How to Make Your Own Giant Bauble Decorations

Maybe you work in a school or help out at a local community centre and have been tasked with decorating the space for Christmas. What do you do? You’ve got the Christmas tree, of course, but what else can you do on a small budget that will have a big impact?

How about giant hanging baubles? You've probably seen rather pricey ones you can purchase online or in department stores. If your budget won't stretch that far, how about making your own? These simple, yet effective giant baubles are made from inflatable footballs and could be a great craft to do with children in the run up to Christmas!

What you will need:

Plastic footballs. Depending on how many baubles you're hoping to make.

Old bottle caps. I used a variety of caps which I collected from old water bottles, milk bottles and cosmetic cans.

Paint to cover the caps and the footballs. You can use a spray paint or regular paint, such as acrylic, and a paintbrush. You'll need enough for a few coats over the footballs and to paint the bottle caps. For these I used a metallic silver nail varnish. You could also experiment with different designs and patterns or using glitter too if you fancied!

Ribbon. I used a silver ribbon (6mm wide) to hang the bauble. You could use a glittery ribbon or a more natural string or twine if you prefer.

Glue sticks and a glue gun.

Soldering pen or needle. This is to make two holes in the top of the bottle caps so you can thread your hanging string. While the soldering pen is the quickest and easiest option, if you don't already own one a needle or a crafting knife would also do the job.

Scissors.

Needle or other tool to thread the ribbon. Threading the ribbon through the small holes in the bottle caps can be a little tricky so I used a tool to help me ease it through the holes. If you don't have a weeder tool (for a Cricut machine) then a needle or even a kitchen fork would do the job!

Step One - Painting your Bauble and Cap

The first task is to paint your football. I used a red spray paint to cover mine. It took a few coats to cover the darker black areas but after two layers and an additional light touch up on any thinner parts it did provide full coverage.

Tip: Be careful not to spray any areas too thick on a single coat. Otherwise the paint could run and you'll end up with dribbles.

If you’re not keen on using a spray paint (I don't blame you, it's messy!) then a paintbrush and an acrylic or other craft paint would do the job.

You might want to seal your paint after you've applied the final coat. You can use any clear lacquer for this. They are generally available in spray can and paintable forms. Sealing your piece will prevent the paint from cracking, flaking and peeling away. It's an additional expense though so if you are only planning to use your baubles once then perhaps it's a step you could skip.

Spray painting the football

For the caps, I used old bottle tops which I painted silver. Here I have milk carton, water bottle and cosmetic spray can caps. I’d bought a silver spray paint for covering these but if I'm honest it didn't turn out great and I wouldn't recommend it! It left a powdery layer on the caps which transferred on to anything they touched. So, in the end I used an old silver nail polish to cover them and that worked great!

A range of bottle caps
Painted bottle caps

Step Two - Making the holes in the cap for the hanging ribbon

For this I used my Pyrography soldering pen and the stippling tip. If you don't have a soldering pen then you could make the holes with a sharp needle (it would need to be quite thick to make large enough holes to thread the ribbon through). Another alternative would be to very carefully use a craft knife to make the holes.

You'll need to make two holes, about 1-2mm in diameter, either side of the centre of the cap. Helpfully many bottle caps have a dent or lump from when the moulds were cast which denote where exactly the centre is!

Adding holes to bottle caps

Step Three - Threading the Hanging Ribbon

I cut a piece of ribbon which was approximately 15cm long to hang my bauble. To thread the ribbon through the holes I used my Cricut weeder tool. However, if you don’t have one of these a needle or even the prong of a kitchen fork would do the job!

Place the ribbon on the under side of the cap with the end lined up with the hole. Then use your chosen tool to hook the ribbon from the opposite side and pull it through the hole. Do this for both ends of the ribbon, one through each hole.

Note: Don’t worry if the ends of your ribbon look a bit tatty after this bit. Once you’ve threaded the ribbon through and tied your knot you can cut the untidy ends off.

Threading ribbon through bottle caps
Bottle caps with ribbon threaded through

Step Five - Glue your Cap to the Bauble

For this step I used my trusty glue gun. I applied quite a lot of glue all the way around the inside of the cap and pressed it firmly onto the painted football. I chose to cover the hole that the air pump slots in to to inflate the ball. If you are going to want to deflate your football ornaments for storage after the festivities are done then you will need to have this part accessible so place the cap elsewhere.

Hold your cap against the ball for a good few minutes to allow the glue to fully cool and create a solid bond with the ball. If this doesn’t happen the first time you can simply add additional glue and try again. Don't worry about removing the 'failed' glue. It will increase the surface area and help create a better bond between the two pieces.

Adding glue to the bottle cap
Adding the bottle cap to the bauble
Finished giant Christmas bauble

And there you have it, giant Christmas baubles using children's footballs and recycled bottle caps!

Happy Christmas and Happy Crafting!

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