Handmade Paint-Stick Ornaments

Create DIY ornaments for an adorable tabletop display or to decorate your full-sized tree.
Handmade Paint-Stick Ornaments

Handmade Paint-Stick Ornaments

Create DIY ornaments for an adorable tabletop display or to decorate your full-sized tree. You will need the following materials: 5 five-gallon paint sticks (about 1 1/2 inches wide), acrylic paint with brush or spray paint, black wire (available at craft supply stores), scrapbook paper (light colors work best), accents such as stars, snowflakes, etc. (available at craft supply stores, optional), Mod Podge, printer and templates (available free at Today’s Fabulous Finds).

By: Janet Shumway

Materials Needed:

  • 5 five-gallon paint sticks (about 1 1/2 inches wide)
  • acrylic paint with brush or spray paint
  • black wire (available at craft supply stores)
  • scrapbook paper (light colors work best)

Cut Interfacing to Fabric Size

Paint sticks are perfect to make these ornaments because they are the perfect thickness and the wood is already fairly smooth. They need to be the large 5 gallon sticks, which are nearly 1 1/2" wide. Ask for them at your home improvement store. Some stores will give them to you for free and others charge a nominal price.

Paint Sticks for Handmade Ornaments

Paint Sticks for Handmade Ornaments

Paint sticks are perfect to make these ornaments because they are the perfect thickness and the wood is already fairly smooth. They need to be the large 5 gallon sticks, which are nearly 1 1/2" wide. Ask for them at your home improvement store. Some stores will give them to you for free and others charge a nominal price.

Set Up the Templates

You can create the saying that will appear on the ornaments using a word processing program on your computer or by searching online for downloadable templates.

Important: If you have a laser printer, print the templates directly onto scrapbook paper. If you have an inkjet printer, first print the templates with the printer then photocopy onto scrapbook paper (otherwise the ink will run when you apply Mod Podge.) Also note that light- to medium-toned scrapbook paper works best.

Cut the Paint Sticks

Clamp the paint sticks together in bundles and mark every 4 inches. Cut them with a band saw. If you don't have a band saw, you can use a jigsaw, or a miter box and hand saw. Lightly sand the sticks to smooth any rough parts (mostly the ends).

Prepare Paint Sticks

Drill 2 holes in the upper corners just bigger than your wire. Paint the sticks with the acrylic paint. Distress them by sanding the edges to expose some of the bare wood and then wipe the dust off. If there is writing on the stick that will show through the paint, use that side as the front because the paper will cover it. If you’re using a light paint color, sand the writing off of the border area before you paint.

Decorated Paint Sticks for Handmade Ornaments

Decorated Paint Sticks for Handmade Ornaments

Drill 2 holes in the upper corners just bigger than your wire. Paint the sticks with the acrylic paint. Distress them by sanding the edges to expose some of the bare wood and then wipe the dust off. If there is writing on the stick that will show through the paint, use that side as the front because the paper will cover it. If you’re using a light paint color, sand the writing off of the border area before you paint.

Apply Template to Stick

Cut out your template, making sure it's sized to your wooden paint stick. Trim to fit, if necessary, so there is about a 1/8" border of paint showing around the paper. To get the inked look around the edges of the paper, put a rag on your finger, dip it into dark brown paint (blotting most of it off) and lightly run your finger along the edge of the paper. You could also use a brown ink pad.

Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the stick. Place your paper on it, gently smooth it flat and let it dry thoroughly. Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the paper, being careful not to run your brush over it too many times and making sure the paper is flat and smooth. Let dry.

Apply Template to Handmade Paint-Stick Ornament

Apply Template to Handmade Paint-Stick Ornament

Cut out your template, making sure it's sized to your wooden paint stick. Trim to fit, if necessary, so there is about a 1/8" border of paint showing around the paper. To get the inked look around the edges of the paper, put a rag on your finger, dip it into dark brown paint (blotting most of it off) and lightly run your finger along the edge of the paper. You could also use a brown ink pad. Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the stick. Place your paper on it, gently smooth it flat and let it dry thoroughly. Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the paper, being careful not to run your brush over it too many times and making sure the paper is flat and smooth. Let dry.

Add Wire to Ornament

Cut a length of wire 9" long. Gently push it through the hole in the stick from the back and through the paper about 1". It helps to put your finger over the hole where the wire is coming through so the paper doesn't tear. Bend the wire up in the back. If you are adding an accent, put it on the wire now. Use needle-nose pliers to twist the wire in a circle, then use the side of the pliers to push the wire down flat against the ornament.

Add Wire to Handmade Paint-Stick Ornaments

Add Wire to Handmade Paint-Stick Ornaments

Cut a length of wire 9" long. Gently push it through the hole in the stick from the back and through the paper about 1". It helps to put your finger over the hole where the wire is coming through so the paper doesn't tear. Bend the wire up in the back. If you are adding an accent, put it on the wire now. Use needle-nose pliers to twist the wire in a circle, then use the side of the pliers to push the wire down flat against the ornament.

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