Paint Swirl Glass Ornament

Have you been searching for some fun and unique ideas to make your own ornaments this Christmas season? I have a wonderfully easy and artistic one for you. Read below to see how you and your children can make your own paint swirl ornaments.

When we unpack the ornaments for our tree and start to decorate, we always take the time to talk about where each ornament came from. Our favorites are the ones we have made ourselves. I have quite a few from when I was little, as well as the ones that my girls make at school or different holiday activities. We decided to make some of our own ornaments at home, using quite a few items we had from home as well as a few from the local craft store.

Supplies Needed
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Glass Ornaments - globe or specialized shape
Acrylic Craft Paint
Decorative holiday ribbon - 3/8-inch wide
Rubbing Alcohol
Small disposable paper or plastic cups
Paper towels

Let me share a little about the paint that I use. I love Apple Barrel® paint made by Plaid. There is a large selection of colors to choose from, I love the consistency, and they are easy to use. If you live near a JoAnn Fabrics or Wal-Mart, I would suggest going into the store and buying your paints there. You can get them for a great deal. If you don't live near one of those stores, I will include links to Amazon for the colors that I used.
Colors used:
Velvet Crush
Parrot Blue
Crimson (not pictured)

Adult Prep:
A few hours before you will be making these ornaments you will need to prep the glass ornaments. Remove the lid of the ornament and pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol into the glass ornament. Swirl it around so it coats the inside of the glass. Pour the rubbing alcohol out and place the ornament with the opening facing down into the disposable cup. Let the inside dry thoroughly, a few hours.

Decorating the Ornament:
Here is the fun and artistic part of the project! Gather the paints of your choice. Make sure that the kids are wearing an apron or smock to protect their clothes, then get started.

Squeeze a small amount of your paints into the ornament and turn the ornament slowly so most of the inside is covered.

Cover the opening with a paper towel and shake the ornament so the paint starts to mix and swirl. Kids have lots of fun with this step, but make sure they are holding onto it firmly so the glass doesn't fly out of their hands. You can shake the ornament back and forth, turn it upside down - right side up - upside down and so on, or my favorite technique. My favorite is covering the opening, turning the ornament onto its side, then moving your hand in a circular motion (as if you were pretending to be a train). I know, totally not technical directions, but this produces the best looking results we have found.

You may have some leftover paint inside the glass ornament. Use the disposable cups from earlier and pour the extra paint into them, or you can just set them back into the cup with the opening down and it will drip out while the ornament dries. It will need to dry overnight.

When the ornament is dry inside, replace the lid. Cut a 12-inch length of decorative ribbon. 12 inches will give you enough room to tie the ends together and will still hang down nicely. Thread the ribbon through the lid, tie, then hang on your tree.

The blue and purple is my favorite, it looks like a gaseous planet.

My husband likes the red and white the best. I do like how the swirl pattern turned out on this one too.

My girls like the light blue one. I'm not sure what happened with this one, but instead of swirling, the blue and white paint combined and the whole ornament is the same color. This one might get a coating on the outside of glitter paint with an acrylic sealant sprayed on top to keep the glitter from falling off.

There you have it! A fun and artistic way to create homemade ornaments. You or your kids will love choosing the colors to create these, having fun during the creating process, and it will be fun to talk about the experience each year when you unpack your ornaments to decorate your tree.

I hope that you found this tutorial useful and if you decide to make these yourself I would love it if you shared your creations on my Facebook page.

Are you looking for other ideas of homemade ornaments that would be great for kids to make? I've joined with a group of other bloggers to share 30 Days of Homemade Kid Ornaments hosted by my friend Kim at The Resourceful Mama.  You can visit the 30 fun ideas by clicking here or on the photo below.

What is your favorite handmade ornament?


  1. Wow! I love them! They're gorgeous!

    1. Thank you so much! We had fun making them. They look so nice nestled in our tree.

  2. So simple and yet gorgeous, part of an awesome round up, thanks!

    1. Thanks for visiting and leaving such a nice comment. As a creator, you are never sure how other people are going to like your project, and the positive feedback is so nice! There are some great ones linked up now, and more will happen all month long.

  3. I found this craft on pinterest a couple of years ago and made it a kids holiday craft activity for her 2nd grade class. It was a hit!

    1. My youngest is that age and had the most fun making hers. It was supposed to me a Frozen themed one with the light blue and white, but she liked how it turned out anyway.

  4. Those look so beautiful and unique! Love this idea.

    1. Thanks Debi! They are pretty and my kids loved making them.

  5. These are beautiful! I'm not sure I would trust the youngest two to keep the paint in the ornament and not drop and shatter the glass, but the oldest would love this project! We don't do enough arts and crafts projects with him. Thanks for the feedback on the brand of paint. I have not bought brand, but have seen it.

    1. Thanks for the nice comment Kim! If you didn't want to use glass, you can buy the plastic ones, but the paint doesn't dry very well inside. That is how I originally did them and after three days there was still wet paint inside. If you don't plan on taking the top off though after finishing, then I think it would be fine.

  6. Very pretty, I've tried these before and they didn't come out as pretty as yours. I think the trick is just sticking to one or two color ranges. I have two different tree themes that I alternate - red/white candycane, or a more elegant silver, blue and white. Not sure which I'm going to use this year. I do love a color-coordinated tree.

    1. I think you are right about sticking to 2 colors Adrian. Your trees sound beautiful! We don't have a theme for ours, but I've thought about doing that one year. Thanks for visiting!

  7. Wow what a cool idea! I really love the red and white one too--very pretty! Thank you for sharing at Merry Monday!

    1. Thanks Amanda. We have loved looking at them on our tree.


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