ornament wreaths?)

    3. Great options listed here! I bought a few boxes of Target’s glass ornaments last year to fill out my tree, and as I get more (real) Shiny Brites, I’ve been transferring the glittery ornaments to my aluminum tree, and they look MUCH better there than on the real tree. The colors just sing and the light reflects beautifully. Which makes me wonder… were Shiny Brites designed for silver trees?

      I JUST managed to get to my sister-in-law’s mom’s giant stash of retro-everything, and scored a huge box of vintage Shiny Brites. I debated getting the box–which includes at least a hundred ornaments, no lie, most of which are scuffed or the tops are off or whatever–but your wreaths and trees kept calling me!

      Here’s hoping I 1) have time before Christmas; and 2) don’t destroy what ornaments I do have!

    4. Such a fun addiction you have! You have an eye for putting lovely combinations together. I have been addicted to things at the holidays too. Decoupaged balls, fresh boxwood wreaths and trees, beaded snowflakes, etc., have all been made over the years. I might have to try one of the ball wreaths too–next year. I can remember running around to the stores buying wreath forms, oasis, etc. well before the season started to make sure I had my supplies. These are all such fun memories–always crafting with friends and having so darn much fun! Keep it up, Pam. You will be so happy you made these.

    5. I’ve been buying up items for wreaths and am so excited to try it. I have a lot of vintage ball-style that I don’t use and want to mix them in with more contemporary ones. I like to keep the more fun shaped vintage ones to put on the tree. Your tips are so useful! I’ve already raided my local Michaels. Just need some time…

    6. These are awesome! Can you tell me about the tinsel background tgt shows a little? Do you wrap the styrofoam in tinsel?

    7. Pam, I can totally sympathize with your perfectionist attitude – once you learn how to do something well, suddenly you’re your own worst critic. For me, I find that my early projects are some of my better ones, probably because I overthink things too much once I get comfortable with the mechanics of what I’m doing.

      I noticed that the two wreaths you showed today are more-or-less the same except that in one you put the big pointy ornies on the inside and the other you put them on the outside. The only thing that’s stuck with me from the tiny bit of graphical training I’ve had is that most people’s eye flows naturally from upper left to lower right (when looking at posters or artwork, for example). Using this rule of thumb, the second wreath is more pleasing to the eye. The first one draws the eye back up and left, which feels a little unnatural. But I still really dig your awesome projects! :)

      • I also did not use any weebits (like the stag) on the red-green one. I really think the weebits add A LOT. In the future, I will always work them in. But, like I kinda said, I am experimenting — and using new ornaments sure makes that easier to contemplate!

        Another tip: Don’t default to all-smaller ornies on the front. Use big ones — some decorative 2.5″ ones — as well. However, if you do, you need to keep in might the “depth” of the wreath and make sure there is consistency all around.

        Kate and I were discussing: These are so difficult — and so pleasing, when done well — because they operate aesthetically in so many dimensions: Color, pattern, texture, shiny-ness, size, shape, ornamentation, patina, volume — and the relationship and flow of each of these factors.

        I have even greater appreciation for the artistry of Georgia Peachez after making five (six?) of these wreaths so far….

        • Oh dear, now I’m terrified to try this. I’m sure mine would come out as a crazy lumpy mess! I should get my husband to try it though. He’s got an inner artist that comes out every now and again. I take him to the fabric store because he’s better at picking fabric than I am. I’m sure because I overthink it!

          • I am particularly self-critical. These are super fun to make and look pretty darn spectacular even if you self critical. I point to “mistakes” on my wreaths and my husband tells me I’m crazy. Lots of readers have uploaded photos to the uploader, and shared on Facebook — their wreaths are fabulous! The fact that YOU make it will make it an instant heirloom, don’t be skared. Yes: Have your husband help, it will make the experience all the more special. Take it slow, have fun.

