How to Make Victorian-Style Lace Christmas Ornaments
Handmade, Victorian Lace Christmas Ornaments
Decorating a Christmas tree with handmade, lace Christmas ornaments was quite the thing when Christmas trees first came to Victorian England.
Many people are misinformed in thinking the Christmas tree tradition began in England. Actually, Prince Albert, the husband, and love of Queen Victoria brought the first Christmas tree from Germany to England in 1841 to make his queen happy.
When the people of England saw how beautiful the decorated trees were and how much the Queen enjoyed them, they quickly adopted the custom, making it their own.
Thanks to Queen Victoria's beloved Prince Albert, people all over the world now celebrate Christmas with this much-loved tradition of decorating the Christmas tree.
The custom during Queen Victoria's reign (the Victorian era), was to either put small trees on the tabletops using an attractive, white damask tablecloth underneath or to have a floor-to-ceiling Christmas tree. The later wasn't used in England until the later part of the Victorian era. These traditions haven't really changed that much over the years.
Decorating a Victorian Christmas Tree
In this day and age, less is more. In Victorian England, more was better.
The Victorians loved their Christmas trees and decorated them lavishly. The trees were packed with sparkling, gilded ornaments, as many as the tree could hold, along with cookies, sweetmeats, cakes, candies, and garland. Once the tree was decorated, then candles were put on the trees for light.
Once decorating Christmas trees became a popular tradition in England, elaborate ornaments were crafted either by the artisans of the time or by the ladies at home.
However, Victorian Christmas ornaments were not crafted using the traditional red and green color schemes that are used today.
They had much richer, more opulent colors such as deep burgundies, aquas, deep sapphire blues, dusty rose, and mauves. These colors were usually paired with delicate ivories and creams.
Pearls, ribbons, lace, crystal prisms, and sparkling glass beads were used to adorn ornaments. Glass beaded garland and ornate silver and gold gilded pieces were also very popular during Queen Victoria's reign.
As much as Victorian women loved things that sparkle and shine, they also loved making ornaments made from natural elements too.
Gilded walnuts and pine cones, as well as sparkling seashells, sand dollars, and starfish were very popular natural element ornaments on Victorian Christmas trees. They also loved to make hand painted, hand stitched and decoupage ornaments to hang.
Most ornaments of the time were handmade at home by the wives and children of the family. Just as all the fine needlework such as embroidery, needlepoint, crochet, and tatting were crafts accomplished by the genteel woman of the time, so were the crafting of Christmas ornaments.
Today I will show you several easy to make Victorian-style lace Christmas ornaments. Once you have the needed supplies, all it will take is a few hours of your time and a little imagination to make your very own Victorian lace ornaments to decorate your own Christmas tree or to give as gifts.
First Things First.
Before getting started on making your ornaments, we want to get a batch of mulled cider going.
Having the wonderful aroma of fruit and spices in the air from the cider warming just adds to the wonderful feeling of Christmas.
- 1 Gallon natural apple cider (the cloudy kind)
- 2 cups 100% natural cranberry juice
- 4 cinnamon sticks + 8
- 6 whole dried allspice berries
- 2 cups whole fresh cranberries
- 1/4 c. genuine maple syrup
- 1 piece fresh ginger root
- 1 orange
- 8 whole cloves
- Capt. Morgan's Spiced Rum
- Brandy and Bourbon
- Put everything into the crock pot except the ginger, orange, cloves and liquor. Reserve 8 cinnamon sticks for stir sticks.
- Turn the crock pot on "High".
- Peel and smash the piece of ginger root with the flat side of your butcher knife and add to the crock pot.
- Peel the orange rind in one continuous spiral from the orange, stud with the cloves and add to the crock pot.
- Bring to a boil covered. Once the cider boils, remove the cover and let the cider simmer away while making your ornaments. When ready to serve, strain the spices, the clove-studded orange peel, and discard. Add a few cranberries to each mug, then the liquor of choice, then the mulled cider, and a cinnamon stick as a stir stick. Making the mulled cider this way allows the kids to have some too since the liquor is added to the individual glasses.
- If you don't have the 4 hours time to spare for the crock pot, you can boil and then simmer on the stove in a big pot. I had to do that for this years Christmas party as I was running late and wanted it to smell like Christmas as the guest entered the house.
