The holidays are times of traditions with family and friends. One tradition in my family — for more decades than I want to admit! — is making holiday ornaments together. My mom started this tradition with my sister and me when we were children. At eight and five years old, we painted together at the kitchen table. This year, even though we now live far apart, we found a day to paint together at the kitchen table. Whenever we bring all these handmade ornaments out for the holidays in our three separate homes, we can always remember these shared times and the laughs. So this DIY project is something you can certainly do yourself, or consider starting an annual tradition of making ornaments together with family or friends. If family and friends are far away, maybe paint ornaments and send them to each other. It’s as much for fond memories as it is for the ornaments.
- Taj Tile Motif Indian Furniture Stencil
- Flat ornaments made of paper mache, chipboard, MDF, wood or ceramic
- Wood Icing Textura Paste
- Small trowel
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Stencil Cremes in red and green, and metallics like copper, gold, nickel and pearl
- Stencil Brushes
- Flat paint brush
- Paper towel
Look for Christmas tree ornaments with wide flat surfaces. They are perfect for stenciling! Many shapes will work, just be sure to find bigger surfaces so there’s room for the stencil patterns to show. You can find these types of ornaments around the holidays at craft stores for about $1.50-$2.50 each, and they also go on sale.
Of course you can use more than one stencil for this project. But I wanted to show you how you can make one stencil look different just by changing the placement of the stencil on the ornament.
Also try to look beyond only Christmas theme stencils for holiday ornaments. Many stencils can have the spirit when painted in holiday colors. For example, this project uses a stencil with an India motif that you might usually see in India colors. But when painted with metallic gold and copper, its curvy shapes take on an elegant Olde World look. And when accented with red, its floral motif looks like a poinsettia.
Finally, the raised pattern adds a regal touch to a simple ornament shape, and it’s so easy to create. But if you wish, you can adapt this project to paint the stencil directly on ornaments without the raised effect.
First, we’ll create the raised pattern with a stencil and Wood Icing Textura Paste. Protect your surface with paper or a board that you don’t mind messing up. Lay your ornament on the protected surface, and place your stencil on the ornament. With a small trowel, scoop out some Wood Icing, as if you were icing a cake – about a tablespoons’ worth of Wood Icing. Spread the Wood Icing over the stencil, keeping the trowel nearly parallel to the ornament. Get the Wood Icing into the stencil pattern. Carefully peel up the stencil immediately before the Wood Icing starts to dry. Also, wash your stencil and trowel immediately because the Wood Icing will dry very hard and permanent. This makes it durable, but you don’t want it to dry so durable on your stencil or trowel.
If Wood Icing got on some spots where you don’t want it, you can carefully scrape it off with a toothpick while the Wood Icing is still wet. Otherwise, let the Wood Icing dry on your ornament, even if there are “peaks” sticking up and rough spots. Once it is dry, you can use fine grit sandpaper to sand down any rough edges and even it out. Of course some unevenness is part of handmade charm and if you’re going for a more rustic, casual look, it’s a benefit!
You can apply the raised pattern to only one side of the ornament, or to both sides. It’s your choice. If you want the raised pattern on both sides, when the Wood Icing is completely dry, just flip your ornament over and apply Wood Icing to the opposite side.
I will show you several paint color combinations to get your ideas going, and you can also see how one stencil can look very different in different colors.
For a metallic Olde World look, paint the entire ornament with an even coat of Copper Kettle Stencil Creme. Then, paint a few uneven “blotches” of Aged Nickel and Antique Gold Stencil Cremes. I used a Stencil Brush and just swirled a few spots of Aged Nickel and then lightly swirled a few spots of Antique Gold. I did this with a light touch and randomly, allowing the Copper Kettle color to show through. As the last step, dip a wide flat-edged brush lightly in Pearl Oyster Stencil Creme and then wipe most of the paint off the brush on a paper towel. The brush should be mostly dry. Lightly flick the brush over the ornament and the raised patterns, so the Pearl Oyster color “catches” on the edges of the raised patterns. This will highlight the edges of the stencil pattern with white.
For white, red and green holiday looks, you could first paint Pearl Oyster all over an ornament, then lightly brush some Renaissance Red Stencil Creme over the raised pattern. The pattern automatically “catches” some red color as shown in the image above.
Or, paint the Renaissance Red all over an ornament, then lightly brush some Antique Gold color over the raised pattern.
For a green ornament, paint Patina Green Stencil Creme all over. This color has a green-gold sheen. (Lime Shine would also be a good holiday green, but I had the Patina Green on hand). Then lightly brush Pearl Oyster and then Renaissance Red over the raised pattern.
Definitely experiment with mixing and matching other colors you like and that fit your holiday decorating theme. This gives you an idea of the many color combos you can create. I found it works better to use colors that contrast a lot, rather than similar colors, especially if you want to highlight the raised pattern and make it show up from a distance.
So you can see that placing the stencil on ornaments in different positions, and also painting with different colors, can give a lot of looks with just one stencil!
Christmas décor doesn’t have to come from a store… Maybe it can mean a little bit more. Want some more Christmas-themed DIY fun? Click here to see what others have done!
Spread your Christmas cheer! Share your holiday stencil projects! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag us on Instagram with #royaldesignstudio.