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Tutorial: Retro Spun Cotton Sugar Bell Ornaments

Retro Sugar Bell Ornament Tutorial

These retro sugar bell ornaments look almost *exactly* like the ones made in the 1940s!  Before styrofoam entered the Christmas market, spun cotton was a go-to material for imported Christmas ornaments. I've seen vintage bells of this type made with glass glitter, as I'm using here in the tutorial, and also finely milled mica.  If you want to be extra authentic to the 1940s with your bells, give them a coat of gesso before glittering.  

These spun cotton bells are so easy to make, and would make great gifts packaged in a little tin.  One of these days I'd like to do a wreath decorated with these tiny bells. How lovely that would look!


  • Small Spun Cotton Bells
  • White Glue
  • Clear German glass glitter (a mixture of fine and coarse grits look lovely)
  • Glitter bowl, spoon
  • Paint Brush, glue bowls
  • Bamboo skewer
  • Toothpicks
  • Styrofoam block for drying
  • White floral wire, 24 gauge
  • Scissors


Step 1: Insert a toothpick into a bell to act as a handle.  Paint the entire bell with a thin, even coat of glue.

Step 2: Spoon the glitter over the bell, and shake off the excess.  Stick the toothpick into the styrofoam block, and let the bell dry. 

Step 3: Wrap a short length of floral wire twice around a bamboo skewer.  Twist the ends together to make a twisted tail about a half inch long. Snip off the ends with scissors or wire cutters.

Step 4: Dip or paint the twisted wire with glue, and insert it into the bell.  Let dry. 

Products featured in this tutorial:

Small Spun Cotton Bells

small spun cotton bells for sale



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