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How to Make Your Own Glass Ball Photo Ornaments
A few years ago, there was really only one kind of photo ornaments that you could find—the picture frame ornament. You would you to an arts and crafts store, purchase a photo frame, and slip a picture of a friend or family inside, then hang it on your tree. Sure, these can range in opulence from the humble plaster frame to Tiffany silver snowflakes, but there wasn’t much freedom as far as any other kind of personalized photo ornaments.
With the rise of digital photography, however, more options are beginning to appear on the market when it comes to photo ornaments. Recently, there has been a huge rise in the number of photo ornaments in the shape of Christmas ball decorations. Instead of hanging plain red, green, and gold glass bulbs on their tree, families are now able to hang personalized, one-of-a-kind photo ornaments of anything under the sun.
Of course, there are places on the internet that will make these glass ball photo ornaments for you. Usually you send in a photo, and in a few weeks they’ll send back a glass ball with your photo encased inside like an insect in amber. These photo ornaments are usually very cheap, starting around $10. Some print the photo with elaborate borders onto a kind of thin film of plastic, which is then wrapped around a clear glass ball until it’s fused to the surface. These sorts of photo ornaments are a little bit cheaper—around $8 each.
However, if you’re trying to save money, at home printing technology has advanced to the point where you can make your own glass ball photo ornaments at home. Follow these instructions, and in no time at all you’ll have a beautiful, hand made collection of photo ornaments that you’ll treasure for years to come:
Medium glass ball ornaments (clear)
Transparency sheets (made especially for home inkjet printers)
To begin your personalized photo ornaments, you’re going to need to have access to the photo you want to print. If you have a hard copy, you’re going to need to scan it, then resize it so it will fit (photo should be about 3 inches in size). If you have a digital version of the picture already saved to your laptop, reduce it as well. If you understand how to use programs like Photoshop, you may want to add text as well to the photo before you decide to print it.
Load the transparency paper into the printer. When you print the picture, make sure everything is on the best quality setting. It also might help to print several different versions of the picture on a transparency sheet, in case something goes wrong or there’s a mess up. Once printed, allow the transparency paper 15 minutes or so to dry before you begin assembling your photo ornaments.
Using your compass and pen, make a 3” inch circle around the center of your photo. This is going to be the area that will work optimally for a medium size ball. If you have a large glass ball or a small glass ball, you’ll need to do a little math to determine the optimum circle size:
Optimum circle size=circumference of ball divided by 3.14
In our case, the optimum circle size (3”) was the result of a 10” circumference divided by 3.14.
Remove the metal lid of the clear glass ornament. Take your photo and wrap it tightly like a straw, then slip it into the ball. If your math has been correct, the photo will sit perfectly in the middle of the ornament. If it falls down or sideways, you’ll have to remove it and cut a slightly larger circle (hence why it’s a good idea to print multiple photos). When you’re done, you’ll have a clean, beautiful set of photo ornaments that will make a perfect present for your loved one!