German Bell Ornament Tutorial

Isn't this a pretty little ornament? Considering how quickly the days until Christmas are flying by, I bet you'll be happy to hear the directions to make one are surprisingly simple.

Folded paper German Bell Ornament hanging on Christmas tree along with a red wooden ornament

Becky from North Carolina introduced me to the German bell via the Yahoo Quillers group several years ago... but relax, zero quilling is involved. She suggested using a 5 x 8 inch index card (system card in Australia) because the cardstock weight is just right. So that's what I used and have to agree... once the bell is finished, no one will ever guess it started as an index card that's cut down in size to a 5 inch square.

Folded Paper German Bell Ornament hanging on door handle
After the bell was folded, loop inserted, and top point glued, I applied two coats of antique gold acrylic paint to the surface by dabbing it on with a stubby stencil brush. This gave the cardstock a slight texture... dare I even say an aged patina?

For something different this year, I thought it would be fun to make bells with some pretty snowflake vellum I had on hand.... it's heavyweight, so is quite stiff.

I'm happy to report it folded really well and I love how the translucence of the vellum allows light to shine through. Think how pretty these would be on a real Christmas tree... ahem, mine isn't up yet, not even close!

folded vellum paper German bell ornament
But wait, I'm getting ahead of myself. Here's what you really want to know - how to do the folding! Onto the tutorial...

index cards - lightweight cardstock or heavyweight vellum
paper cutter

bone folder - for sharp creases
double-stick tape
quick-drying glue - suitable for paper
acrylic paint - gold or silver
stencil brush
beads - gold, silver, white
ornament cord - gold or silver

Paper craft supplies I recommend can be found in my Amazon shop. 

Step 1 Cut a 5 x 5 inch square. Fold square in half.

Step 2
Open square, turn paper ninety degrees and fold in half again.

Step 3
Open square and fold two corners point to point.

Step 4
Open square and fold remaining two corners point to point.

Step 5
Open square and make an airplane fold at each corner. Do this by bringing paper on each side of fold line to midline and creasing.

Each corner with its airplane fold will look like this:

Make sure to open each airplane fold after you have creased the two sides before going on to airplane fold the next corner.

Step 6
After all four corners have been folded, open the square and press the space between each airplane fold... the square will begin to look like this:

Step 7
Cup the paper in the palm of one hand and gently press in on the center with the fingers of your other hand... this will convince the bell to take shape.

If you have successfully completed all of the folds, the four points will spring up and you'll be holding a bell!

Step 8
Make a hanging loop of ornament cording (cut about 10 inches) and knot the end after stringing on a bead or beads. Make another knot at the top of the beads so they won't slide off the loop.

Step 9
Apply narrow strips of double-stick tape to the inside of the bell along each of the airplane folds. Adhere the tail of the hanging loop to one of the pieces of tape. Gently press the outside of the bell... the tape pieces will stick to one another, holding the bell closed.

Step 10
Add a dab of quick-drying glue just inside the tip to make sure the bell won't pop open.

Tip: I find it's best to use tape along the airplane folds as extra security when working with vellum, but if you are using an index card or cardstock, a bit of glue where the four corner points come together will most likely be all the adhesion that's needed.

Folded Paper German Bell
If you'd like to see the actual making of a bell, there's a great little video here... Cindy Landecker folds one in an impromptu demonstration at a Stampin' Up! convention.

Cindy adds an eyelet at the bottom of her bell and runs a ribbon loop through the middle and out the top, leaving extra ribbon at the bottom onto which she ties on a bead or medallion.

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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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