Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments – An All Ages Holiday Craft

When I taught 5th grade many moons ago, my co-teacher introduced me to a super simple way to paint Christmas ornaments that turns out very professional looking, fancy, and beautiful. The kids loved the craft project, but I have to admit I was just as enthralled with making the baubles as the kids were. This year, I decided to try the project once again, but this time with my own children! My 4 and 5 year old’s eyes lit up just as much as I remember my students’ eyes lighting up all those years ago. So no matter your age (as long as your little one can be trusted to hold a glass ball carefully for a few minutes), you will definitely want to try this project. I’ll bet you can’t make just one!!

 christmas ornament

Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments

Materials Needed:

  • Hollow Glass Ball Ornaments with removable tops
  • Acrylic Paint in various colors
  • Cups for collecting paint drainage

christmas ornament

To make your very own paint swirl, marbleized bauble, follow these steps:

1. Pull the top off the clear ornament and set it aside for later. Squeeze 2 or more colors of acrylic paint inside the ornament.

christmas ornament

2. Gently and slowly (but not so slowly the paint starts to dry!) swirl the ornament around in your hand until all the sides are covered in paint. Squeeze in a little more paint if necessary.

christmas ornament

christmas ornament

3. Put the ornament upside down into a cup to dry. Be sure the ornament is suspended a bit so the paint has room to drain out.

christmas ornament

4. Wait for the ornament to dry. I suggest at least overnight, perhaps longer depending on the thickness of the paint you used.

5. Gently put the top back on the dry ornament. Hang it on your tree, tie it to a gift, or display it on an ornament stand!

christmas ornament

Bonus Tips

1. Use as little paint as you can while still providing full coverage. This will be less wasteful and also your ornament will not drain as much, so your design will stay as close to the original as possible.

2. We used the little bottles of 2 oz. acrylic craft paint that are often on sale for 2 or 3 for $1.

3. You can use paint colors that typically work well together (like red and yellow), but you can also try funky combinations. The paint doesn’t really mix together that much so you don’t end up with funky brown ornaments. My son did one with orange glitter paint, purple, green, and blue. I cringed at the thought, but it actually turned out really colorful and cool looking. So, let the kids choose their colors and see what they come up with. You might be pleasantly surprised like I was!

4. If you get paint on the outside of the ornament, don’t worry about it. It scratches off easily with a fingernail once it dries.

5. We used our Melissa & Doug paint cups with the tops inverted to drain our ornaments. They worked perfectly!

christmas ornament

6. If you’re not sure the paint is dry yet, wait a little longer. If you hang your ornament before the paint is completely dry, the paint will run to the bottom of the ornament and dry in a puddle there. Not pretty. Trust me!

christmas ornament

Have you tried making Paint Swirl Christmas Ornaments yet? How’d they turn out?


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