Pour painted Christmas ornaments: an easy way to turn clear glass or plastic balls into gorgeous, colourful homemade ornaments.
I first made pour-painted ornaments 20 years ago. A friend and I made all of our Christmas gifts by hand that year, and among many other things, we made dozens of ornaments out of clear glass balls.
I’m not sure where my friend discovered this pour painting process, because it was years before we had the internet, but we fell in love with it.
Everyone on my Christmas list received a set of these simple but beautiful ornaments along with their main gift that year.
This pour painting process is very easy. All you need are a few clear glass or plastic balls and acrylic craft paint.
Just look at the colour of these ornaments! Don’t they look amazing?
You may also want to see how we make glitter ornaments with clear plastic balls.
What is “pour painting”?
If you’ve never heard of pour painting, Aleacia from Dilly Dali Art demonstrates the process beautifully in her painted garden pot project for kids.
Kids of all ages will enjoy making these ornaments, but it’s a craft that’s best suited for older children and teenagers because it takes a gentle hand to get the results that we did.
My 13 year-old and I made the ones you see in this post.
What you’ll need to make your pour painted ornaments:
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- clear glass or plastic ornaments with removable tops
- acrylic craft paint (we used 4 or 5 colours for each ornament)
- organza ribbon
- small cups or containers (for draining your ornaments)
- 1 tsp rubbing alcohol (to clean ornaments)
Tips for Making Your Pour Painted Christmas Ornaments:
Prep so your paint sticks to the inside of your clear ornament:
You may want to prepare your ornaments by swishing them with a bit of rubbing alcohol to remove any residue from the factory. I’ve never done this, but some people have had trouble with their paint not sticking to the inside of their ornament. Rinsing with rubbing alcohol should prevent this from happening. (See this trouble shooting guide if you DID rinse with rubbing alcohol and your paint still won’t stick).
Pro tip: Be organized and efficient when pour-painting!
Once you’ve selected your paint colours, line the ornaments up so they’re ready to go.
This isn’t a race against the clock, but you do want to move efficiently to get all of your paint colours into your ornament before the previous colours entirely coat the inside of the ball.
Pouring your paint into your ornaments:
Time needed: 10 minutes
How to Pour Paint Ornaments
- Add paint to ornament
Select a paint colour, and squirt some into an ornament.
- Turn ornament and add more paint
Give the ornament a quarter turn and squirt again. Repeat with the same colour a couple more times, tipping and turning your ornament so the paint coats some of the inside of the glass or plastic. Note: Leave enough glass uncoated for your other colours to cover it.
- Add a second colour
Now grab your second colour, and give a few small squirts, turning your ornament between squirts.
- Add remaining colours
Repeat with any remaining colours. If any small sections of the ornament are left uncoated, simply turn, or gently shake the ornament so the paint covers that space.
- Drain your ornament
When the inside of your ornament is completely coated with paint, turn it upside down over a small cup or container, and let the excess paint drip out.
Draining your ornament takes time
This could take a while. I let mine sit over-night, but depending on the temperature and humidity where you are, it could take a few days or even a few weeks for your ornaments to completely dry.
Look at the drippings that poured out of the ornaments! Aren’t they cool? I wonder what I could make with this gorgeous by-product!
Ready for hanging
Once your ornaments are dry, pop the tops back on them, and use some organza ribbon to make a loop and bow.
What do you think?
Isn’t this an easy and inexpensive way to make a stunning ornament? I love the swirls of colour and how glossy the plastic ornament now looks.
I hope you give pour-painting a try at home!
Ways to Gift These Ornaments
A single ornament would make a lovely gift for a teacher or neighbour, and a set of 4 or 6 would be great homemade gift for anyone on your Christmas list!
More ways to decorate clear, glass ornaments:
And you can find all of my easy and inexpensive Christmas crafts for kids on my Hooligans Christmas Pinboard.
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.