First, you take any type of lightweight plastic or rubber ball. Pet balls are good. Tennis balls are the right size, but are heavy. So pick balls the size of tennis balls but made of a lighter weight material, such as a ping-pong ball quality but larger. Some balls made for pets might be the right size. You pick the size you want or choose various sizes. What you're going to do with these balls is sew costumes for them.
You can find old wedding gowns or satin dresses, velvet jackets or skirts in thrift stores. Or use any decorative fabric, such as upholstery fabric made for sofas and chairs that already have a pattern or portrait woven into the fabric. Or you can use the fabric that already comes with printed images of dogs and cats. In Sacramento, Hancock fabrics on El Camino Avenue near Fulton Avenue has a wide variety of fabrics and trim.
Let's say you want to hang the balls from a mobile or wind chime-like hanger. You can also hang the balls from clothes hangers that have been entwined and decorated with lace, satin, ribbon, velvet, trimmings, or other fabric. Other ideas are gold braided trimmings, sequins, and fabric that has 18th-century style paintings woven into the fabric. Or you can use pet images, such as the dog and cat images on printed fabric you'd find at Hancock Fabrics in Sacramento (in the Arden-Arcade area).
Use whatever trimmings you like. Sometimes those old wedding gowns you find at thrift stores can be cut up and trimmed with gold braiding, lace, and sequins. What you're doing is making fancy, costumed balls. This lends a new definition to the concept of a costumed ball. You're creating a costume for a round ball. Or you could use square plastic objects to contrast to the round objects.
You'll be covering the balls in satin and velvet and trimming them with fake pearls, beads, gold braiding or gold metallic trimming, and creating a bunch of hanging fake pearls from the bottom. On the top of the ball (or square object) you can attach trimmings in the form of a loop or hook to hang the objects from a mobile or a clothes hanger that has been covered in the same fabric or trimmings.
Basically, you can make a lot of hand-sewn fancy balls and sell them online or in consignment stores for next Christmas, or create balls to hang all year round as art objects. The theme can focus on any given holiday or personal meanings. For example, you can create a New Year's Ball and hang it next week with New Year's Resolutions inside, like a fabric-sewn "fortune cookie." The imagination and creativity is open. These balls or objects of other shapes, such as a fabric-covered compass in the shape of half a circle can be decorative when trimmed with fake pearls or other beads.
You can trim small wallets and hang them on a mobile or covered clothes hanger or any light-weight object in various shapes, such as snowflakes cut out of cardboard or lightweight plywood, covered with fabric and beads. What makes an object remarkable as an art object to hang all year round is putting in the center of the ball a miniature portrait that's printed onto the fabric. Personalize those portraits by sending a photo to a place that silkscreens the photo onto a tee shirt or other fabric.
Or get a kit in a craft shop that lets you transfer your personal photos to fabric such as tee shirts. Then cut out the photo that's now imprinted permanently on fabric and put it on a ball. Make sure the photo is small enough like a miniature portrait to become the center of a hanging ball about the size of a tennis ball. You don't want to work with a large photo imprinted on a tee shirt that already covers a large space.
Basically, you're sewing costumes for a round ball and adding beads, trimming, and a loop to hang the ball from a hook. And at the bottom of each ball, you're hanging a few short strings of fake pearls or other beads for an exotic look. From the bottom of the ball, you can hang gold coins, enameled crescents, or Middle Eastern 'hamsa' hands (that are supposed to ward off the evil eye). Use your imagination to create fanciful, ethnic, or historical hanging balls to display all year. Or make such decorations for next Christmas. A New Year's Costumed Ball now has a new meaning.
It's a round, lightweight ball decorated with a costume of its own for hanging on display as art. And inside the ball might be a New Year's Resolution. For this type of ball, use the plastic balls that open up so you can put messages inside like fortune cookies and then close the plastic ball. You sew fabric, trimmings, and beads over the ball and hang it in a place to remind you of your wish. And you don't have to take it down in the summer.