Victorian Lace & Ribbon Ornaments
Victorian Lace Christmas Tree Ornaments
Anyone of these Victorian Style Lace Ornaments can easily be made at home. With most of the ornaments, the supplies are minimal and will include lace (duh!), a glue gun, pearl bead string, and ribbon roses. Additional embellishments can be added, but these are the basics that most of the lace ornaments will be made out of.
Victorian Ribbon Lace Wreath Ornament
Gather Your Supplies
- Wire Cutters
- Green Floral Wire
- 24" to 1 yard of 1' to 3' wide Ribbon Lace, eyelet lace or fancy lace can be used too. I have used all three with great results. The eyelet lace are not as fancy as the ribbon lace, or fancy lace, but can be made to be with embellishments. The length will depend on the type of lace and the width of the lace and how full you want the wreath ornament to be. Wider fancy lace will make a fuller ornament, while eyelet lace on be done with only 6" of lace if it is not gathered.
- 1 ribbon rose for each ornament you plan to make. You could add 3 if you want. Just remember to always keep to an odd number for balance.
- Approximately 12" of 1/8" satin ribbon for the ornament bow. The ribbon can only be purchased by the roll at craft stores.
- 4" pearl strand for each ornament hanger. The pearl strands may be purchased by the foot or by the roll at any craft store.
- Glue gun
- Cut the wire to 6" length.
- Wrap the wire around the neck of a bottle to create a loop about 2" in diameter, then bend one end of the wire to create a small hook.
- Feed your lace onto the piece of wire, weaving the wire in and out through the holes in the lace at evenly spaced intervals; about every 1/2" to 3/4" so that the lace is gathered on the wire. as close to the bottom edge of your lace as possible, while keeping the lace secure to the wire. You can either feed the wire through the lace or feed it back and forth on the wire, depending on the type of lace.
- Bend the other end of the wire to create a second small hook, then interlock the ends.
- Loop the ribbon to make a bow, wrapping the stem of the ribbon rose around the middle of the bow to secure, then wrap the stem around the ends of the pearl strand.
- Next, attach the stem of the ribbon rose to the interlocked ends of the wire (with the pearl strand looped at the top of the wreath) by wrapping the remaining piece of the stem firmly to the wire ends. Use the pearl strand as a hanger.
- Add a small spot of glue if you wish to be sure it is secure.
Lace Snowflake Ornament
This is the easiest lace ornament of all to make at home.
What You Will Need:
- Lace - a strip of lace about 2-1/2" wide and about 8" long
- Sewing needle & white thread
- 1 ribbon rose in your choice of color
- Thin gold thread or an ornament hook
- Using a basting stitch, stitch along the flat edge of the strip of lace..
- Pull each end of thread to gather the lace into a circle round. Tie the thread and knot.
- Add a dab of hot glue to secure.
- Add another dab of glue to backside of the ribbon rose and glue to the center of the lace round.
- Thread a needle with the fine gold thread and push it through the lace, tie in a knot and voila! An ornament hanger.
A Lace Candy Cane Victorian Ornament
Just fold some stiff lace "accordion style", weave it onto a pipe cleaner, or florist wire.
The lace candy cane ornament pictured here is a very simple plain one that would be a great project for a child. You children can work on making these while Mommy makes more detailed ornaments.
You can get much more elaborate by embellishing with some beads, buttons, pearls, ribbons and ribbon roses.
Add a strand of pearl bead string for a hanger like you did for the lace wreath and you have another Victorian lace Christmas ornament to hang on your tree.
Just use a little (or a lot) of your own creative imagination!
Lace Victorian Ball Christmas Ornament
I made this one quite a few years ago. My eldest daughter took most of the ornaments that I hadn't given as gifts. This was one of the few that she left me. I didn't use pearl string as a hanger on this batch as I had run out.
Instead, I used a gold cord. This one is from a set I made that was using up the last of the materials I had leftover after making a huge amount for my employees for Christmas. The lace is a little smashed from being packed away. I didn't starch the lace on this one.
