20 Ways to Dress Up Plain Christmas Ornaments

Wake up your Christmas tree with creatively embellished ornaments. Start with plain ball ornaments and deck them out with paint, ribbon, stickers, and more.


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Swirly Ornament
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Swirly Ornament

    This ornament was given larger swirls of paint and wrapped with a thin strip of decorative paper. Place the ornament on a disposable cup and rotate it every few minutes while the paint is drying to completely cover the inside surface.

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Snowflake Ornament

    Raid your crafting supplies for interesting embellishments to adorn plain glass ornaments. This turquoise ornament was updated with a snowflake scrapbooking applique adhered with hot glue.

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Single-Color Ornaments

    Start with a collection of ball ornaments in a single color and embellish with white snowflake stickers. Red ornaments with white stickers look striking, but blue or green ornaments also would look spectacular.

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Ribboned Ornament

    Add ribbon stripes to an ornament for holiday flair. Remove the ornament cap and cut strips of ribbon. Hot-glue the strips, beginning at the base, to the ornament. Tuck the ends of the ribbons into the top opening and glue into place. Replace the ornament cap and tie a bow around the hanging loop.

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Bejeweled Ornament

    Choose a single color for your ornament crafts for a stylish result. Find rhinestones to match the color of your ornaments and adhere the jewels to the ornaments in pretty patterns using crafts glue.

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Polka Dot Ornament

    Puff paint has long been a crafting staple; it's perfect for creating polka dot designs on plain Christmas ball ornaments. Our designs are monochromatic, but a contrasting paint color or multicolor group of dots would make an interesting variation.

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Ornament Trio

    With just a few supplies, it's easy to make multiples of these jazzed-up red Christmas ornaments. In a wink of an eye, you'll have enough to decorate your entire tree. Or make sets to give to friends and coworkers for Christmas.

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Striped Ornament

    Add stripes to an ornament with paint. Mark off areas you don't want to paint using masking tape. Then use a small paintbrush to carefully paint the stripes. Sprinkle wet paint with glitter for a touch of sparkle. Carefully remove the tape when the paint is dry.

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Christmas Mosaic Ornament

    Combine two ornaments for one spectacular result. A decorative glass ornament is broken into pieces, which are then attached to a solid-color glass ornament with texture paint for a mosaiclike effect.

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Splattered Ornament

    Release your inner Jackson Pollock to make these swirled ornaments. Remove the caps from clear acrylic ornament balls. Rinse the inside with a mixture of three parts water, one part vinegar. Rinse with clean water; let dry. Drip one or several colors of acrylic paint into the ornament and swirl gently to achieve desired effect. Let the paint dry and add additional swirls in different colors. Once you've finished the painting, decorate the outside of the ornament with a band of ribbon or trim.

    See the next slide for another ornament made using the same technique.

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Scenic Ornament

    It's easy to create this winter scene on an ornament. The trick is to paint in steps. First, paint the bottom of a glass ball ornament with two coats of white acrylic paint; let dry after each coat. Then use a small, round brush to paint white trees in different sizes. Once the trees have dried, add small dashes of red acrylic paint to the trees to resemble cardinals. After the red paint has dried, use the bristle tips to add small white dots for falling snow.

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Bands of Glitter

    Plain glass Christmas ornaments come in all shapes. To emphasize the unique shape of this toplike ornament (shown), add a little bling around the middle. Tape off the top and bottom, creating a center band. Dab Mod Podge between the tape strips and sprinkle with gold glitter. Remove the tape when dry. Hang to dry, or remove the ornament hanger and set the ornament on its top to dry.

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Monogram Ornament

    Personalize a plain Christmas ball ornament with an initial or a whole monogram. Look through fonts on your computer for inspiration. Dip a paintbrush into crafts glue to create the desired letter, then sprinkle with glitter. Let dry.

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Glittery Ornament

    Two colors work together to make this eye-catching ornament. Mix two colors of glitter together in a tin pan or disposable bowl. Working over a protected surface, coat an ornament with spray adhesive. Sprinkle glitter on the ornament or roll it in glitter, covering the ornament entirely. Once dry, tie two coordinating colors of ribbon in a bow around the ornament hanger.

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Sophisticated Ornament

    Use paint and embellishments that match the color of your ornament for a sleek, sophisticated look. Remove the ornament hanger and add thick lines of paint, in various lengths, extending from the top of the ornament. Place a rhinestone at the end of each line.

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Ornament Duo

    Combine two ornaments into one for this chic look. Cut different types of ribbon to reach from the top to the bottom of the large ornament. (Tip: Remove the ornament cap to make it easier to work with.) Hot-glue ribbon to the large ornament. Remove the cap from the smaller ornament and hot-glue the stem to the bottom of the large ornament. Tie a wide ribbon into a bow and glue to the small ornament, covering the stem.

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Pretty Plaid Ornament

    Jazz up a glass ball ornament with plaid ribbon. Wrap a single length of ribbon around the ornament and secure with crafts glue. String two pieces through the ornament hanger and tie in a knot, leaving a loop to use for hanging. Use different patterns of plaid for a fun, casual look.

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Oceanside Ornament

    Dreaming of summer days by the beach? Capture the essence of the ocean on a glass ball ornament for your Christmas tree. Tape off stripes around the ornament. Coat the bare areas with crafts glue and sprinkle with coarse sand; let dry. Finish by gluing on small shells or mother-of-pearl buttons.

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Paisley Ornament

    Skip the brush and go with paint pens to embellish ornaments. We used light and dark paint colors to complement the colors of the top-shape and finial-shape ornaments shown here. The ribbon also is two-tone to keep a coordinated look.

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Christmas Greetings

    Spell out a holiday message with glittery letters from the scrapbook aisle. Add a few more sticker embellishments and tie a simple bow around the ornament hook.

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