Christmas in July Has Begun at Gingerbread Snowflakes! And a Call for Help!


You may remember these from Christmas 2008!  They have been a part of the past 35 years and are among my most treasured tree ornaments. They are made of whisper thin wood strips.

I have two reasons for sharing them today!

First, to officially declare it Christmas in July at Gingerbread Snowflakes!

Second, to put out a call for help!

You see I want more of these!  But all efforts to find them for sale online or to find the materials for making them have failed.

I have instructions for making them from wood strips made from shaving wood very thin with a planer, but I am hoping there might be other alternatives better suited to a woman somewhat allergic to shop tools!

You can help in two ways!

1.  Online sources where these can be purchased. (No e-bay please!  I can't stand to lose a bid)

2.  Ideas for other materials that could possibly be used for making similar ornaments. ( No Paper tutorials please!  I have seen many, many paper tutorails for making these, and although they are beautiful, I would prefer to try making them with other materials.)

Please share any ideas, resources, tips or thoughts in the comments.

Thank you and Happy Christmas in July.

I know this posting is a few

I know this posting is a few years old, but my mom makes these ornaments and sells the supplies to make them yourself. If you google wood shaving ornaments, you will find a picture of her holding them. An article appeared in the Detroit Free Press back in November 2012 on how she makes them.

Thank you Patti!  When I

Thank you Patti!  When I tried finding anything about this craft three years on google it was almost impossible.  Finally I can google "wood shaved ornaments" and find something!!!

I am adding the link to the newspaper article you mentioned so that any interested readers can know where to find a kit and learn a little about how they are made.

Here is the link to the Detroit News article which includes contact information!  

If you're not set on only

If you're not set on only wood Pam, what about that thin plasticy stripping that is used to wrap around boxes or crates? Not sure if you can get it there, but I would imagine it's a world wide thing. There's a pic of it here. http://en (dot) wikipedia (dot) org/wiki/Strapping
I've seen it in different colours, but you could always paint it whatever colour you wanted really. I'm sure it would sit really well with this sort of thing?

(Sending the url like this coz the last time I tried to put one in a comment on another blog, it got sent to spam!)

Good luck! :))

Funny thing, Pam,  that you

Funny thing, Pam,  that you would mention the plastic strapping tape!  While Diane and I were at SCRAP last month, I picked up a roll of it in white thinking it would be a perfect alternative material for making similar ornaments! 

They had a huge bin of the stuff - many colors in a big wadded up mess!  Took me sometime to extract the white. I am definitely going to give it a go.

You need to find someone with

You need to find someone with an old veneer maker. It shaves wood off of a log in almost paper thin sheets. There is a man near here who has one. I'll see if I can get ahold of him and find out if he'd be willing to sell a sheet or two and what the price would be. Do you have a wood preference?

What a kind offer, Liz.  I

What a kind offer, Liz.  I have never heard of a veneer maker - but then most woodworking tools are a huge mystery to me! 

When I showed my treasures to a couple of very kind gentlemen at the coolest woodworking store in the wortld -  Woodcrafters, Portland, Oregon - they suggested  clear, top grade pine or fir as my best wood options.

Woodcrafters is just an amazing place!  In fact, my visit has me seriously rethinking my aversion to "tools"!  If you live any where near Portland, be sure to visit.  Just the extensive book section alone is worth the visit.  You will come away so inspired, your head may explode!  And if this happens to you - they have classes!

This is a beautiful

This is a beautiful old-fashioned craft still seen here in Norway. I was able to locate the strips of wood for it in my local hobby shop, in two widths, 2cm and 3cm in rolls of 10 strips each 80 cm long, costing 60 kr (which is about 8 dollars I think)The teenager serving me did not know the name of the product she sold me, but the package is marked "Bastelspan" in German. The manufacturer is in Germany:
My Norwegian husband calls it "spon" or "spaan". The english name seems to be "hobby-chip" on the package.
I hope this helps you :) Gill.

Gill, thank you!  I am so

Gill, thank you!  I am so thrilled to see that what I am looking for actually does exisist!  It is not clear to me whether we can order from this source since we are not retailers, but we are checking it out.  I am very excited to know that at least in Europe, it is available! 

Happy Happy Christmas in

Happy Happy Christmas in July!!

I hope this works out for you, because those are so cool!

Here is the woodworkers store

Here is the woodworkers store and they have some stuff under veneer

Thank you!  The Edgemate is

Thank you!  The Edgemate is what I used on my Advent calendar last year.  The adhesive is a problem.  I tried actually fusing them together but then the veneer was too thick. And alone it looks yucky and it does NOT soak off!

However, there are some products here that I haven't explored.  Thanks so much.

Hi! You could use fabric with


You could use fabric with that stuff that stiffens it between two layers, can't think of the name, but I'm sure you know what I mean ;-) Or biasbinding with starch?
Have fun and good luck trying out different materials!

Kim!  I love this idea!  I

Kim!  I love this idea!  I think what you are referring to is a Plaid product called Stiffy.  I have not yet played with it, but Diane swears it is the best!