Awesome Glue Gun
Okay! Two years later and it is time for a new glue gun. Yah! Yah! Yah! Only two years, but if you use it a lot (not just at Christmas), it was a cheap one to begin with and all the kids in the neighborhood come over with their friends, well you know what I mean.
(Can't they bring their own glue guns or maybe just the glue sticks? No way ~ this is how their Mom's get rid of them!) Anyway check this one out. It got a lot of great reviews so I am going to try it out, but I don't think it's made for sissies. I'll keep you posted.
Update: I bought it, I love it and am still using it. Turned out to be a good buy!
Victorian Lace Ball Ornament
For this ornament you will need:
- 12 Solid Color or Clear Ornaments
- About 2 yards of ivory, white or light pastel pink lace.
- 1 Foam brush
- 1 jar of Mod Podge
- About 8 yards of 1/8" Satin Ribbon
- Ribbon Roses
- 1 1/4 yard pearl strand
- Glue gun
- Cut lace into squares just large enough to wrap around each ornament. Set aside.
- Pour some Mod Podge into a disposable dish to make it easier to work with.
- Working with one ornament at a time; brush the ornament with a thin layer of Mod Podge; immediately wrap a lace square around it, smoothing as you go. Only apply more Mod Podge if necessary for the lace to completely adhere smoothly to the ornament. Let dry.
- Use scissors to trim away any excess lace and smooth edges.
- Apply a second thin coat of Mod Podge to wrapped ornament (over lace) and allow to dry completely.
- Create a bow by looping the ribbon with 4 loops of ribbon, and leaving about a 4" long tail; then wrapping the wire stem of the ribbon rose around the bow to secure, tie the ribbon around the mouth of the ornament.
- Using the glue gun put just a drop of glue to the inside of the bow and the ribbon rose to secure to the top of the ornament, on the side of the mouth opening.
- Cut a 4" strand of pearls for the ornament hanger and glue each end to the inside mouth of the ornament. Allow to dry completely before hanging.
Note: I also make ornaments by cutting the lace into circles about 6" to 8" in diameter and covering the ball, then gather the fabric at the stem, secure with beading wire and cover with ribbons and ribbon roses, fluffing out the excess lace.
Use your imagination and embellish with decorative braiding, ribbon, tassels, flowers, pearl string, beads, whatever you want to use to create your own beautiful Victorian lace ornaments.
I Like to Use Pearl Bead Strings as Ornament Hangers
I like using the pearl bead string the most often for hanging and embellishing Victorian Christmas ornaments, especially when they are made out of lace. The pearls can also be draped or glued on ornaments for a more romantic look.
For jeweled Victorian ornaments, I prefer using a metallic cord or an elegant, sparkly ribbon.
If you plan on making a lot of ornaments, Amazon does have a good price for the larger quantities (3 spools).
Other than that, I would just pick up smaller quantities at the craft store where you can usually get it for under a dollar a yard.
Another place to check for discount prices is on eBay. However, as a Prime member on Amazon, I often find better deals than I can find at my local craft store and the shipping is free. (JoAnn's has gotten so pricey I only go there anymore if I have their 50% off coupons.)
Victorian Lace Heart Christmas Ornament
I made this one by covering a clear plastic heart that I had bought at the craft store years before as a chocolate mold for a Valentine's Day gift.
I made it the same way and at the same time I made the lace ball ornament featured above.
Handmade Lace Angel Christmas Ornament
Some Beautiful Examples to Inspire Your Own CreationsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Mini Wrap Satin Ribbon Roses
Ribbon roses are a must-have when making Victorian-style ornaments at home. Have a look at your local craft stores for the colors you need.
The colors used during the Victorian times were much more limited than they are now.
Victorian women leaned more towards pinks, such as pastel pink, dusty rose, and mauve; blues, such as sapphire blue, aqua, and turquoise; reds, such as Christmas red, deep brick red, and burgundy; greens, such as pastel green, hunter green, and Christmas green; ecru colors such as tea-stained tan, white, cream, and ivory; and last but not least, metallic gold, copper, and silver.
Victorian Greeting Card Christmas Tree
Victorian-Style Tussie Mussie Christmas Ornaments
Victorian Lace Cornucopia Ornaments
Cornucopia ornaments, or Tussie Mussie ornaments as they were called, were made out of a variety of different mediums.
