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I love things that are larger than life. Give me a novelty jumbo pencil and I’m going to write that sucker down to a nib. Make me the biggest burger in The City and I’m going to do my best to take it out… well, I would back when I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to be eating gluten :) The other day I even saw peanut butter cups that were half a pound each. Half a pound! Do you have any clue the kind of steel will it took for me not to come home with those things?
So last year I got all excited about making some jumbo Christmas decorations to go around my huge ass front door. Seriously. That sucker is 4 feet wide and 11 feet tall making normal sized decorations look dinky as all get out. And so in the fall of 2016 I fancied myself super well prepared for the very stressful time the craft blogger knows as “the fourth quarter” and then, well, things went sideways as they sometimes do and the supplies to make my jumbo ornaments got stashed away untouched.
But luckily I’ve for real got my act together for 2017. I’ve got tons and tons of amazing holiday crafts in various states of completion all over my craft room that I just know you’re going to love this season. AND it just so happens that I joined in on the Handmade Holidays blog hop where you’ll find even more ideas from some super amazing bloggers tackling gifts, decor and recipes perfect for the season.
I’ve got to tell you I love them for a good couple of reasons.
- They’re big and bigger is often better.
- You can make these giant ornaments in so many different colors.
- Using good, sturdy materials, these guys are going to literally going to be front porch worthy year after year.
- And finally, they fold in on themselves so you can easily store them for the next year.
And did I mention that these are some super gigantic Christmas ornaments? Wait, I did? Great! And it sure doesn’t hurt that it’s super easy and only takes, like, 15 minutes apiece. And that easy storage option too, though. So much to love! Want to make some? Let’s get it!
For this project you will need:
- 24″ vinyl beach balls (for crazy variety try beachballs.com)
- 6″ galvanized steel duct caps (much cheaper at Lowe’s)
- U-bolt (mine are 4″ length x 3/16″ round-bend galvanized steel, 1-1/2″ center-line width, 1-1/4″ inside diameter)
- Clear Silicone in an easy squeeze tube (for windows, flashing, etc.
- Gray ribbon
- Power drill
I bought TONS of beach balls because I wasn’t sure which ones I’d want to use and because I have this thing with getting my money’s worth out of shipping charges :) In the end I decided that I didn’t care for the traditional beach ball pattern for this project , because, you know, the color/white/color/white pattern that goes around and screams “hey, I’m a beach ball”? And I want people to think “how did she make those gigantic ornaments” not “why would she do that to a beach ball?” :)
Chit cat aside, the first step is to blow you your beach balls.
When I think of ornaments I always think of that crimped metal hanging thingie on top so the goal was to mimic that as closely as possible. I went to so many different stores and I flat out told Rob one weekend “I know what I want I just have no idea what it is” to which he said “okay” and perused a billion aisles at just about as many stores until we found crimped vent caps at Lowe’s. These are sold in the ventilation area near plumbing and I have no clue what they are used for except, probably, ventilation since that’s the area that houses them.
These things aren’t meant to be pretty and removing the stickers turned out to be a real bear but for a nice, pretty finish these price tags have just got to go. Here’s how you’re going to remove them… Using a sharp razor blade scrape beneath the sticker to pull the bulk of it away. As you should with all sharp and dangerous things, please be careful.
Next take a super strong cleaner, I’m using foam Scrubbing Bubbles for bathrooms, allow the cleaner to soak for a moment and then wipe the adhesive left behind easily away.
To make that loop that occurs on a real Christmas ornament we’re going to use a steel u-bolt. You can purchase these online or you can find them in the section of the hardware store that has ropes or metal pieces like L brackets and mending plates.
Turn your vent cap over and mark on the inside, in the middle the places you will need to drill holes to push the u-bolt through the cap.
Using a bit that is larger than the width of the bolts legs, drill holes in those 2 places working from the inside through to the top side.
Place the plate that comes with the bolt on top of these holes on the cap’s cover and run the bolt’s legs through that plate and the holes below.
Using the nuts that came with it, screw the bolt into place making sure that the legs don’t stick out further than the bottom edge of your cap.
When these balls tip over (and they will because they are crazy top heavy) the plate is going to make quite a clatter. Though not totally necessary, you can glue this part down to the top of the cap with a super industrial strength glue like The Ultimate or e6000.
Now it is time to bust out your silicone. This is what I used and you can purchase it in this type of a tube or a huge tube that goes into a caulking gun. I prefer this method because you’re basically going to waste what you don’t use in the bigger tube and it’s harder to wield a caulking gun with precision for smallish craft things BUT if you already have a big silicone tube opened up that needs to be used anyway, you can totally go that route, too.
Run a decent bead of silicone along the edge of your cap like in the image above.
Apply the cap to the end opposite the plug and, if necessary, use painter’s tape to keep it in place to allow the silicone to dry.
Once dry remove the tape and run the silicone around the edge of your vent cap to seal the edge, just like you’d caulk a window or a tub. Allow again to dry.
Cut a 40″ length of 1 inch wide ribbon and loop it onto itself over the the loop the u-bolt creates. Overlap the ribbon one inch and hot glue together to make a continuous loop.
When the holidays are over and you’re ready to put these giant ornaments away until next year, open the plug to remove the air and neatly fold the ball beneath the cap while still attached. Use the ribbon to wrap around and hold everything and then neatly keep it together by catching the loop on the u-bolt without worry of everything popping free. Cool, right?