How to Decorate Glass Christmas Ornaments

paint in a clear glass ornament

These glass ornaments are easy and fairly inexpensive to make. A pack of 12 clear ornaments is about $7 here in Hawaii. Tubes of paint run about $1 each, although the metallic ones are a little more expensive, running about $2 each. So, let’s gather our supplies and get started!


package of craft glass clear ornaments, assorted acrylic paints, paper cups, paper towels
Clear ornaments – most craft stores will stock them as early as October
Acrylic paints, assorted colors, including metallics
Paper cups
Paper towels or rags, just in case


First select the color paints you’d like to use and make sure all the plastic packaging keeping the caps closed is removed. Grab a paper cup and keep it handy. Gently pop the metallic top off the glass ornament. For the two ornaments demonstrated here, I used white, metallic silver, navy blue, and copen blue paints.

metallic silver, white, navy blue, and copen blue acrylic paints with clear glass ornament
Carefully drip one or two drops of each color through the mouth of the ornament. It’s important to start off with only a few drops so you don’t end up with a big blob of color and no pretty swirls.

blue, silver, and white paint drops in a glass ornament

Hold the ornament securely and rotate your wrist to gently swirl the paint for a few seconds. Then hold the paint so it drips at a couple of different angles to move it around bottom of the ornament.

Okay, now things start to get fun! Add a few more drops of each color and swirl a little more. It should feel like a gentle rolling motion, and you’ll see the paint flowing inside the ornament. The faster you swirl, the more likely your colors will mix, making a new color that you may or may not want! Keep in mind that what you’re seeing inside the ornament isn’t what’s showing up on the outside.

Repeat! Add a little more paint, swirl a little more, add a little more paint, swirl a little more. The more of the ornament that gets covered, the more paint you can add at once. But don’t go overboard here! No more than roughly 5 drops of each color at once.

You can see the paint rolling and leaving a marbled trail. Be patient as the paint moves along. Keep rotating so that all the sides get covered. You should start to see some interesting designs.

Take a break from holding the ornament, and let it sit in a paper cup for a little while. Rotate it every few minutes. Then add a little more paint, do a little more swirling, set it back in the cup, rotate it a little more, and so on. The paint will start working its way down the sides of the ornament until you have hardly any more clear sections. At this point you should tip the ornament straight upside down in the cup and let it drain. Don’t be too concerned if you get paint on the outside of the ornament. It’s acrylic, so a little soapy water and it will come right off.

Now, this could be the end. Let the ornament drain into the cup for up to an hour or so. Rotate every now and again. You’ll notice the colors starting to run together a little bit, making the edges less harsh. You don’t want it to drain too long, dripping all the paint out and leaving you with an empty ornament! After an hour or so, it’s probably best to tip the ornament right side up again. Let it dry overnight before putting the cap back in. And voilà! An ornament. Go on. Hang it on your tree. You know you want to!!!

But say you wanted to make several ornaments all in the same color scheme. Here’s where you can really start to have some fun. You’ll capitalize on the swirls and marbling you’ve already started, and save some paint, too! Instead of letting all the paint drain out into the paper cup, let it drain into your next ornament. I recommend using two hands for this part. I’m only using one so I could get some pictures.

I started getting a little bored and impatient watching my paint drip, so I didn’t really get as much paint transferred as I might have. If you have more patience than I do, more power to you! Have at it – get as much paint transferred over as you can! If you are like me, however, it is time to add a few more drops of paint, just as we did in the first ornament.

And were finished!!! Now you know how to make beautiful ornaments for your own tree and as fantastic Christmas gifts! The more you make, the better you’ll get. Each one is going to turn out a little different, so take pride in your originality! Experiment with colors. Mix some things. Make a REALLY ugly ornament. Just do your thing, and you’ll have a ton of fun.

Finally, a big thanks to my momma for raising me right and teaching me how to do these fun things!!!!


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