I have a collection of ornaments that I enjoy displaying every year: Baby’s First Christmas ball (mine), Santa shooting hoops (his), Nacatamales (ours). Some have been gifts from friends, and others have been knick knacks we’ve picked up along our travels. The ornaments tell a story, from the heart my mother-in-law gave us at our bridal shower, to the crystal snowflake made by my best friend.
Because I love this part of my holiday, each year I choose an ornament for our families. Sometimes they are handcrafted, other times I find the perfect ornament in a little shop. Between the two of us, we have eight siblings, four parents, and dozens of nieces and nephews. To keep it affordable, I usually stick with a $5 budget.
This year, inspired by an ornament given to us in Ireland, I picked up plaster ornaments from Michael’s on sale along with a selection of Martha Stewart acrylic paints. If you want to create your own painted plaster ornaments, here are a few tips:
- Michael’s carries an assortment of these ornaments every year, but you can also purchase from Etsy, eBay, or bulk suppliers.
- Thin the paint a bit with water. This will prevent brushstrokes.
- Use a variety of paint brushes. I picked up craft brushes from Lowe’s (they shed, a lot) and better quality oil brushes from Michael’s (the bristles are stiffer). The longer, softer brushes are good for thin stripes, and the shorter, stiffer brushes are good for really fine details.
- Go slow! It’s worth it to take your time.
- Paint the entire ornament with a background color (I used a soft white). It’s easier to clean up mistakes on a painted surface.
- It helps to go from the inner part to the outer part because your hand won’t smudge the paint.
- If you do make a mistake, take a clean brush, wet it slightly, and then use it to wipe up the paint. The water makes it much easier.
- Use tweezers to remove any debris before the paint dries, use a damp cotton swab to blot up bigger mistakes.
- Use a spray sealer to finish and seal the ornament.
I hope this helps you during your holiday crafting marathon sessions!