Opulent Ornaments

Enjoy the Opulent Ornaments by Paula Nadelstern!

Here’s your chance to get in touch with your inner embellisher. These eye-catching ornaments often trigger nostalgic memories of family members who made some type of embellished Styrofoam ball. This version kicks it up a notch. You’ll intuitively rely on the repetitive flow of shapes and colors from a commercial kaleidoscopic or medallion-like print to create this easy-to-make and visually beautiful object, brimming with sparkle and ready to display.

Opulent Ornaments

It’s all done with regular, inexpensive dressmaker pins, not fancy-schmancy silk or piecing pins. The key is to layer luminous beads with iridescent sequins; I pile one sequin on another for interesting effects. It’s a More is MORE moment!

About thirty ornaments—some on candlesticks, others filling a wrought iron basket—spill along the top of a 7 ft. long x 1 ft. wide x 3 ft. high rosewood cabinet in the living room of my New York City apartment. Sitting under a quilt and behind a couch, the unit was built to store rolled up quilts.

Opulent Ornaments

Here are images of the most recent ones I’ve made with my friend Katherine Knauer.

Opulent Ornaments

Opulent Ornaments

Opulent Ornaments

Opulent Ornaments

Opulent Ornaments

Now I get to introduce you to Karen Selva from Colorado Springs, CO. Karen spent twenty-four years in the Air Force before retiring as a colonel.  Her three kids are grown and she works on a variety of craft genres to her heart’s content.

This year, one of Karen’s six Christmas Trees is a fabulous 7 ft. tall tree adorned with twenty-four bejeweled balls. The tree is raised up a foot on a table covered with brown, quilted fabric. Karen started making the ornaments before last Christmas.

Opulent Ornaments - Christmas Tree

Here’s some of what she has to say:

“Making the ornaments was a creative outlet. Following the beautiful designs of the fabric allowed me to make essentially the same things but different every time as the mood moved me. In order to make the balls the focal point, I used ribbon to separate the tree into diamond shaped areas where a ball could sit front and center as the star of the show. I found blinged out poinsettias (think glitter) in the same colors as the fabrics to center where the ribbons cross, keeping the attention on the balls.  There are 24 balls total: 16 six inch balls, 4 five inch balls and 4 four inch balls.  Those smaller eight are at the top of the tree to give it the illusion of being taller. I have another three ornaments on the mantel and another three (one in each size) that will sit on the buffet table in the dining room.”

To attach the ornaments to the tree, Karen glued two long 2″ eye hook needles, putting E6000 glue on the needle which is pushed into anywhere on the ball against a sequin to make it blend in. The glue does not go through into the Styrofoam but does firmly connect the eye hook to the fabric.  Then she used a regular ornament hook, wrapping it firmly around the tree limb to secure it.  To ensure stability, she makes some of the limbs support the larger balls just in case the glue does not want to hold.

Opulent Ornaments on Christmas Tree

Please download the instructions: Opulent Ornaments Instructions.

Here is a list of fabric types you’ll want to look for:

You might even find you already have some in your stash.

Opulent Ornaments on tree

Opulent Ornaments on Christmas Tree

Our December 17 Gift For You

This Giveaway has closed! Thanks to all who entered and congratulations to the winner, our WeAllSew reader “rjgosnell”!

Today’s gift is a selection of 5 fat quarter fabric sets to one awesome WeAllSew fan. All you have to do is post a comment below answering the following question:

Which spot would you choose for an opulent ornament in your home?

A winner will be chosen at random on December 18, 2015 and announced later this week!


9 days until Christmas

159 thoughts on “Opulent Ornaments

  1. I love these ornaments! I’m definitely going to try it out. I collect Christmas tree ornaments when I travel, now I have something else to work on that is more personal and will be a result of my very own creativity. I’m new to this blog, so can you post instructions or more pics on how you made them? Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, these are beautiful! I think if I were successful in completing one, I would hang it from our dining room chandelier where I have our Christmas tree.

  3. These are beautiful ornaments. I would display it at my entry way table. It would be the first thing one would see. Thank you for the imaginative idea.

  4. These are absolutely gorgeous! Great project to work on when you aren’t able to be behind your machine or at the cutting table ; ) I would put my ornaments on top of a case in our living room with pine and little whit lights. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial!

  5. Beautiful! I would put them on display as a centerpiece on the dining room table. I could picture them on an entry way table to welcome guests, but I can’t put them there as I don’t have an entry way.

  6. I would place it on the wreath that decorates our front door. It would also look great in a grouping on the center of the dining room table, with greenery.

  7. I have a triple swag of tinsel at the top of a triple window in the living room. I think one of these Opulent Ornament hanging in between each of the three swags would really showcase these beautiful ornaments.

  8. Those or gorgeous! I would set 3-5 of them in a bowl on my coffee table or put them in a centerpiece on my dining room table. It looks time consuming but they are beautiful!

  9. I have a glass front cabinet where one would look really nice hung on an ornament stand. The cabinet keeps things safe from my three kitties! Thank you for the lovely opportunity!

