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Can you hold a pencil? Then you can also do this. It’s almost too simple, not my usual type of project. It’s a therapeutic, easy going project that has so many options. I bet you can get a few of these Hand Cut Filigree Christmas Ornaments done in time…

The Amazing Tool:

Ever since I got my Versa Tool I have been looking for more projects to use it on. The Easter Eggs came out so wonderful that I just had to have a Christmas version! This hot knife tool will cut plastic like ‘butta’ and even flow through foam-core with ease! No dust or cutting or dremel tools. It’s so quiet and easy to hold. I have yet to explore all the wood burning and soldering abilities of this tool but love the knife tip. Maybe Santa can bring you one unless you can’t wait…

There are plastic christmas balls in all kinds of colours, sizes and finish. I started with a large sparkly white one as it had the most area to carve but you can choose whatever you like. They are super inexpensive and are quite sturdy.

The Designs:

I bet you think you can’t draw a design… If you can doodle some shapes or anything that catches your fancy, then you can make a design. My theme of the year is Deer and rustic nature so I envisioned a forest silhouette. Need help? Google will oblige much inspiration for ‘silhouette’ designs. It’s that simple. Draw up some designs or just go for it… Abstract designs can just flow from your imagination… take the pressure off as they just cost pennies!

You can draw the designs on with pencil if it’s textured or use a ‘sharpie’ marker. The marker can be wiped off afterward with some rubbing alcohol.

Cut With Ease:

Using the hot knife is pretty well the same as using an xacto knife. The difference is that you don’t need as much pressure since it cuts not by force but by melting. You do need to be safe though as there may be fumes from the plastic so have good ventilation. It’s great that it is not burnin or creating smoke but there may still be something emitted. A small fan can also keep fumes away from breathing them. I did not smell any odour though.

When following your drawn design or just ‘winging’ it do change the direction to make the curves easier. Only the tip needs to penetrate (2-4mm) as the material is very thin on these balls. It melts it enough just to slide through and then hardens again right away. When the shape is cut all the way around I flick it out at the end and it usually pops out. I turn the ball and the blade to make following the shape easier.

Depending on the plastic, I usually have it at maximum temperature as the tool I have has an adjustable temperature dial. Do be careful as it ‘crazy’ hot (975 degrees F) as it does burn wood quite well.

After cutting you may want to remove the pencil marks and a gum eraser works well. If you are very fussy you may want to sand the edges but I did not think they warranted it. You can always cut away more but adding is impossible.

The more ways to keep the shapes open like fretwork makes it stronger. See how the antlers are attached to trees? That will make it less likely to break.

I can imagine this large ornament hanging in a window or from a light. It can turn and show the entire story…

So many choices:

There are also many metallic plastic shapes available. I especially like the silver hearts.

If you know me you may see that I always wear my silver filigree heart necklace. It gave me inspiration for my heart ornaments. Marker can plan it and be wiped off afterward with some rubbing alcohol. The impatient ‘me’ likes to just design on the fly. Curls and squiggles and drops…

Ooooh! How lovely is that?! Custom tree jewelry…

Imagine some of the script fonts worked into the shape as well. What ever you can sketch can be cut. 

Keeping the colour palette simple lets the designs be the feature. All silver is especially serene with white lights… like jewelry.

Shhh, don’t tell anyone how inexpensive these unique gems are to make! And they will not smash when they hit the floor. Be creative with the designs! I’d love to see what you come up with!

Happy Holidays to you all and may you happily share your creations…

barbmaker

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 31 Comments
    1. The one I have has a lot of attachments and the knife is one. I think there may be a hack online somewhere but mine came with it. Simple sets have just the wood burner tip. It does get really hot. I may edit the post about that… thanks!

        1. Oh yes! I’m pretty sure my family has been using ‘Art Therapy’ before we even knew what it was. I find it especially important in this odd ‘disconnected’ type of world we live in nowadays. Teaching at an art college also opens my eyes…

    1. It’s big! The kind for outdoor trees (6″ I guess) and is covered in a white glitter, but still cuts great. It is from our Dollarama. Smooth finishes cut quite well as the knife tip is about 1/16″ or so into the material. I like the white and silver! There are many everywhere it seems. Good luck!

  1. Lovely! I got my cutting tool through Amazon. I used it to do pumpkins for our grandchildren. I like your idea even better. 🙂

  2. Please tell me where I can purchase the hot tool, never heard of it,I know I can use it,I do German paper cutting with an exato knife Thanks 12-22-2018

    1. I am sure you can find it at a craft shop. We have them available on amazon, and you can buy through them too. See here You can also search for ‘wood burning sets’. It is best to get one that has a variable temperature dial. Good luck, you will love it.

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