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Simple Ornaments: Have a Ball!

My kids make homemade gifts for family, friends, and teachers. Two years ago, my daughter (age two and a half at the time) made these very simple ornaments that even a toddler can make.


  • Glass globe ornaments*
  • Paint

* We tried with plastic this year but the paint really did not stick.  I am going to experiment with mixing glue and paint and seeing if that works better. If you have tips, please let me know.


1. Take the top off of the glass ornament.

2. Squeeze in some paint. (You’ll get more attractive results if the kids select two or three colors but I usually don’t stop them if they want the whole rainbow.  Metallic paints work nicely for this.)

3. Swirl the ornament like a wine glass.

4. Dry the ornament upside down (we used upside down plastic cups with a hole cut in the bottom).

5. We also added the child’s name and date using a paint pen.

Educational Connections: We really do this more to celebrate the joy of giving but there is something to be learned about color mixing!

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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 1-2 (Toddler), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), All Ages, Featured, Home Arts, Winter · Tags: , ,

11 Responses to "Simple Ornaments: Have a Ball!"

  1. maryanne says:

    I’d love to hear how the paint mixed with glue goes! I’ve had trouble with paint sticking to plastic, too. I see moms painting the insides of milk cartons, etc, but when I try it never sticks. Maybe they use acrylic paint? I’m not really comfortable with preschoolers and acrylics, and your paint + glue mix sounds much more child-friendly!

  2. amanda says:

    great idea! going to try to make these with my boys

  3. Donna says:

    On the glass balls, sometimes the paint sticks better if you swirl a little rubbing alcohol in the ornament the night before and let it dry. It etches the glass to provide better adhesion. This works for painting the outside of the ornament as well.

  4. Paula says:

    I did a similar project with my little one, except we used translucent paints of various colors with glitter shapes in it. As it drip dried, it began to leave spaces of non-glitter. So, before it completely dried, we dumped in gold glitter and shook it to coat the inside. Now, it’s a gold glittered ornament with subtle shades of the translucent paint. It is a beautiful effect really. I got the 6-pack of paint at my local Hobby Lobby. It’s simply called Artminds Washable Paint.

  5. Jan Scmidt says:

    What kind of paints, please?

  6. Candace says:

    We’ve used tempera before but you sometimes have to mix glue with the paint to make sure it really sticks. You could also use acrylic and just make sure that you wear a smock!

  7. Mandy says:

    How long do they take to dry??

  8. Marci says:

    Do you use 4 inch glass balls or the smaller ones? I bought some preparing for a class party for my son and I got 4 inch ones (come in boxes of 4 at hobby lobby).

  9. Nonna says:

    The very first thing you need to do is Clean out each glass ornament with Rubbing Alcohol , pour a little in, and then pour it into the next one, hold your finger over the opening, and shake it, so the alcohol cleans the entire inside, let dry completely upside down, use a blow dryer to make sure its bone dry.You will be amazed how much better the paint coats the inside

  10. Candace says:

    I think you could use any size!

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