When I came across this post I just had to try it! (follow the link for the basic instructions) I even had a couple of boxes of clear glass ornaments we’d gotten at after-Christmas sales some time ago!
Most of the pictures are from holy cards. I got permission to use some from Holy Card Heaven, found other images online and used some from vintage holy cards I purchased.
Most are two-sided. I copied the image, reversed one copy & glued them back-to-back so it looks the same from either side. Just be aware that the exposed picture (the one on the outside of the plastic when you roll it) is at risk of getting damaged by the edges of the glass on the way in. Rolling the image around a pencil or fat knitting needle makes it easier to manage (get the roll near the end & stuff the whole thing through the hole in the ornament).
I didn’t have transparency film, but I found clear plastic from packaging (like a blister pack) which was a little stiffer than ideal, but useable (most of what I tried was way too stiff).
The straw was shredded from a 35-cent straw wreath from St. Vincent de Paul.
To add the shimmer I dusted a little ultra-fine transparent glitter into each ball & shook it. Static kept the glitter stuck to the inside of the glass.
For the bows I used a hairpin lace loom, adjusted to 1 5/8″. I recommend this technique (it works with any object with at least two prongs–a fork or meat fork works too). To attach the bows, I used a needle to thread string through the back of the bow & tied the string around the top of the glass ball (not so bulky that way).
The gold bows were made with white ribbon & then spray-painted (I ran out of the other ribbon). I was pleasantly surprised by how well that worked!
The photos don’t do them justice…
These last three are adapted from free files at Paper Model Kiosk:
These last two are 3-dimensional. I attached the holy family to a rectangle of the plastic that just fit through the opening of the ball, put the Holy Family into the larger nativity, rolled the whole thing to get it into the ball & then fiddled with tweezers & a thin knitting needle to get them into the proper shape inside the ball. That was tedious! I wasn’t sure I was going to succeed.
Now I just need 12 sturdy little boxes to keep them safe when I give them as gifts!
Update! December 2014
A bunch of these were sold in a fundraiser to help people afford the trip to D.C. for the March For Life. In keeping with the prolife theme & since most people have their trees decorated before Christmas (when Jesus is still in the womb), I added a new design:
I added a halo to this image, printed it directly on transparency film (42 cents/sheet at Office Max), and glued tissue paper to the printed side of the sheet. That filled in the white areas it needed (otherwise you see right through to whatever’s behind it) while maintaining something of the stained-glass (translucent) effect with Christmas lights around it.