If you have some negatives that you don’t need lying around, then there’s something useful you can do with them this holiday season. Get your Martha Stewart on and turn old negatives into luminous ornaments!
If you’re like me, you probably cringe at the thought of dealing with the packets of negatives that pile up in corners and on dressers and in drawers. Fortunately, there is a cure for CNAS (Chronic Negative Accumulation Syndrome)! In the spirit of DIY, recycling, and of holiday cheer in general, I turned some of my old negatives into holiday ornaments!
You will need:
- Developed film negatives (one roll of film makes the big ornament)
- Safety pin or Needle
- Needlenose pliers if you’re extra crafty, but fingers work too.
If your negatives are uncut, you will need to cut them into shorter strips of four to six exposures each. For smaller ornaments, use shorter strips. Cut each strip lengthwise to make narrow “ribbons” of film. Using the safety pin or needle, poke a small hole in each end of each strip. Wiggle the pin or needle around in the film to make the hole big enough for the wire to fit through.
Using pliers (or scissors, if the wire is thin enough), cut a length of wire about 15 inches long. With your fingers or the pliers, bend one end of the wire into a small coil or ball to ensure that the negative ribbons will not slide off the end. Poke the unbent end of the wire through one end of each negative ribbon, as in the third photo below. (Extra step for the Chinese Lantern ornament on the right: decide how tall you want the lantern to be, and make another coil/ball in the wire. This will help your lantern keep its shape and not slide all over the place.) Now poke the unbent wire through the second hole in each ribbon. For the Snowflake ornament, push the ribbons down towards the bottom of the wire. Make another wire coil/ball to hold the negatives in this position. If you are making the Chinese Lantern, push the ribbons down against the wire coil you made earlier. Make another wire coil/ball to hold the negatives in this position (see the first photo below).
Make a good-sized loop of wire, and anchor it down by the last wire coil you made, as in the second photo below. Wrapping it below the coil works best. Cut the wire, and carefully poke the sharp end of the wire somewhere it won’t poke you back!
Now that you’re done squashing and twisting your negatives and wire, arrange the ribbon loops into a lovely shape. I chose a snowflake shape and a Chinese Lantern shape, but you could experiment until you find what you like best. By varying the number and width of strips, you can change how “solid” your ornament is. Different lengths of strips could create some crazy abstract shapes. Hang your finished ornament on your tree or in a window so it can catch some light and glow!