  10. I’d like to start with one big one hanging from the chandelier over my dining room table. I’ve already thought of a way to give it extra support. Then I’d start making medium or smaller ones for all my best sewing buds (since it uses fabric) to give them next year. What a wonderful way to use those many beads I’ve collected and Paula’s gorgeous fabrics too.

  11. I love that you can make these ornaments to match your color scheme and they don’t necessarily have to be made in traditional Christmas colors to look festive. I would hang them in my windows with a spotlight on them.

  12. I currently make ornaments using folded fabric and change with the seasons. I incorporate the colors with each room. I even put them in the bathroom. These ornaments far surpass anything I make. It is a joy just to look at them. I would continue displaying all around the house, and particularly around any windows just to add to the glow from the sun.

  13. I loves this! I would make a bunch and display the in a pretty crystal bowl to go on my dining room table. When i was a kid my sister and i had a simular project with a “doll” that we would bejewel her skirt. Good memories.

  14. These ornaments are stunning! I would have to have more than one of them but if there was only one, I would have to put it in the center of my dining table with some greenery and ribbon.

  15. Wow. I am just speechless. These are the most beautiful ornaments I have ever seen!

    An ornament like this would have to be the focal point on a tree or wreath. These are just so amazing, excuse me now, I have to go pin them on my Pinterest page so I can admire them in the future!

  16. Wow, those ornaments are really over the top! I would probably hang it either in the pass through in my kitchen over over the entry way into the kitchen. They are just spectacular. Thanks!

  17. These are just lovely. I have a large hurricane candle holder, I would place the balls in it on a coffee table so one could look down on them, but see the colors and sequins from above.

  18. This is breathtaking!!!!! I sure want to make these and it will be the eye catcher of our Christmas (in the Netherlands) I will place them for my window where everyone in my street can see and enjoy these beauties!!

  19. My tree can never have enough ornaments but if it’s too heavy for the branches I simply love the idea of using candlesticks to display them. I have lots of pretty brass ones.

  20. Incredible! I like the idea of setting one on a cut glass candlestick (I have several) on the mantle in my living room. That way it would be noticeable whenever one enters the room and always visible while in the room.

  21. Beautiful. I would hang them from my curtain rod in the kitchen so I could enjoy them all day long. I might even keep them on display all year long.

  22. Exquisite! Such creativity which is not my strong suit. Is there a detailed video or instructions about how to accomplish creating the opulent ornaments? My display vision is to arrange several on a long, rectangular clear glass dish and place in the center of the table.

  23. Stunning! I’d put them in a glass bowl in my foyer. Like violet, I would love detailed instructions–is the fabric glued to the styrofoam ball first? By strips, or some other method?
    Really love these!

  24. These are just beautiful! I would love to hang several in front of a long wall mirror in the living room, to be reflected on all sides and displayed throughout the room.

  25. I love these ornaments. I do remember making them as a chielld but they were not nearly this pretty. I would make several and display them in a crystal bowl on my dining room table.

  26. Wow, are they stunning! I’d honestly have to say they’d look good in somebody else’s house after I made them. Great gifts! Besides, with a kitten, a puppy, and the older dogs and cat, ornaments are NOT happening in my house in 2016!

  27. I have done some styrofoam ball ornaments before but not like these. I eould love to make some to hang on my Christmas tree and to make some for family. Just beautiful.

  28. I am making one and I will hang it from the ceiling above the TV so that I will always see it! It is also the wall that is straight ahead of my work station. Beautiful.

  29. These ornaments are gorgeous!! They do remind me of my childhood days when I made sequined styrofoam balls. 😊 If i had one of these beauties it would be placed “Front and Center” on my living room coffee table. It would have a “Place of Honor.” ☺️

  30. I have a cut glass bowl that was my mother’s. I would make a group of these and nestle them in the bowl on a window ledge. It would reflect light inside and out.

  31. These ornaments are incredible. They would deserve a place of honor, either hanging in a window, piled on a mantel, heaped in a fancy bowl and of course, on a beautiful tree.

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  32. Each year our family gathers and one of our group activities is to hand-make ornaments. Making these would be an activity all the children and the adults would be able to enjoy. We will display them on the dining room chandelier. Wonderful!

  33. These would be “front and center” in my home. I would place a few in a stemmed bowl on my table at my front door. Then I would position micro lights surrounding them to highlight. It would be the first thing you see and set the theme for sparkles in the rest of my home.

  34. Front and center in a crystal bowl on the coffee table. Or the center of the dining room table. They are so gorgeous, I would have a hard time putting them away.

  35. I would hang one (or many) from the lights above my kitchen sink. The sun would make them sparkle during the day and the light would make them sparkle at night. Yours are lovely!

  36. Wow! These are gorgeous! I would put them in a pretty basket on our coffee table. And, also on the tree! I think they would survive attacks by kitty cats!

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  38. WOW!! WOW!!! WOW!!!!!! So Wonderfully BEAUTIFUL!!! I have been wondering what I could give my Sister-in-Law! I think I have found it!! I hope I can make more than one in time for Christmas!! I can make some for me later!!

  39. I can’t wait to make some. I’m going to hang them from my garland that hangs from my fireplace. They are gorgeous, thanks for sharing your skills and creativity.

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