Saturday, October 5, 2013

Christmas Ornaments- A Great Family Project!

WOW!  The Christmas season is upon us if we are ready or not.  Everyone seems to be getting their Christmas crafts up and going.  We have done many jar lanterns lately but I have wanted to do the Christmas balls - the clear glass ones that you paint and decorate the way you want. 

The other day my cousin (in her 80's) and myself (in my mid 60's) tackled this project.  Now, I own this craft company (I am the computer-business person), but it is my daughter that makes our designs and creates the ideas that you see.  This really is not in my comfort zone and definitely not in my cousin's, but we were wanting to give it a try.

We began buy going to a local hobby store and found some clear glass Christmas balls.  They were on sale so I bought quite a few in 2 sizes.  I tried to find these balls last year but waited too long and they were gone in the stores by the time I began looking.  I understand they may be found in some variety stores also.


We then gathered some supplies - craft paint and alcohol (use Tempra paint not Acrylic). 

Since I am not a craft person, I contacted my daughter-in-law for specific instructions.  She homeschools her children (see her website - Layers of Learning) and they are always doing craft projects. She said her kids did this craft without much help - they were about 10, 7, and 4 when they did this - she also did this project with 3 year olds and it worked.  So I bought these paints and tried this project with some issues (which I will explain later) and when it didn't work right, I called my daughter-in-law to find out why.  The answer:  USE TEMPRA PAINT - Kids washable paint - NOT ACRYLIC!!!  Well, I had used Acrylic paint.  It works but tends to take longer to dry, does not mix well with the alcohol, is too thick, and tends to streak as it dries.

First take off the metal hook from the top of the ball.  (Make sure you have your area prepared for painting as it can be messy depending on the ages doing this project.)  Squirt one to two drops of alcohol into the ornament then squirt the paint (a squirt or two) and swish it around to become a bit runnier.  Swirl the paint around in the ball.  You can use one, two, or more colors.  The more you swirl it around, the more the paint might mix.  Since I don't have the Tempra paint yet, I can't say exactly how this will work but I will be getting some and trying it out and will let you know.

With the Acrylic paint, I had to keep swirling it as it was drying as it started streaking.  As I did this, the color would sometimes change and sometimes blend.  I did a pink and purple that ended up light purple, a blue and green that has one side blue and one side green, yellow and pink that came out more yellow with a hint of pink, and my cousin did a red and green that was green for awhile then turned spotted red and green and ended up red with some flecks.

After the paint dried (and because we are old and impatient, the paint had not yet dried), we applied vinyl designs to our Christmas balls.  I had some of the Jar Lantern designs and tried using some of them but I found that the curve of the ball made it difficult for some so I had to revise some of them for these Christmas Balls.  The designs below will be available on our website (Vinyl Gifts and More) soon.  Look for them under CHRISTMAS ORNAMENTS

Jingle Bells with Polka Dots -  You apply the words then using a craft knife, apply the polka dots around the ball as desired.

Believe with Stars - This is actually the design from the Jar Lanterns pint size - but I had to manually put each letter onto the ball as the curve was too round to apply using the actual pattern.  I used a craft knife, pulled up the letter carefully and placed it on the ball as desired.  I did the same with the stars. I am not very steady with my hands so got it a bit lopsided - oops!

Merry Christmas with Tree and Stars - this is similar to the Jar Lantern in that it has the same design as the words and the tree but we added stars to help decorate the ball and had to modify the size of the letters and the tree. Here is an example of how to apply some of the vinyl to the balls:

Because of the extreme curving, you will need to take more care as you pull off the clear plastic and carefully push down the vinyl to keep it in place.  You also must be careful because the ball is made of glass and can easily break (as my cousin found out).  If your design buckles, you can use your craft knife to slice or poke a hole into the design to let out the air or let it overlap a little.  Our designs will fit the small glass balls (2  5/8").  I will also have designs for the 3 1/4" balls.

Oh Holy Night Manger - This is almost the same as the Jar Lantern Pint size.  I had to cut the cradle and overlap it at the base to make it bend correctly around the ball.  The building part of the design is not there because it would not bend around right.  The words worked fine.  I love it on the blue too!

When you are done, put the metal tab back onto the ball and it will be ready for your tree!

Well, two ole ladies did this project but I kept thinking what a fun thing to do as a family for Family Home Evening or a craft night with the kids.  We will have some more designs available soon (this is our busy season but we will try to get some available). 

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