I might have to dilute it somewhat so that once dry, it is stiff enough to hold a shape but flexable enough to form into desired shapes.  I am definitely going to have to give this a try!


I am pretty sure that you

I am pretty sure that you kind find thin veneer like that in sheets at miniature shops. It is so thin, it can be cut with an X-acto. Some have backing, some do not. Good luck!

Sarah!  What a great idea!  I

Sarah!  What a great idea!  I never gave miniature shops a thought!  And Doll house shops.  ( I avoid those like the plague because I know instinctively what will happen to me if I ever step across the threshold!)

But maybe just this once....

Hi Pam I am a little

Hi Pam
I am a little frustrated, I once had som thin wood/veneer, for making this kind of christmas ornaments, but it was so difficult to bend and curl, so I threw it out. Later I found out that It should be soaked in water or be bend using steam.
I have searched in many danish webshops, but I can not find any. The only thing I could fin was a place selling veneer, but they only had mahagony and teak.
My husband builded ship models. I think that he bought something similar in a shop for model building. Dont know if anything like that exists in USA.

Grteat idea, margit!  I had

Grteat idea, margit!  I had checked a couple "chain" hobby shops with no success, but I hadn't thought of searching our shopd devoted to model building.  The modle train shops might offer a useful materail too.  Getat ideas, thank you.

I can't believe you actually had some of this material in you hands and tossed it out!  But  - I can't begin to count the times i have done the same thing and later kicked myself!

These types of decorations

These types of decorations are really big in Poland for Easter decorations mostly. I will try to look it up of what they are made. The closest I can think of is some sort of a grass leaf almost like Palm for Palm sunday.

The ones I have are

The ones I have are definitely made from wood - shaved almost a thin as paper.  The picture just doesn't do them justice. 

I hadn't thought of palm leaf.  And that makes me think of corn stalks too as a possibility.

If you find a resource for the wood ones please let me know!

Have you check out veneers,

Have you check out veneers, they make some that comes coiled and you attach it to the edges of plywood to make it look like real wood (on the edge that shows).
Some you heat set on (has glue on the back) and some you just glue. I have the kind that is just wood. it is very thin like you want but you might have to soak it in water to get it to relax a bit to make working easier. None of mine have a name on them but they come from a hardware type store.

The little box they came coiled in is about 3 inches across, little round plastic box.

Oh Linda, I have looked and

Oh Linda, I have looked and looked and looked for that veneer without the adhesive backing.  You actually have some that doesn't have an adhesive backing? 

I actually found this product last year but was told it wasn't available without the adhesive backing.  It ended up working great on the Advent calendar project! 

Have you had the box a long time?  I have been told over and over that it just isn't available without the backing.


Not sure from the picture

Not sure from the picture what those are originally made of but if I were to make something to look like them I'd pick up some red copper strips like these:

Then curl them into the shapes you want. An easy way to curl them is to get some piece of various diameter wooden dowel rods (or steel) and wrap them around, slowly allowing it to get larger and larger as you spiral. The hardest part would be to find a copper thick enough to still be hand workable, yet not thin enough to be too flimsy to hold it's shape.

This is an interesting idea! 

This is an interesting idea!  Thank you for the link!  I never even knew red copper strips existed.

The ornaments pictured are in fact made from very thin wood strips.  They were made in Sweden and the wood strips were planed from wood, soaked and then formed into the desired shapes. 

I purchased these at a Scandinavian Christmas Shop many years ago during our annual Christmas in July ornament shopping trip! 


Well if you wanted to stay

Well if you wanted to stay with the wood look and feel without having to shave your own wood, would be to look for some of the reeds they use for basket weaving. Thinner ones should take a good curl, once well soaked, then they are usually put into a form that holds their shape while they dry in the desired pattern.

Oddly enough a neat recycle idea for making patterns for something like this is to use the frame and deck of an old lite bright. Those little colored pegs are just big enough to hold those strips of reed in the right shape to dry, as well as the fact that putting a paper with the pattern on the deck, will allow you to see the shape and also where you put your pegs previously to make them hold that shape. I would say not to use the bulb in there to heat them, let them dry naturally or they can and will crack.

I have been wondering about

I have been wondering about basket weaving materials.  Actually, I deconstructed an old easter basket for this purpose.  And you are dead on right - the strips must be dried on a form!  I used bottles and jars and secured the strips in place with rubber bands.  But your idea of using the pegs - very interesting.  It would give more flexibility in design.

However, fyi - I am NOT recommending the deconstructed Easter baskets. Not for this application.  They are really too stiff.

Thanks again for the great input!  Now - anybody know any really good places to find basket weaving materials?

What about tin or aluminum

What about tin or aluminum cans? I can see you making some nice ones with that!

Ooooh Sally!  What a great

Ooooh Sally!  What a great idea!  I am so locked into the shaved wood I can't see the forest for the trees!  Tooling aluminum would be perfect and I will give the cans a try too!

Thank you!

If you do switch to metal or

If you do switch to metal or copper I know of an online store that has very thin sheets of metal. I made cookie cutters out of one of the kinds! It's called Basic Copper. Using this kind of strips makes them safer as the edges are made to not cut you! ;)