For me, the holidays should be warm and cozy days filled with family, friends, and the things that make us happiest. The last few years have been a bit bumpy, and during that time I needed nothing more than those essentials. Decorating was the furthest thing from my mind. This year I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I was itching to decorate the house – well, at least a small corner of it. I didn’t want to go crazy and feel overwhelmed. The only hitch is that during the last few years I’ve also downsized considerably. When I went through my stash of Christmas decorations, there really wasn’t much that made me light up and feel excited.
I wanted something that felt elegant and vintage, without being too fussy. I also wanted the pieces to be something that I adored and could use in future years as the base of my holiday decorations. I decided to start small, just a simple garland over the card catalog in my studio.
A trip to Michaels’ and Jo-Ann’s turned up some greenery I could work into a garland, as well as a battery-powered string of lights I absolutely loved. I already had some vintage silver tinsel garland, tiny pearl-colored glass balls and faux crystals that would catch the light. I gave some cheap plastic pearls a coat of shimmery champagne spray paint, and wound them through the garland. This became the base of my decorations – simple, slightly sparkly, and fairly neutral in color.
It was still missing a certain je ne sais quoi that would pull it all together. Something with sparkle and interest that evoked that vintage vibe. A friend shared a tutorial for some simple fan folded vintage ornaments, and I knew they would be the perfect thing.
I cut strips of paper 1.5” to 2” wide, then joined several pieces together into a long strip. To figure out the size, the width of the paper is 1/2 the width of the final ornament. So for a 3″ wide rosette, you need a 1.5″ wide strip of paper.
The length of the strip controls how full the rosettes are. Mine were about 21″ long, which was the length of three strips joined together. I also covered a thin sheet of cardboard with paper and punched out 1″ circles.
The paper I used came from vintage French paperbacks that were falling apart and damaged. Not everyone has vintage paper laying around or feels comfortable cutting up books, so vintage script scrapbook paper is a great alternative.
I fan folded the strips and rounded off the corners slightly with a pair of scissors. Then I joined the ends to make a rosette. A little dab of hot glue holds the centers together. The paper covered circles hide the glue on the back and add stability to the structure.
For the centers on the front, I cut stars out of thin chipboard. I have a small stash of chipboard in various weights that would otherwise have been tossed in the recycling. The back of scrapbook paper pads is a great weight for a project like this.
The stars are coated in glue and German glass glitter. This is crushed glass coated with real silver. It has a gentle sparkle, and as it is exposed to air, the silver oxidizes and looks vintage. Combined with the old paper I am using, these will look authentically vintage in no time.
I coated the outside edges of the rosettes with the same glitter. I twisted craft wire into a hook and glued it to the back of the ornaments so I could hang them. Then I glued the glittered stars to the center front, and the rosettes were ready to hang.
For a second shape to mix in, I covered more chipboard with the vintage book paper. I cut out stars in a variety of shapes and sizes and coated just the edges in glitter. I poked a small hole in each star and used clear nylon thread to hang them in the garland.
I’m extremely happy with how the garland turned out. Some of the elements like the string lights and champagne beads have a very modern feel, yet mix wonderfully with the vintage look of the ornaments. I can use any of these pieces in various combinations for future holidays.
Want to make your own rosettes and stars? Here’s a free printable PDF of the star templates I used.