How To: Make Modern Paper Ornaments

The DIY paper ornaments have been a hit at our family gatherings for years. They're quick, simple, and practically free to make. Read on to find out how! 

DIY modern paper ornaments for Christmas

Having completed yards of modern paper holiday garland, I wanted to create some more paper decorations to maintain the look and colors throughout my home. I tried making paper snowflakes from the colored cardstock, but they didn't really work. Then I recalled an old trick I learned in Sunday school as a kid which we called "onion bulbs" and put all over the Chrismas trees. We used paper strips to create the shape of teardrops and hearts, and made them from white paper. We glued so many globs of gold glitter that they would stick to the coats and fancy outfits of the old church ladies that would brush up against them.

So, I experimented a bit with different sizes, and came up with a more polished decoration with a mid-century vibe. They're inexpensive enough to remake each year, but sturdy enough that they can be stored and reused for holiday seasons to come.

Materials for Paper Ornaments

  • 12 x 12" cardstock (in the scrapbooking aisle at the craft store)
  • Paper cutter or scissors and ruler
  • Binder clips
  • 1/4" hole punch 
  • 1/4" metal eyelet kit (in the sewing notions section, might be called grommets) and hammer or white glue


Curbly Tip:

Hot glue guns are great another great option for making strong, sturdy ornaments. Check out our glue gun review!


Step one - cutting the paper

1. Cut the paper into 1 1/2" strips. Keep two at the 12" length, then cut two at 10" and one at 8 3/4".

Put the paper ornament strips together in a stack

2. Sandwich the strips like this: 12" - 10" - 8 3/4" - 10" - 12", or long-medium-short-medium-long. Create one flush end, and hold in place with a binder clip. Use the hole punch to create a hole through all five strips, about 1/2" from the end.

use a riveting tool to join the pieces of paper together

3. Place the two complimentary pieces of the eyelet on either side, and hammer into place using the included hardware.

repeat the process and bend the ornament into a balanced shape

4. Repeat the process by lining up the opposite ends, bending everything into the balanced shape. Clamp with the binder clip, and set with another eyelet. 

The eyelets create the perfect space from which to hang the paper ornaments. You could, of course, use a heavy duty stapler, but I think the extra five cents is worth the finished look it creates. You could also use a bit of white glue, secured with the binder clips while it dries, as we did for this smaller version:

clamped diy paper ornaments with paper clips

It was created using 1" strips, cut to 10", 8", and 6 3/4". The eyelets would be a bit too heavy for this size, so the glue worked just fine. This size is also great if you're using standard 8 1/2 x 11" paper.

To hang, just slip some white thread or monofilament (fishing line) through the eyelet or under one edge. Use a few complimentary colors and hang at varying heights for some visual interest.

Do you remember some holiday crafts from your childhood that still work for adults today? Please let us know in the comments below!

Season's Greetings!



Read It!

Origami Festive Ornaments has more great ideas for paper ornaments for every holiday throughout the year.

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Sandra on Nov 17, 2016:

Does this not have where I can print without wasting paper on ads?

Amy on Dec 18, 2014:

We just made these for our class party craft. We used staplers instead of grommets or glue. Much easier for our students, and faster for our time slot. Everyone really liked them! Thank you! :)

JudiCaye on Nov 30, 2014:

I'm making these out of stiff felt and using buttons to secure the ends. They will look wonderful hanging in our picture window. First did these in the 60's - a good thing never dies.

Rachel on Jul 24, 2014:

We've been using your DIY for a fun project for our Montessori school students. They hang them in our shared garden and watch the effect of wind direction on them. So fun! Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous on Nov 27, 2013:

These are so awesome. Perfect for the Christmas tree!

Bettie Strong on Feb 11, 2013:

This is a wonderful idea and fairly easy too.  Thank you for sharing this with us.

JaneBerlin on Dec 09, 2012:

So great! I cranked out 3 of them superfast. I used the scrapbook card stock that is 12 by 12 inches and both sides have a pattern or color. One side silver and one side a sweet subtle silver swirl pattern. Another ornament a deep red sparkle paper. Tied with fun thin ribbon. I got everything at Joann Fabrics for a few dollars. Thanks a million for this! 

Anonymous on Dec 01, 2012:

one of the best elegant ideas ever! u could even make a long strip out of it! wow! :))

Sherri on Sep 30, 2012:

If you put the eyelet at the top (and use the hole to hang the ornament hook from), but use a brad for the bottom, then you could just take out the brad and fold them flat for storage later.  You could have tons of them and they would hardly take up any storage space at all!

Anonymous on Apr 12, 2012:

such a simple thing but would add to the ambiance. SIMPLE BUT GREAT!

Christa on Dec 21, 2011:

Great idea. Love the colors. I mentioned this on my blog today at: http://controllingcraziness.blogspot.com/2011/12/diy-no-mess-glittered-ornaments.html#more

stuck inside mummy cause of the rain on Dec 16, 2011:

such a great and simple thing to make with my twin 3 year olds on this rainy december's day. Thank for a modern, funky decorative DIY.


Jess on Dec 01, 2011:

Wow, I absolutely love this idea! Such simple mechanics but the end product is privvy to a ton of pattern, color, and texture variations. Kudos on this one! 

Anonymous on Dec 01, 2011:

Where did you get the colorful binder clips?  I have a project and am looking for something cute like those to complete it.  Thanks!

Nisha Sharma on Sep 14, 2011:

superb idea !!


Anonymous on Mar 14, 2011:

love it!!

Cris on Jan 20, 2011:

I know I'm too late for the holidays, but I finaly got the supplies and time to try this out and they are very cool and super easy.  I plan to make a ton of them for next year's decorating .... and a few gifts!

Heather on Dec 21, 2010:

These are so lovely. I want to make some!

Lea @ TheGraciousHost.com.au on Dec 14, 2010:

Great idea and doesn't look too hard to make even for a newb like me. Hope it's okay I used it on my blog with a link back to this post:


Anita on Dec 14, 2010:

Thanks for this tutorial! I we tried it with eyelets but couldn't get it to work with our supplies. Luckily, we had some brads which worked just as well to fasten them!

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