    8. Being a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas, I like your first wreath with the red and green. Thanks for the overview on the store’s TAT offerings. I haven’t made it to either Target or K Mart. Pam, I think you have the same problem as everyone else. C.O.D. – Christmas Ornament Disorder. In my case, I keep rearanging the ornaments on the tree if I think something is out of place. I admire your energy to track down all these materials and take the time to complete finished works.

      • Hah! I thought I was the only one who obsessed over the perfect ornament array on the tree. But I take it one step further and arrange and re-arrange the presents until the pile looks perfect.

        • Mary Elizabeth says:

          Ha, ha! I think this disorder is widespread. When my kids were young, we used to pick out and cut down a live tree and everyone helped decorate it. Then they would catch me moving the ornaments around every day–sometimes up or down on the same branch–until Christmas Eve. They said, “Oh, why do we bother helping decorate if you’re just going to change it all around?” They had a point, and the next year I tried to keep my hands off the ornaments they had hung themselves, but I still had to touch everything else. I think I got this from my father, who would stop at the tree and finger-press the tinsel, whereas my mother just threw globs of it at the tree and it stayed wherever it landed. :-)

    9. Lynn from St. Louis says:

      Beautiful! I made one using some new, some vintage. But I got very stingy with the vintage one. This will solve my problem. Love the Target ones. It looks like you stopped putting an inner ring of ornaments. Which way do you prefer?
      Lynn from St. Louis

      • It’s definitely “easier” to deal with the center if you do an inner ring. But, I decided to push myself to accomplish the wreaths with no inner ring. I do prefer to see the tinsel, I think. But, it’s tricker to get right. On some of my wreaths, my inner designs do not sit just right, which can drive me crazy. Tip: Be careful about the angle at which you are viewing the wreath when you are making it. When it lays flat on the table… and the top part is like 2 feet or more away from you… while the bottom is closer… it throws your perspective off and you risk screwing up how the inner ring/tinsel inside “reads” when the wreath is hanging up vertically at eye level. When making the wreath, you must constantly perch overtop overhead to assess design. Hope this makes sense.

        • You fasten the hanger in first, right? Maybe you could try hanging the wreath once you get the basics glued on. You might get a better prospective of where to place the rest. I think it would be easier to stand back and access the progress this way instead of trying to hover over it while it’s on a flat surface. Just a thought.

    10. Pam.
      I am so happy to see the beautiful results with new ornaments. It does show talent and makes it obtainable to those that don’t have vintage to use. I have been impressed with some of the “shatterproof” ornaments in the stores and how good they look.
      The Shatterproof ones would be great for an outdoor wreath, (in a protected area).

      I have some in a pair of lanterns by front door with a LED candle and the “shinyness” and soft glow is welcoming without the fire hazard.

    11. The new wreaths are really pretty. I’m glad to see more vintage-y ornaments at the stores..I won’t have a problem gluing those since I can’t bear to do it to vintage.
      I’ll have to see if there are any left at the stores..I did buy some little retro ones at Big lots that look super on my little white pre-lit tree (from Wal-Mart..I’m so glad I got it as it is the first fake tree I’ve ever had & I love how all my ornaments shine out).
      I bet the little dioramas from Kate’s tutorial could be used on the wreaths…I finally made one last night and it turned out very cute.
      Btw, I bought some Martha Stewart glass ball ornaments a few years back and they are already “aged” now, like the color just flaked off!

    12. Gracie Manasco says:

      I’ve seen Shiny Brite re-pops at my local TJ Maxx stores…. FYI… although they may all be gone by now…

    13. You can store your precious ornaments in take out drink trays. Stack them….

    14. Okay, I have to admit I am much more heart happy to see these done with new ornaments. I like to see the vintage bulbs on trees, even the ones with a few spots and flaws look beautiful and shine like new once they are on a tree. And as you have proved with these two beauties you don’t have to give up a thing style-wise.

      The first one (strangely?) looks good enough to eat, like those colorful hard candies that used to be so popular, and the color scheme on the second one is stunning. I’ve never held a hot glue gun in my life but I have to admit these certainly make the thought tempting.

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