This article first appeared on House Revivals in December 2014, and is reprinted by request.
Do you love vintage spun cotton ornaments? Me too! The problem with actual vintage ornaments, of course, is that they are difficult to find and they can be expensive.
I loved the look of a Christmas tree that is just dripping with icicles, but I knew I would never be able to find dozens and dozens of spun cotton icicles -- and even if I did, it would be too expensive to buy so many vintage ornaments.
That's when I ran across Emi's vlog on making icicles from paper towels. Basically, it's a paper mache process, using diluted white glue and paper towels. Brilliant! I loved the idea, and decided I could adapt the process to make them look like vintage spun cotton ornaments.
My technique is slightly different than Emi's. I began by grabbing a "select-a-size" roll of towels, and pulled off towels in the smallest "half-sheet" size. Then I grabbed some white glue and diluted it with water. I diluted mine about half and half, but I would probably make it a bit thicker next time. You want your glue to be thin enough to easily soak into the towel fibers, but thick enough to harden well when dried. I spread the glue mixture onto the sheet of toweling.
Next, I folded the sheet down about one-third of the way, to achieve the desired icicle length. Leave the extra material, because it will add bulk to the top of your icicle.
Because I wanted a nice taper on my icicles, I tore off some toweling from the lower corners to remove even more bulk, and added that material to the top and middle portion of the icicle, gluing everything as I went along.
Now, it's just a matter of rolling the towel to form the icicle.
After rolling them, twist them a bit and play with them, squeezing out excess glue as needed, and smoothing and coaxing them into the shape you like. I put mine in the oven at 180 degrees overnight to dry.
In the morning, I inserted wire hangers into the tops, and secured with just a bit of hot glue. If the icicle is too hard to insert wire into, you can ream it out with one of those tiny screw drivers (the kind you fix your eye-glasses with), and then your wire should slide right in. I'll share how to make these pretty wire hangers in a later post.
While you have the hot glue gun out, you may want to drip a little hot glue around the top -- it gives a pretty effect!
Your icicles will be pretty enough at this point to be done, as you can see in the picture above; or, you can gild the lily. I decided to paint mine slightly off-white, then applied glitter glue all over them, including on the hangers.
I could not be happier with how they turned out! Even my husband (who is normally oblivious to this sort of thing) thought they looked striking hanging en masse on our tree.
This is a project that can easily be done using paper towels and glue and wire from the dollar store!
This would be a fun "cookie alternative" project to make and share with friends and neighbors. It's easy to make several dozen in a couple of evenings, and you can get your kids involved. Wouldn't it be lovely to receive a set of handmade vintage inspired icicles as a gift?
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