DIY: Scrap Paper Strip Ornaments

Up until the last couple of years, Safety Husband and I would go home to Texas for the holidays, and we never felt the need to decorate for the season. For the last couple of years we’ve talked about decorating the “Christmas Tree” that just happens to be growing in our upper yard, and this year we’re making it happen. I’ve been putting my brain power into making ornaments that are either weatherproof, or are meant to be thrown away in January. It’s been a great chance to work through some of the materials I’ve been… ahem… collecting.

I love vintage ornaments and paper, and after a couple of years of experimentation I was ready to combine those two loves in this one ornament design. Super quick, because they are held together by staples, a couple of basic techniques can build a whole tree’s worth of decoration.



  • Stapler
  • Ribbon (3/8″ to 1/2″ wide is great)
  • Scrap Paper: I used leftover 12×12 scrapbooking paper, but catalog or magazine pages would work well too! If you’re using thin paper, you might want to double up on the number of strips per ornament.
  • Clips: binder clips work great for this, but a clothespin will work in a pinch. (Pun intended.)
  • Scissors

To begin, cut about eight 1/2″ strips off your paper. (You can vary the number, just make sure you have an even number of strips.)

Cut a length of ribbon about twice the length of your paper strips.

Fold the ribbon in half, and stack half the strips on each side. Staple near the bottom of the stack, away from the loop of ribbon.

The staple will go through all the paper and the ribbon, securing that point. (Staples must be cheating, because they make this too easy.)

Put a clip about halfway down the paper, clamping the whole stack of paper and ribbon. With one hand, hold the clip, and with the other gently pull on the loop of the ribbon.

This should cause the paper to pooch out a little on the other side of the clip. Repeat the holding and pulling step, but this time grab the ribbon loop and the two strips of paper closest to it on either side.

Repeat again and again, adding another strip on either side, until you reach the outer strip.


Then carefully put a staple through the area the clip was holding.


Trim any excess paper with a pair of scissors.

If you want, you can curl some of the extra paper to add a little decorative detail. Simply roll the paper around a small pencil or paintbrush to curl it.

Once you get the hang of the whole pull method, you can shake things up by doing a similar technique, upside-down.

Staple in the middle of your ornament, and turn each strip back down. Once you’ve turned each strip, staple them at the bottom to form a heart shape.

Using these two techniques you can make a whole range of funky vintage ornaments.

If you get sick of looking at the staples, you can replace them with a couple of stitches. Simply poke a hole in the middle of the stack, and make stitches back and forth to secure the ornament.

Remove the staple, and you’ll never know it was there.

Or spend that time making a whole army or ornaments. It’s up to you!

One set down, more to go.