Adorning the Birthday Ring

I always wanted one of these charming birthday rings for our birthday table, but the sheer number of parts–and the price tag they added up to–gave me pause. Then a dear friend gave me a spare ring. With a birthday coming, I set to work figuring out how to adorn it for, oh, about five bucks. And I thought some of you might like to hear how I did it.

First, I should say that I did consider buying the decorations, which are wooden and quite charming and no doubt worth the investment. But while bargain hunting (and getting heart burn from the thought of *gasp* buying something ready made) I came upon this tutorial on making your own. I have been in a stash busting mood when it comes to my wool felt collection, and so this was a win-win.

My husband, enrolled as the engineering brains behind this project, found flat mushroom top pegs in one of those many drawers filled with handy little things at the hardware store. They would provide the base for our ornaments. He drilled tiny holes in them to feed 22 gauge brass wire through. The tutorial I linked to above used  3/4 inch dowel sawed to size with a pushpin-made hole to hold the wire. Either way you are looking at some tool use.

Also, the holes in our birthday ring are actually not quite 3/4 inch wide, so there was a bit of sanding to open them up more. Nothing the Man of the Place couldn’t handle, and I probably could have done it too. But I had lady bugs and flowers to cut out.

 I used two layers of felt for each symbol, glued together around wire armatures threaded through the peg and bent to the shape of the felt to hold it all in place. We used regular craft glue, and left them overnight to dry.

I recommend keeping the shapes small, and the total height of the ornaments about 4 inches.

Insert sigh of satisfaction and relief.

There is an edge of fire hazard to felted decorations on a candle holder, so use good sense, always keep an eye on it, and if in doubt, blow it out!

The ring and brass candle cups came from here, where you can also buy the wooden decorations and beeswax candles if you like. The wool felt came from here.

Oh, and you could also get super crafty and make decorations for different seasonal festivals…

And lest you think I went totally uber mother for this birthday, let me just say our gift to the little birthday girl was bought new, something that is almost unheard of in these parts and has so far brought all of us joy unfettered by heartburn. Sometimes you just have to know when to spend and when to tap into your inner riches of creative abundance (and too much felt).

6 Replies to “Adorning the Birthday Ring”

  1. Your handmade decorations are gorgeous!!!! I like them so much better than the wooden ones which are so expensive. This is why I haven’t gotten a Bday ring, once it’s all tallied it’s quite an expense. Love this idea, I’ll definitely be doing it!

  2. Love this! and the comment about heartburn and buying something not homemade. I actually have been back and forth on the decorations and looking for a substitute. If I had someplace near by I could buy one or two sometimes, I may do it. But it seems silly to buy one or two little figures online and have them shipped to me.

    1. Yes, it would be a very different thing if just buying one or two a year locally! I was a little nervous to write that line about feeling sick over buying things, but for me, it’s a compass that keeps me living simply.

  3. I get what you are saying about feeling sick over buying things- I get it too. Shopping for new stuff is physically painful usually. That said, we do have the wooden figures bought new several years ago in a weak moment. Yours is beautiful. I might have to make some numbers to add to ours using your tutorial. This will be treasured by your kids for so many years.

    1. The friends I know that have the wooden ornaments really treasure them, and I see their children able to really play with them. These felt ones are actually a bit more fragile, have to be worked into the holes by an adult, and I’m not totally sure these will last even to the end of childhood. I’m hoping, of course, but we’ll see. So that’s an even more honest assessment of the tradeoffs, sometimes, in homemade!

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