How to Make Sheet Music or Story Ornaments

by Andrea J. Mahoney

Last year, our son, Robert, started composing music to share with others. He began writing various pieces for his cello chamber group, each named after each of the members. He then decided to write a piece for the local youth orchestra he is in, took it upon himself to ask those in leadership if he could bring it in for them to see, and the directors decided to include it in their most recent concert. He was given the choice to either conduct the piece or play in the orchestra. He decided to let a peer conduct, and he played his piece with the orchestra. I wanted to commemorate this unique and fun moment in time, and asked him for a copy of his piece, Cavernous. I had it in my studio for weeks, deciding just how I would honor this piece of music created by our 11 year old. I decided to make it into an ornament for our tree and hope to make a few as gifts with pages copied from my children’s favorite stories.

Do you have any favorite songs that have a special meaning? Or remind you of a special moment or event? A book that you love to read, or a special passage that just fills your heart? These would be great ideas to make your very own ornaments!

Plastic ornaments (I found them at the Dollar Tree)
Copies of sheet music or a favorite story/poem
Mod Podge
Foam Brush
*Optional Ideas
Twine or ribbon
Berry garland
Cinnamon stick
Brush on glitter paint
Hot glue gun


First, you will want to take your selected copies and weather them a bit. I did this by brewing a small cup of tea, and dragging the tea bag around the paper. I used a plate with curved sides to contain the mess. I also took coffee granules and rubbed them a bit onto a few areas. The coffee does lighten the markings quite a bit, so be sure to use it sparingly so you can still see your copies.

I let them sit for about 5 minutes, then took the paper off the plate and laid it on a paper towel to start the drying process. Once they are completely dry, you can start cutting the work into horizontal strips. I wanted to make sure the name of the piece and composer would be visible, so I cut those carefully and placed them aside. 

With your foam brush, apply Mod Podge onto the entire ornament. Start selecting your strips to place on the ornament, press the strip down with the brush, and apply Mod Podge over the top of the strip as you continue. I also started cutting smaller pieces to fit in gaps, so keep your scissors handy! You may want to use your fingers to smooth out big bumps, but just do your best. Since we are working with a round shape, and wet paper, there are going to be some bumps that just stay as part of your creation. 

Continue until the ornament is covered, checking to see if any areas need more Mod Podge to help hold them in place.

Hang your ornament in a safe place where it will not be touching anything. Let dry completely.

I chose to top the ornament with  a cinnamon stick, twine, greenery, and berries. I carefully used my hot glue gun to attach the items to the ornament.

We added it to our tree so we can enjoy this special memory.