If you were to ask my mother she would tell you that she isn’t the least bit crafty and that she’s not sure where I get it from. That said, I always thought of my mom as crafty as a kid and remember fondly the times we’d gather around the kitchen table to craft ornaments for the tree each year. That’s probably why I am so partial to really gorgeous handmade ornaments! I made a whole bunch of these painted gold leaf ornaments (you know me and my love for all things gold leaf), which are perfect for decking the halls, giving as gifts or exchanging as part of an ornament swap. They’re made with inexpensive clear glass ornaments and they’re also just so darn pretty!
- Clear glass ornaments
- Assorted craft paints
- Thin ribbon
- Paint brushes
- Gold leaf + adhesive
The first step is to coat the inside of your ornaments with paint. I chose three shades of turquoise, mint and pale blue, but you could stick to classic Christmas colors, too, if that’s more your thing. Squirt a generous glob of paint into the ornament, then close your finger over the open end and shake and swirl vigorously to coat the inside. Add additional paint as necessary to get a nice even coat covering all the glass.
Next up, it’s time for the gold leaf! Check the instructions on your particular brand of gold leaf, then use a clean paint brush to apply a thin coat of sizing to the exterior of your ornament. I chose to concentrate the gold leaf on the bottom half of the ornament, but you could easily gold leaf the entire thing.
Once the sizing is apply, allow it to dry until tacky, usually about 20 minutes. Then carefully place a sheet of gold leaf on the ornament, wrapping it around the ball and then burnishing it with a second clean paint brush to remove the excess. Apply a light coat of sealer per the manufacturer’s instructions, then allow your entire ornament to dry overnight, minus the top of the ornament, to allow both the adhesive and the paint to dry.
My ornaments had silver tops so before replacing them, I gave them a quick coat of metallic gold spray paint. Obviously you can’t skip this step if your ornaments come with gold tops or if you don’t mind the silver.
The final step is to cut a length of thin ribbon and string it through the ornament to create a hook for hanging. Of course, you could use ornament hooks instead of adding the ribbon, it’s entirely up to whichever look you prefer. Then just hang them on the tree or tuck them in a cute little box on a bed of tissue paper and they’re ready for gifting or swapping!
I love how these ornaments turned out. I realized the combination of the gold leaf and the green colors kind of made them resemble globes, which wasn’t my intention, but I’m definitely not complaining. Also, you know the drill by now. If you make these or any of my other Christmas DIY ideas, share with me on Instagram using the hashtag #thesweetestholidays! I want to see your craftiness in action.
[Art direction + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]
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