An easy and inexpensive Christmas craft project even kids can help with
The Annual Christmas Ornament project is a longstanding tradition in our family. Every year, back when our kids were little, they would craft special ornaments to give away as Christmas gifts to every person who gave a gift to them. Every year we chose a different project -- from origami to baked clay to painted wood, etc -- and it was always a fun thing for our family to do together. More importantly, it was a great way to teach our children the joy of giving.
I hope this is something you will try with your young ones. To get you started, let me show you how easy it is to make vintage-looking ornaments with chalk paint. With your adult supervision, even kids can join in on this fun project, so do get them involved.
It takes just a few inexpensive and easy-to-find supplies. The brands mentioned are ones I use and like, but choose according to your own preference.
- papier mache ornament forms, available in any craft store
- paint (for the best vintage look, plus easy application and clean-up, I recommend chalk paint)
- small paintbrushes
- clear and dark soft wax (I use the Annie Sloan brand)
- metallic Sharpie markers
- an empty egg carton
- newspaper for covering your work area
- soap and water for clean-up
Step 1 Paint a base color onto your forms. Cover the entire ornament, but don't worry about perfection. If you are using chalk paint, you will find it is not only a very forgiving medium, but also easy to clean up with ordinary soap and water. So have fun with it.
When the painting is done, prop your ornaments in an empty egg carton to dry for an hour or two.
Step 2 When the base coat has dried, choose a contrasting paint color, and with just a bit of paint on the end of a dry paintbrush, begin lightly covering random areas of the ornament. Brush over ridges, at the top and bottom -- anywhere you want to add a pop of the second color. Easy does it, and the messier the better. Then back to the egg carton to dry; it only takes a little while.
Step 3 To give your ornaments an antique look, apply a little tinted wax.
I mix my own 3:1 ratio of Annie Sloan clear and dark soft wax. Brush it on, and then immediately wipe off the excess with a clean cotton cloth. (An old cloth baby diaper works great.)
Step 4 Get out those metallic Sharpie markers!
Using the side of the felt marker tip, burnish the ridges of your ornament. Scribble a little metallic paint at the top, along sides, anywhere you want a little shine.
And that is all there is to it! Such a fun, easy project, and the results are spectacular. Make lots of these... you'll want to give one to everyone you know!