These mediums included items such as starched lace and crochet doilies; paper doilies; stiff, pretty, colorful paper; sheet music; or decoupaged labels, newspaper clippings, and postcard photos.
The medium that was being used was rolled into a cone shape and embellished with lace, braiding, cameos, fancy buttons, velvet and satin ribbons, gold and silver cording, anything beautiful that they happen to have on hand.
Ribbons were attached to the Tussie Mussies as hangers and they were filled with candies, little toy gifts or potpourri.
The wealthy would often commission the silversmith to make ornate silver Tussie Mussies for home decor and Christmas gifts. They would often fill these gorgeous ornate cornucopia ornaments with candies, potpourri or fresh flowers and hang them from the door knobs.
Sometimes these silver Tussie Mussies were made in the same pattern as the family silverware.
A Great Buy on Paper Doilies
Pearl Bead String
Handmade Victorian Lace Tussie Mussie Christmas Ornament
Template - My scanner is not working so I was unable to scan my templates into my computer for you. However, I did find one online that you can have for free. Just open the pdf file and print it out.
Here is the link: Cone Template - Thanks to Ruth Ann Zaroff
- 2 Paper doilies or 2 starched square pieces of lace
- Clear-drying craft glue or Mod Podge
- 4 Clothes Pins
- Cardstock to match doilies color
- Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks
- Decorative Cord, Ribbon or Pearl Strings of choice
- Embellishments of choice
- A Hole Puncher
Tussie Mussie #1
1. When I am using lace, I first spray the lace with spray starch then hang with clothespins to dry. This will stiffen the lace, but still leave it pliable and easy to work with. You can also make homemade starch by mixing sugar and water or cornstarch and water. Just dip the lace into the solution and again hang to dry.
2. Print your template, cut it out.
3. Once the lace is dry, place the lace or the doilies, if you prefer, onto a matching color of card stock at the corner of your sheet of card stock, as shown in the diagram. Glue one doily or piece of lace to your card stock. Select any colors you want for your cardstock.color. You could do two-toned if you wish or use the same color lace and cardstock. For example, burgundy card stock with ivory doily or lace glued on top. Doilies and lace come in a variety of colors, so if you wanted you could glue a red doily to red card stock. However you want to do it.
4. When the glue is dry, trace around the design onto the reverse of your chosen cardstock.
5. Cut out the cone and fold along the dotted line, keeping as close to the edge of the doily as possible,without cutting any of the doily. Glue the cone to hold its shape. Repeat for the next doily. You may need to use close-pens to hold the cones shape until the glue dries.
6. Using a hole punch, make neat holes at the sides of the cones for hanging the decorative ribbon or cord.
7. Add embellishments of your choice by gluing on with a hot glue gun.
8. Cut a piece of decorative cording or trim about 4". Put the ends through the holes that you punched, from the outside of the cone to the inside and add a spot of glue to the inside of the cone sides to secure the ends.
Tussie Mussie #2
1. Instead of lace or doilies, I also use stiff decorative paper, like wallpaper or old sheets of music, scrapbook paper and origami paper.
I can usually squeeze 3 or 4 cones out of a 12'x12' piece. I like to glue thin decorative paper to plain cardstock to make the cone shape more durable. Metallic Japanese origami paper works well for this as it comes in so many beautiful designs.
2. Using your template, make your cones, you can embellish them with lace glued around the top edge of the cone and spiraling around the cones itself, and embellish with any type of victorian scrapes that you please such as pieces of velvet, brocades, satins, bells, tinsel, etc.
3. Punch your holes in the sides like you did before and attach your pearl strings or decorative ribbons.
4. Your finished Tussie Mussies can be filled with candies, cookies, small toys, potpourri or flowers and hung on the tree.
Below you will see some fine examples to get your creative juices flowing.
Victorian Tussie Mussie Christmas OrnamentsClick thumbnail to view full-size
DIY Shabby Chic Vintage Tussie Mussie Tutorial
Are You a DIY Crafter When It Comes to Making Ornaments?
Do You Like to Make Your Own Christmas Ornaments or Would You Rather Buy Them?
