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Creating Keepsakes: Hand-Painted Ornaments Guide

Decorating for the holiday season can be fun for the whole family when you gather together to make your own hand-painted ornaments! With just a few supplies, you can create the perfect gift to give while also making memories!

Continue reading to learn all about how to make these hand-painted ornament ideas!

A collection of hand painted Christmas ornaments

Where to Purchase Supplies for Your Hand-Painted Ornaments

Before you begin, you’ll need to gather a few supplies for this hand-painted ornaments DIY guide!

Unfinished glass or ceramic ball ornaments or decorative ornaments are the basis of this project. Be sure to have quality ornaments on hand. Stock up on a few in case you decide to give away a few of these as gifts!

Supplies needed for hand painted ornaments include paintbrushes, paints, ribbons, and ornaments

You’ll also need quality acrylic paintpaintbrushespaint penschalk, a paper plate or paint palette, baking soda, glittercrafting sealant spray, and craft ribbon or twine. You can find these online or at your local craft stores.

Before You Begin

To make the process of making your hand-painted ornaments easier, prep the ornaments for convenience. Take the hanger piece out of the ornament and set it aside. To do this, you might need to pull gently on the hanger until it comes loose, then pinch the metal pieces inside so it slides out easily.

Hanger part of ornament removed in preparation for painting

Next, find a drinking glass and some chopsticks or wood skewers and place them inside the glass. Turn the ornaments upside down and place them on the chopsticks or skewers. This ensures the paint on your DIY hand-painted ornaments will dry evenly without any odd spots from sitting on the counter.

Ornaments placed on a skewer in a glass ready to paint

DIY Hand-Painted Ornament—Design

It’s time to begin making your hand-painted ornament! This first design can be as simple or detailed as you want it to be. Find inspiration for what you want to paint on your ornament on the internet first.

Step 1: Paint the base color

Applying a red base color on a wooden ornament

You’ll need to apply 2-3 coats of paint to get a good base color for your hand-painted ornament. Try to get the coats to be as even as possible so there aren’t any bumps or obvious spots where the paint is layered. Be sure to allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next coat.

Step 2: Trace the pattern with chalk

Using chalk to trace a pattern on a red wooden ornament

Using chalk or a white craft pencil, trace the pattern of what you would like to paint onto your hand-painted ornament. If you make a mistake, just wipe away the chalk and try again. Taking this extra step will help avoid any mistakes or frustration as you paint your design.

Step 3: Paint inside the lines

Painting white snowflakes on a red Christmas ornament

Using paint pens or a small paint brush and paint, fill in the design you drew with color! Take care to allow other areas to dry first, if you’ll be painting several colors close together. This way, the colors won’t accidentally blend together and create unwanted streaks.

Step 4: Add details

Hand painted ornaments for Christmas

Grab your paint pens and add any small details like dots or dashes that will round out your project and make it look flawless. These small details are often overlooked but can make all the difference when it comes to the perfect hand-painted ornament!

Step 5: Use sealant

Spraying sealant on a hand painted ornament

Take your ornament outside or into a well-ventilated location to spray 2 coats of sealant. Follow the manufacturer’s directions on the sealant for the best results. Be sure to allow the sealant to dry completely before reassembling.

Step 6: Assemble and add twine

Place the hanger piece back into the ornament. Finish your hand-painted ornament with a piece of ribbon or twine tied at the top for it to hang. Hang your new hand-painted ornament for all to see!

Red Christmas ornament with white snowflakes

DIY Hand-painted Ornament—Textured

This next variation is simpler but creates a beautiful, unique ornament that will look perfect on any tree! The addition of the baking soda creates a texturing effect. The glitter is optional!

Step 1: Paint the base color

Wooden ornament painted with a base layer of yellow paint

For this variation, you’ll need to once again apply a base coat of paint on your hand-painted ornament. This time, you’ll only need to apply one coat of plain paint. Be sure to allow it to dry thoroughly before applying the next coat.

