Friday, October 11, 2013

Christmas in October: Glass Ornaments

Yes, it's true:  I'm here with a blog post for my Christmas in [Insert Month Here] series without waiting for the last day of the month, or missing the month altogether!
A long time ago, I watched a crafting video in which a man dripped alcohol inks into clear glass Christmas balls, and then blew the inks around using a can of compressed air.  While I wanted to try the project, I didn't have any alcohol inks at the time, nor did I have a can of air (!), and I wondered if I could just drip craft paints into a similar glass ball ornament and let the different colors spread and blend inside.

Excited by the possibilities, I rushed out to purchase the clear glass Christmas balls--and promptly stored them away for over a year!

Thus, they were prime candidates for this series, which keeps me prepping for Christmas all year long, as well as completing projects that I've had in the back of my mind for months and months and months.

First, I removed the silver part used for hanging at the top of each glass ball.
Then, I played around with color combinations that I wanted to drip inside.  I used mostly basic craft acrylic paint--nothing fancy.  (Perhaps "fancy" would have yielded pretty results more quickly, though.  I think the thinner and more fluid the paint, the more successful your project will be.)
My initial results were really beautiful and exciting.  (Notice my use of old cloth diapers on my craft table; they were burp cloths for my children in their first life, and now indispensable crafting tools!)
I got experimental with metallic champagne, yellow, and black for this one!
And the ornaments look so different from every vantage point.
After patiently watching the craft paint swirl around and cover every internal surface (very meditative, I must say), and letting them drip out a lot of excess paint onto the cloth, I set them aside to dry for awhile.  When I came back to check on them later, this is what I found:
Not exactly the look I was going for!  The paint had separated and created a cracked appearance.  In retrospect, maybe it has a bit of the patina of vintage Shiny Brite ornaments, but I wasn't pleased.

In the spirit of a grand experiment, I spritzed some inks inside, letting them cover over the "cracks" from the inside, and allowing the extra liquid to drain out.  And in the case of several of the ornaments, I dripped more black craft paint inside to create a dramatic background color.

Here are my final results:
And the individual ornaments:
This is my favorite.  It turned out nicely from the beginning, and never required an extra squirt of black paint.  It also makes me laugh that I reached for the red paint to provide a background, and squirted in orange instead, because I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing.  I was surprised by how nice the orange looked with pink and gold!
This looks like some sort of planet with swirling clouds, seen from the vantage point of space.  It has metallic bronze, gold, AND champagne paint in it; I went all out on the color combination.  So dramatic and pretty!
I guess this kind of looks like a planet to me, as well.  Because I chose black as that background color, the ornaments as a group look a bit darker than I might like.  But what do I expect when I go squirting black into almost every one of them!

More dramatic swirls.
I think they would make very pretty Christmas gifts with bows tied to the loop at the top, presented in their own individual gift boxes.  The project was a major process of experimentation, and I took LOTS of time just messing around, watching the colors swirl.  But I declare it a success, and think it is something kids could have fun playing around with, too!
Happy Christmas in October!

For a list of all my Christmas in [Insert Month Here] posts, click on the label in the left margin of the blog, or visit my last post, and find the other links right at the end.


TheSnailMailer said...

I used to do projects every year making ornaments since I was in a poor student. If the paint separates, let it dry and go back over it again, these are vey fun to make!

Shopgirl said...

These are beautiful, a wonderful share. I have not found a project for Christmas...this might get top billing, happy Fall Mary

Joyfulploys said...

I love these ornaments! What a great way to reuse old cracked ornaments!
I have your journal finished and will get it out today or tomorrow. Have a wonderful week!

Carin Winkelman said...

These are lovely. What an interesting technique.

Unknown said...

This looks like a fun craft project I can with my kids this season. I wonder if I can get clear balls like this made out of like a polycarbonate sheet material. Its much more durable and safer without the risk of breaking and hopefully it will work the same. Homemade ornaments are always the most special ones.

Personalized Glass Ornaments said...

Scan your template into the computer and place it as a background layer or element while you develop your image for printing. If you took a digital picture instead, resize the image to match the size of your original template before proceeding.

Anonymous said...

I let mine dry and swirled over the cracked areas with wet paint still in the balls but they cracked again when hung them from the tree. Does the cracking/separating ever stop? I'd hate to give these as gifts and have them crack/separate later.

Anonymous said...

I sure wish somone had answered Anonymous' comment of December 19, 2013. I'm experiencing the same problem. Ick. It looks all cracked and separated in spots.

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