Giant Christmas ornaments: How to make spectacular super-sized outdoor ornaments with cute holiday scenes inside

Colossal Christmas balls How to make super-sized ornaments with cute holiday scenes inside (1970)

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Adapted from an article that ran in Better Homes & Gardens print magazine back in December 1970, this cute craft how-to for “colossal Christmas balls” helped readers back then create beautiful extra-large decorations that could be hung on trees outside.

Although inflatable holiday yard decorations are most popular today, a couple of gorgeous grand ornaments like these would still be real eye-catchers… and set your front yard apart from the neighbors.

One bonus that comes with making retro-style crafts more than 50 years after the how-to was first published: modern LED lights stay cool, are inexpensive, some come with a variety of optional effects, and they can even run a long time off of a battery — making them the perfect choice to illuminate the inside of the little winter wonderland inside your globes.

Giant Christmas ornaments: Beautiful outdoor ornaments you can make (1970)

Colossal Christmas balls are reminiscent of tiny peepshow Easter eggs, are two feet in diameter, and need a stout limb to hang from. Glitter and ribbon trim the outside with a charming scenic setup in the luminous interior.

Red vintage DIY Christmas craft - Giant Christmas ornaments

How to make these dazzling giant Christmas ornaments (1970)

These titan ornaments featuring fantasy forest scenes can be hung from sturdy branches. Once they’re made, you’ll have them as a lasting Christmas decoration for your home.

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20 retro DIY Christmas ornament craft ideas from the 60s that are just as awesome as ever
How-to steps: Photos from the 70s

DIY Christmas craft - Huge hanging Christmas ornaments how-to (2)

DIY Christmas craft - Huge hanging Christmas ornaments how-to (1)


Supplies: What you need & where to buy

While some of the items needed to make these giant Christmas ornaments you may have already at home — like newspaper, glue, and aluminum foil — there are a few other things that you might need to buy before making these dazzling holiday decorations. Here’s what we found!

Blue 70s DIY Christmas craft - Hanging ball ornament with cute scene

Red vintage DIY Christmas craft - Hanging ball ornament with cute scene.jpg

Giant Christmas ornament craft

Yield: Makes 2 balls or more, depending on size
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 2 hours
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Estimated Cost: $30

Find out how to make super-sized outdoor ornaments with cute holiday scenes inside!

These giant Christmas ornaments are reminiscent of tiny peepshow Easter eggs, are about two feet in diameter, and need a stout limb to hang from. Glitter and ribbon trim the outside with a charming scenic setup in the luminous interior.

This how-to text is adapted from a craft project that was published back in 1970, and all of the photos here are the original vintage images.

To help make it easier to find everything you need, look above for links to buy the supplies you will need to create your own huge holiday decorations!

Instructions

  1. Inflate balloons to desired dimensions.
  2. Tear newspaper into 2-inch strips.
  3. Dilute the white glue in a plastic dishpan using one part glue to six parts water.
  4. Dip strips into glue, removing any excess by pulling paper through your fingers.
  5. Apply paper strips to the balloon in a crisscross design and smooth it with your fingers. Several coats are needed. Allow it to dry thoroughly. DIY Christmas craft - Huge hanging Christmas ornaments how-to (2)
  6. Finally, spray or paint the entire surface with varnish or spray paint. This will waterproof the paper.
  7. Apply a coat of instant papier-mâché to the entire ball surface except where the opening will be.
  8. When the papier-mâché is dry, draw the opening with a felt-tip pen (or permanent marker). While you're at it, sign and date the bottom of the ornament for posterity.
  9. Cut out the opening with a coping saw. (Remember there's still a balloon in there that will pop!)DIY Christmas craft - Huge hanging Christmas ornaments how-to (1)
  10. To make a hanger, drill two holes close together on the top of the ball and pull a loop of wire or sturdy string through it. Apply instant papier-mâché around the wire.
  11. Wire a strand of Christmas lights and tape them (or use wire clips, or adhesive on the back of strip lights) to the inside of the ball near the opening, so your scene is well-lit. NOTE: If using battery-operated light strands (as shown in our list above), glue or tape the battery pack to the inside of the ball where it will be out of view and away from any rain, but make sure you can still reach it to change the batteries as needed.
  12. Paint the outside of the ball and add glitter as desired.
  13. Glue on outdoor/waterproof velvet ribbon to form stripes, as shown in the photos.Blue 70s DIY Christmas craft - Hanging ball ornament with cute scene
  14. Crinkle aluminum foil and staple or glue it to the inside of the ball.
  15. Lay down puffs of white fiberfill or cotton to make the "snow" for your scene.
  16. Create your winter setting by using woodland miniatures or your own decorations! (If buying new, be sure to check the measurements so they fit your ornament's holiday scene.)

Recommended Products

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ALSO SEE
100 vintage Christmas TV specials & holiday episodes you might remember from the 70s & 80s

How to make giant Christmas ornaments - A retro craft project

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Comments on this story

2 Responses

  1. Wouldn’t it make more sense, and look a lot more like a real ornament, if the foil was spread over the balloon first, and then the newspaper strips? It would save a step afterwards too. That way, the inside of the ball would be smooth, and one wouldn’t have to rummage around trying to arrange the foil through the hole in the side. I like the idea, but it would have been cute to see an example with the bottle brush trees in there too. Instead, they showed the same ornament over and over. Also, this could be done with the large plastic balls they make now, if one could figure out a way to make the hole in the side. Dremel tool would probably work for that.

    1. Cynthia I love the idea of putting the foil over the outside of the balloon first. It does seem to make more sense. I think I’ll give that a try if I ever make these.

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