How to Craft Hand-Painted Christmas Ornaments

Deck the halls this year with one-of-a-kind ornaments that show off your awesome artistic skills. Not feeling particularly painterly? No worries, these elegant ornaments are easier to craft than you probably think; we'll show you how.

Materials Needed

  • unfinished ceramic ornaments
  • chalk or chalk pencil
  • acrylic craft paint in desired colors and finishes
  • paper plate or palette for mixing paints
  • acrylic metallic paint (optional)
  • clear wax finish (optional)
  • ribbon in a coordinating color
  • assorted artist's brushes

Apply Base Coat

Use a larger flat artist’s brush or chip brush to apply a base coat of paint onto the entire ornament. Tip: To prevent getting paint on the metal top, remove it and slide a chopstick, wooden dowel or another paint brush's end into the ornament's opening to make painting and drying easier.

Find Pattern Inspiration

If you have a design in mind, just go for it! If not, look around for classic decorative motifs as inspo for shapes and patterns to paint on the ornaments. Note: Keep in mind the shape of your blank ornament and what patterns might be easiest to replicate on that shape.

Draw the Pattern in Chalk

Once your base coat is completely dry to the touch, sketch out the pattern in chalk. If a mistake is made, simply wipe it away with a damp paper towel and start over.

Paint the Pattern

Load up a small artist's brush with paint and go over the chalked pattern, keeping your movements loose and fluid for straighter lines. Tip: A round brush is great for detail and control. If the paint isn’t flowing well (some acrylics can be quite thick), mix a little water into the acrylic paint to help it flow better off the brush. If a mistake is made with paint, it can also be wiped away immediately with a damp paper towel, so don’t stress.

Finishing Details

Add details with a metallic paint to give the ornament some sparkle. If desired, apply a finish to protect the paint and add a little more shine. A clear furniture wax was used for this project but any clear, non-yellowing finish, like water-based polyurethane, will work well. Reattach the cap and slide through a pretty ribbon. Gold, velvet, plaid and woven ribbons are nice on-trend options.

Display or Gift

Hang the completed ornament on your tree or use the painted pretties as holiday decor anywhere in your home. These painted ornaments also make thoughtful handmade gifts. Package in a beautifully wrapped box for a gift they'll treasure.

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