My children enjoy collecting postage stamps, but they can be a little boring just sitting in a book. This year they’ve decided to put them to another use: decorating the Christmas tree! Using a few crafty items we had in the cupboard, they have created pretty postage stamp baubles that can be personalised in many ways!
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I know that we don’t often receive ‘real’ letters these days with ‘real’ postage stamps on them as often as we did 10, 20 or 30 years ago; but they really do still exist! Unfortunately, many times they are just plain and simple, and we end up with dozens of them, which usually just end up in the trash can. But they don’t have to. By all means, save the fun and pretty ones for your stamp collection, but keep those other ones, too; you never know when they will come in handy! Of course, you can also purchase used postage stamps online at a reasonable price.
- Used postage stamps
- Styrofoam balls
- White glue and brush
- Bauble Tops
- Clear varnish (optional)
- Tin foil (optional)
How to make postage stamp baubles
If you haven’t already steamed your postage stamps to remove them from the envelopes, then start here. You can see how we steam stamps in this post.
Before you start your project, you may want to decide on the theme of your postage stamp bauble:
- Colour themes
- Country themes
- Sports, flowers, science, etc. themes
My children were using up some of the multiple duplicate stamps that we had at hand. They were mostly gold (first class), blue (second class), as well as some older Christmas edition stamps. The gold stamps do look quite festive in colour, even thought they are quite plain, so this was a good use for them!
Set up your crafting area. To make things a little easier for the kids, and to prevent the styrofoam balls rolling off the table, I find that covering a sturdy tea light candle holder with some tin foil keeps the balls still and prevents them from sticking to everything as the glue dries.
Mix a few drops of water into a puddle of white glue and mix it up. Then use an old paint brush to smear some of the gloop onto a small section of your ball.
Choose the postage stamp that you want to use and place it onto the glue. Then get more glue and smooth it over the stamp. You may have to use quite a bit to soften the stamp and help it curve around the ball. I find that using a larger sized ball works better than smaller balls for this project. You may end up with a few crinkles, but that’s okay. It adds to the charm and reminds us that these are kid-made ornaments.
You can just glue stamps on in any fashion if you’d like. My children decided they wanted to be a little more particular and less random. Well, Tristan, mostly. You can see he started with a line of stamps around the middle of his ball first, and then filled in the ends later.
Kallista’s was a little bit more random. And that’s great, too! And don’t forget to stretch so you don’t get a crick in your neck!
Before long you have a ball covered with postage stamps!
Let it dry overnight. Then if you’d like to add a layer of clear varnish over the top to help keep everything in place and give it a little extra sheen, then go for it! And of course, if you’re feeling brave, you can add in a little glitter as well…we haven’t done that…yet; the kids are still making up their mind whether to keep it as it is, or glam it up a bit.
Once all of this is complete, then place a bauble top on the top of the ball. My children had marked a little spot before they began so they knew where the top would be. This might be a job for the adults to do as those little wires spring out and have some force if you’re not careful and you wouldn’t want one flying up into a face.
Add a little piece of ribbon to the bauble top, tie it in a bow, and your Christmas tree decoration is completed!
I love that these really didn’t cost us anything to make; the postage stamps are being upcycled, the ribbons were scraps left over from other projects, and the balls were given to us from a neighbour who no longer needed them. Fantastic! If you like Christmas baubles, check out these very popular ones we made previously, as well as all of our Christmas ideas.
And for even more great kid-made Christmas ornaments, follow along in the blog hop hosted by Crafty Mom in ME.