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Book Page Ornaments – Paper Christmas Tree Decorations & Homemade Gift Idea

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There’s something special about homemade Christmas ornaments – they have more personality than a factory-made bauble from a big box store! Plus, there are so many different types of  ornaments you can make yourself. This project is for 3D paper Christmas ornaments that are fun and inexpensive to create. The tutorial uses upcycled book pages, but you could also use scrapbook paper or magazine/catalogue pages. I happened to have a pre-release working copy of a book that has now been published for 4 years, so I didn’t feel bad about cutting it up! This tutorial does need a sewing machine, but it requires only the most basic sewing skills – if can depress the machine’s pedal for a few seconds, you’re good to go.

Upcycled Paper 3D Christmas Ornaments_

Before we get started, I’d like to apologize for the tutorial photos. I just moved on Monday and I don’t have any of my old backgrounds, light-bouncing foam board, etc. anymore and I’m still figuring out where the light is best for pictures where I’m living now! Consequently, these photos are not as nice as I’d like, but I think they still get the point across.

book ornamnet ball

Materials needed for paper ornaments

  • A book or at least 10 sheets of other paper
  • A straight edge
  • An Exacto knife
  • Ornament patterns (provided below)
  • Scissors
  • A pencil
  • A sewing machine + thread
  • Acrylic matte clear coat spray (optional)




Paper ornament patterns

Please feel free to use my ball, bell, and star patterns, if you’d like. You can also make your own patterns, just make sure to think about the finished ornament when you’re creating the patterns. Some shapes make sense for this project, but others do not. The finished product is in the round, so a gingerbread man might look pretty weird. On the other hand, a snowman or Christmas tree would make a fantastic 3D ornament.

How to make paper ornaments

1. If you’re using a book, you need to remove a handful of pages. Based on my experience, I recommend at least 10 pages. You can use more for a more full ornament, but make sure your sewing machine can handle the number of pages you choose. I have a heavy duty machine that can handle two dozen pages, but the examples show ornaments made with 10 pages to show the results from a standard-weight machine. To remove the pages:

  • Open your book and place a straight edge along the interior, as shown below.
  • Hold the straight edge in place and cut along it with your Exacto knife to remove the pages.
  • Repeat this process as necessary to remove the number of pages you need.
How to Remove Pages from a Book

2. Use a binder clip or two to hold the pages together.

Pages from a Book

3. Print and cut out your ornament patterns.

4. Arrange the patterns on your pages and then trace them with a pencil.

tracing ornament patterns

5. Fold each pattern in half, place them back on their respective outlines, and then trace a straight line along the folded edge to divide the outline in half.

traced ornament outline

6. Sew down the center line on each outline. Make sure to begin and end within the traced outline or the ornament will end up looking funny! Also, make sure you leave a couple inches of thread hanging free and untrimmed at the top of each ornament.

sewing the ornaments together

7. Once all ornaments are sewn, cut carefully along the outlines, making sure not to cut through the stitching.

paper book ornaments

8. Trim any excess thread from the bottom of each ornament and knot the upper thread to create a loop for hanging the ornament.

9. Fold open the pages until you’re satisfied with the way each ornament looks. I folded the top 5 pages on each side towards me along the stitched line and then turned the ornament over to fold the remaining 5 pages on each side towards me again. Then I adjusted the page positions, as necessary.

3D paper book ornaments

10. If you’d like to protect your ornaments and make them a little more durable, treat them with a coat of clear acrylic spray, such as Mod Podge or Krylon spray, and allow them to dry before hanging them.

11. Enjoy your new upcycled ornaments or give them as a gift!

book ornamnet bell

As a note of caution – paper dulls scissors and needles. Whatever needle you choose to use for this project will be dulled if you make more than a couple of them. Luckily, sewing machine needles are easy to come by, just remember that you may need to replace the needle before you next serious sewing project!

book ornamnet star


Looking for more homemade Christmas decor? Check out my easy felt ornaments and costal Christmas tree topiary:

Easy Felt Christmas Ornaments w Free Printable Patterns


Coastal Christmas Tree Shell Topiary Tutorial

Have you ever made paper ornaments before? What’s your favorite type of homemade ornament?

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{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Ann January 19, 2016, 16:04

    What a sweet tutorial. I love your paper ornaments. They would be pretty made from song book pages. I love the machine stitching to assemble. When my sons were 14 & 16 I spent Christmas season in the hospital. (I had been very ill & had to learn to walk again.) I was so sad (about being in the hospital during that season) my Dr. sent me to “occupational therapy.” There: we patients made Christmas ornaments for our families. I was hooked. Since 1977 I’ve made everyone in our expanding family a “home made” ornament, every Christmas. Now there are ten to make for: kids, grandkids, great-grand-kids (a couple more on the way.) I’m always looking for pretty, unique ornaments to add to their collections.

    • Natashalh January 22, 2016, 16:49

      What a neat tradition! Sorry to hear of how it started with your hospital stay, but at least something nice grew out of it. =) I think you’re right and that these would look great made with sheet music!

  • Rita McDonough January 19, 2014, 10:48

    I love these–thanks so much. Do you know of a source that would cut shapes in multiples by machine so that these could be made without individual cutting?

    • Natashalh January 19, 2014, 11:45

      I don’t know of two punches that fit each other perfectly, but there are absolutely heart hole punches. I’m a fan of the Martha Stewart punches and she has a great one for the smaller size. Maybe I should add a link in the original post. Thanks for the idea!

    • Natashalh January 19, 2014, 12:05

      Gosh, I’m so sorry – I realized I looked at your comment wrong and replied as if it were for the heart bookmarks.

      Because of the way this ornament is designed, you only have to cut each shape out once per ornament, which is pretty handy. You can cut shapes with dies (I know the local Ben Franklin store lets you do use theirs for free), but I don’t think they can cut several sheets at once. It really shouldn’t be an issue, though, since you need to sew before cutting, anyway.

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