Victorian Paper Fan Christmas Ornament
Victorian Style Paper Fan Ornament
This photo isn't very good, but I don't have access to the original right now as it is stored in another state.
Even so, I am sure you can get the idea of how cute and easy these are to make at home.
I Prefer to Use Tacky Glue for this Project
I prefer using this tacky glue for paper projects. It comes out white like Elmer's glue and dries clear, but it is stronger and it won't wrinkle the paper. I like to apply it to my papers with a small 1/4" flat paint brush. It does take a few hours to dry so just lay your paper project out of the way while drying.
Glue on the ribbons and the pearl string with a glue gun.
Materials You Will Need:
- 1 - 6" x 22" rectangle piece of decorative paper. I like paisley for a more Victorian look; however, I have made fans out of wallpaper samples and borders designed with beautiful prints and scrapbook paper.
- 1 - 22" piece of lace
- Tacky glue
- 32" 1/8" Satin Ribbon
This will make your ribbon bow.
- 1 - 3 Ribbon Roses
Use one or three, but not two. Always use odd numbers when decorating for proper balance.
- 6" Pearl String for Hanger
You may also use matching ribbon, fishing line or a Christmas ornament hook.
- Fold your rectangle paper with a lengthwise accordion-fold in 3/4" folds. Crease each fold with your finger.
- Unfold the paper rectangle. Glue the lace with the Tacky Glue to the top edge of the paper, aligning the top edges. Trim any lace frays. Set aside to dry.
- Once the glue is dry, refold the fan the same way you did in Step 1.
- Create your bow by looping the ribbon, then wrapping the wire stem of the ribbon rose around the center of the loops to secure the bow.
- Attach the bow to the fan: With your fingers, pinch the folds together tightly at bottom of the fan and wrap the wire stem of the ribbon rose once around the folds, 1/2" up from the bottom edge.
- Spread open the folds of the paper above the bow to create an open fan.
- To hang the fan: A.) Glue each end of a 6" piece of pearl bead string, a nylon thread or a piece of gold cord to the back of the fan with your glue gun and let dry. or B.) Loop a piece of ribbon through the rose wire in back; tie into a bow and hang. or C.) Using a wire ornament hook, hook to the ribbon rose wire and hang.
- You can also make Victorian lace fan ornaments out of flat lace panels. Just cut the lace into strips 10"-12" x 4"-5". Saturate the fabric lace with either spray starch or homemade liquid starch. Fan fold the wet lace making 7 to 10 vertical folds. Pin the folded lace with clothes pins to hold while it dries. Once the lace panel is dry, open the folds carefully. Add ribbon, pearl beads and/or tassels to the ends of the fan to hold it together and to finish your look.
It can't get much easier than that and looks fabulous. Use your imagination for different fan materials. For example: Starch a pretty piece of fabric, use fabric glue to glue lace add embellishments to really jazz it up. Have fun!
A Simple Victorian Fan Ornament
Create Gorgeous Black & Gold Fans Using these Papers
Another example of how a simple fan can look elegant as a Christmas ornament.
This fan is made of gold origami paper with ivory lace glued on and folded. The fan bottom was stapled and a gold ribbon was tied on the bottom in a bow. A few small red dollar tree artificial flowers were tucked into the ribbon bow.
I have made some using shiny gold and black velvet brocade wallpaper, with black lace and black tassels that had a stunning rich look when completed. I finished them with a black velvet ribbon and I added gold satin ribbon roses tucked into the black velvet ribbon bow and used black pearl bead string to hang.
Make similar fans using the black and gold paper to the above right. You will need black lace or black braid trim, black and gold mini satin ribbon roses, and black satin ribbon. Create a hanger for your fan using either black or gold pearls, or black or gold ribbon. I like to have colors contrast to make them pop.
Put Up Your Feet and Relax
Now that Your Ornaments Have Been Crafted and Hung....
Grab yourself a mug of hard Mulled Cranberry-Apple Cider, sit down, put your feet up and relax while you admire your gorgeous Victorian handiwork on your beautiful Christmas tree.
Questions & Answers
If I wanted to make one using the same method as the Victorians, did the Victorians use glue to put tussie mussies together?
They used paste, glue, or paper cuts and folding.