Step 2: Combine baking soda with paint

Adding baking soda to paint for a textured paint

Next, combine ½ teaspoon of baking soda per quarter-sized dollop of paint. Mix it well. It should be grainy but still loose enough to easily paint on. This is a good time to add some metallic paint to the mix if you’re looking to make the ornament really shine!

Step 3: Paint the next layer of color

Applying a coat of textured paint to a wooden ornament

Apply a layer of this thicker paint to the ornament. Take care not to press too hard as you paint, as you might accidentally remove some of the base coat since the baking soda can act as a sort of exfoliator. After this coat completely dries, apply one more coat.

Step 4: Sprinkle with glitter

Adding green glitter to yellow paint

The glitter can be added in two ways. You may choose to add some glitter to the baking soda and paint mixture before painting on the second coat. This will help ensure the glitter will disperse evenly across the ornament; however, the glitter will be muted.

Another option is to sprinkle glitter on the outside of the ornament while the second coat of paint is still wet. You’ll need to use a steady hand so the glitter spreads evenly. Allow the paint to completely dry.

Step 5: Use sealant

Once more, take your ornament to a well-ventilated location to spray two coats of sealant. Be sure to allow the sealant to dry completely before reassembling.

Step 6: Assemble and add twine

Place the hanger piece back into the ornament. Use a piece of ribbon or twine and tie it to the top of the ornament so it can hang. It’s time to hang your ornament!

Orange and yellow Christmas ornaments

DIY Hand-painted Ornament—Flower

This final DIY hand-painted ornament has a few more steps, but your hand-painted flower ornament will be stunning once you’ve finished. These would be a perfect gift to give someone you care about!

Step 1: Paint the base color

For this last variation, you’ll want to apply 2-3 coats of paint to your hand-painted ornament. Once again, try to get the coats to be as even as possible. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next coat.

Use chalk to draw a design on your painted ornament

Step 2: Paint the base layer of the petals

You may want to use your chalk to draw an outline of what you plan to paint onto the ornament before you begin painting. This will help take the guesswork out of how big to make the petals.

Blue ornament with a red flower

Once you’re ready, use your paint pens or a small paintbrush to paint four spade-shaped flower petals onto the ornament. The base of each petal should meet at their base, creating a cross effect. Allow this layer of petals to completely dry. If you feel like you need a second coat, do so before moving on.

Step 3: Paint the next layer of petals

Next, you can use the same color of paint, or try using a shade slightly darker or lighter. This will help the next layer of petals to stand apart from what you’ve previously painted, a little better.

Adding colorful designs to your wooden ornament

Once again, paint four flower petals in a cross formation. This time, paint the petals so their tips point in between the original petals you painted onto the ornament. Allow this layer to dry. If your petals need a second coat of paint, do this before moving to the next step.

Step 4: Paint leaves

Now, it’s time to add the leaves. Again, use your chalk to outline where you want to paint it, if you aren’t sure where you want the leaves to go.

Using a green paint pen or small paintbrush, paint one or two leaves along the sides of the petals. This will give the illusion that it’s coming from behind the flower. Allow the leaves to dry completely. Apply a second coat, if needed.

Step 5: Add decoration

Adding detail to a wooden ornament

Use your paint pens and add the small details. Begin by using yellow and white paint to create the stamen in the center of the flower. You might want to also include small dots or dashes around the flower to enhance the beauty of the ornament. Allow the paint to fully dry.

Step 6: Use sealant

Spray your hand-painted ornament with two coats of sealant in a well-ventilated area. Allow the sealant to fully dry before reassembling.

Step 7: Assemble and add twine

Reassemble your ornament with the hanger and tie on some ribbon or twine to finish your project! It’s time to celebrate the holidays with your beautiful hand-painted ornaments!

Finished hand painted wooden ornament with flower design

Time to Get Creative with Your Hand-Painted Ornaments!

Now that you know a few creative ways to make your own hand-painted ornaments, you can save some to give as gifts! Or take your creativity one step further and find a new way to hand-paint your ornaments for this holiday season.

Are you hoping to find more ways to make your own handcrafted ornaments? Visit our post on decorating your tree with painted wood slice ornaments!