Make Your Own Angel

There are some things that you just can’t throw away. It might just be really pretty, or it might have sentimental value. Or both.

My mom works at a local non-profit social service agency with a rather close-knit staff. In 2006, they lost a coworker and friend to cancer. Mary Jo was a truly wonderful person.

She also loved to sing, and somehow when she passed, my mom (who is not musically-inclined) got a couple of Mary Jo’s old hymnals. She held on to them, not really knowing what to do with them–and it wasn’t until last week that I had an idea either.

I made this angel out of one of her hymnals and donated it to the agency in Mary Jo’s honor last week.

I didn’t make a tutorial as I went along for that one, but I did make a tutorial as I made a second angel for my family to keep on our piano.

If you’d like to make your own angel and you don’t have a hymnal, don’t fret! (If you don’t have one and really want one, try a thrift store.) You can use any average hardcover book. (If it’s abnormally shaped, your angel maybe be oddly proportioned.)

Step 1- Folding

The majority of this project is just simple folding. To get started, first divide your book into sections. You want to split it roughly into quarters, combining the middle two sections. (You could go right to thirds, but I like the wings to be a little thinner and the skirt to be a little fuller.) There’s some wiggle room here. The top of the hymns on the left and right of the middle section will be visible, so if one of your favorite hymns is just past a quarter through the book, go ahead and use it. It will make it more meaningful. Just place bookmarks in between your sections and turn to the front of your book.

Take the bottom right corner of the first page and fold it up to the spine to make a right angle and flatten the fold. (It doesn’t have to be exactly a right angle, but that will be easiest to replicate.) Turn the page, and repeat that fold with all the pages in your first section. Be consistent–it’s important to make each fold as much the same as possible so that your wings don’t look sloppy. When you’re done with the first section (now your left wing), flip to the back of the book and do the same thing in reverse with the last section.


Now that your wings are done, it’s time to do the body/skirt. It’s virtually the same thing–you just work from the top down now. Fold the middle pages by taking the top right corner of a page and folding it back to the spine to make a right angle. Turn the page and repeat.

When you’re done it will look like this.

You’re now done the brunt of the work!

Step 2- The Head

To make the angel’s head, you will need a styrofoam ball. The one I used was a 4-inch ball, but you need to choose one that will look proportionate to the body. Before you go any further with the head, you need to give it a flat bottom so that you’ll be able to attach it to the body. I used my x-acto knife to just cut a piece off the bottom with a 2-inch diameter, roughly.  (I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of this to show. On the second time around it slipped my mind and I didn’t think of it until later in the process, which was a bit of a headache.)

Now it’s time to cover the head. With the first one, I cut up a few pages of the hymnal into strips. I found that it was frustrating to get them to lay flat against the ball, so this time I cut circles out of the pages, with 4 slits in each circle so that it fitted itself easily to the shape of the ball.

You can use Elmer’s glue to stick the circles to the ball if you want, but it’ll be faster to use a hot glue gun if you have one (you won’t have to waste any time applying pressure until the paper sticks to the styrofoam). Cover the whole ball. When you’re done, give it a coat of Modge Podge.

Step 3- Decoration

While the head is drying, you can “accessorize” your angel. I gave both angels a sort of lace collar and bow. The lace I just situated so it looked nice and then hot glued the ends to the insides of the cover.The bows I just tied around the “neck” after I attached the head. On the second angel, I also added some lace trim to the skirt, hot gluing the ends to the back of the “wings.”

When the head is pretty much dry you can hot glue it on to the body. It may take a little finagling, but if you remembered to flatten the bottom of the head, you should be able to get it to attach rather easily.

After the head is attached, add Spanish moss for hair. (I got mine from the floral arrangement aisle in Wal-Mart.) Grab a clump from the bag and just pull at the edges to stretch it out (like you did with cotton balls to make clouds when you were a kid) and make it less clumpy. Put a bunch of hot glue on the head where you want the hair to go and stick on the Spanish moss. Try to arrange it so it looks as hair-like as possible. This took me some time. I’m not sure if Spanish moss from a craft store would have been more manageable or if it’s always that way. Once you’re satisfied with the hair, you can add whatever head accessory you want. I gave my first angel a gold bow and the second a lace halo/tiara-type-thing. What do you think? I think it’s a perfect gift for many occasions, being lovely and potentially sentimental, yet so simple to make.

Time: Roughly 2.5 hours, depending on the number of pages and on the drying time.

Difficulty: ♦  Very easy. Pretty much just folding and gluing.

Cost: ♦  Should be no more than $4 if you already have a book and a hot glue gun.


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