25 Ways to Dress up Plain Christmas Ornaments

bright drip-paint glass ornament in tree
Photo: Matthew Clark

Dress up your Christmas tree with creative homemade Christmas ornaments. Start with plain ball ornaments and deck them out with paint, ribbon, stickers, and more. These personalized Christmas crafts make pretty decorations and thoughtful gifts.

01 of 25

Unicorn Ornament

unicorn ornament christmas craft white tree pastels
Jenn Bartell and Andy Johnson

Turn a plain glass ball ornament into a magical work of art! These fun handmade unicorn ornaments require just a bit of painting and plenty of imagination. Grab a pack of plain ball ornaments and dress them up with gold horns and plenty of flowers.

02 of 25

Dipped Globes

dipped forsted glass Christmas ornaments in candy hues
Adam Albright

Transform frosted glass ornaments with a quick dip! Clean the ornaments with rubbing alcohol and let dry. To create the paint, mix two parts clear crafts glue and one part water in a jar. Stir in 10-15 drops of gel food coloring. Dip the ornament and hang for 20 minutes to dry. Wipe away drips from the bottom as they form. Repeat with additional colors.

03 of 25

Tartan Ornament

tartan ornament craft
Matthew Clark

Showcase the colors of the holiday season with pretty plaid ornaments. Mix and match fabrics for a sweet display that matches your Christmas tree theme. Add a touch of farmhouse to your decor and use buffalo check or tartan plaid fabric ($5, Etsy).

04 of 25

Pom-Pom Piled Ornament

Christmas tree ornament
Adam Albright

Insert white, silver, and gold pom-poms ($2, Michaels) in a clear glass ball ornament for a sparkly, energetic look for your tree. This handmade ornament is ready in just minutes.

05 of 25

Drip Paint Christmas Ornament

bright drip-paint glass ornament in tree
Matthew Clark

Swirls of colorful craft paint star in this handmade ornament. To create your own drip paint ornament, simply pour multiple colors of paint into a plain glass ball ornament. Gently shake and spin the ornament to create a stunning marbled bauble.

06 of 25

Washi Tape Ornament

Christmas tree ornament washi tape
Adam Albright

Do you have ornaments with designs or patterns you don't love? (This ball, for example, once flaunted a glittered dimension design.) Instead of tossing them or leaving them in the decorations box, give them a quick washi tape makeover. Simply stick strips of washi tape to the ball, overlapping and smoothing them as you work your way around.

07 of 25

Swan Christmas Ornament

glass swan ornament with feathers
Jenn Bartell and Andy Johnson

You'd never guess this cute swan ornament started as a plain glass ball. A simple face made from modeling clay ($3, Michaels) and fluffy white feathers create this whimsical handmade ornament.

08 of 25

Marble-Painted Ornament

marbled Christmas tree ornament
Adam Albright

Blend a few colors of paint to get this pretty marbled effect. To make, fill a large disposable tray with water. Spray two colors of coordinating spray paint ($5, Target) into the water. (The paint will float on the surface.) Dip a clear glass ball ornament in the paint. The paint will adhere to the ball, creating a marbled effect.

09 of 25

Snowflake Ornament

snowflake christmas ornament
John Bessler

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.

10 of 25

Wrap with Chunky Yarn

yarn covered ornament
Adam Albright

We braided chunky yarn and wrapped it around this ball to hide a dated candy cane design. Secure yarn to the ball with hot glue, placing knots and ends toward the back.

Buy It: Softee Chunky Yarn, $5, Joann

11 of 25

Wrapped Ornament

string-wrapped ornament
Adam Albright

These creative handmade ornaments start with a simple string. Just wrap the string around a plain ball ornament in an overlapping pattern and you've got a festive way to trim the tree.

12 of 25

Swirly Ornament

two tone ornament
Kim Cornelison

Swirl paint inside a glass ball for a two-toned effect. Place the ornament on a disposable cup and rotate it every few minutes while the paint is drying to completely cover the inside surface. Finish with a strip of decorative paper printed with a seasonal message.

13 of 25

Word Art Ornament

cheer ornament
Marty Baldwin

This DIY ornament is as easy as grabbing a paint pen! To create, simply write a festive word in bright paint pen. Let dry and hang. Or, use it as a pretty package topper.

14 of 25

Chenille Stem-Stuffed Ornament

gold ornament
Adam Albright

Insert sparkly gold pipe cleaners in a clear glass ball ornament, bending and twisting them to make them fit. Try customizing this handmade ornament with any colors you like—we love classic red and green or try wintery blue and silver.

15 of 25

Striped Ornament

Striped Ornament
Greg Scheidemann

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.

16 of 25

Twice-Painted Ornament

gold ornament
Adam Albright

Spray paint provides an even finish and some extra flourish in this ornament craft. We lightly sanded the ornament and spray-painted it gold. After it dried, we added a coat of marbleizing spray paint in white.

17 of 25

Scenic Ornament

tree ornament
Jay Wilde

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.

18 of 25

Ribboned Ornament

ribbon christmas ornament
Matthew Mead

Add ribbon stripes to a simple 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.

19 of 25

Tinsel Ornament

glass ornament with tinsel
Adam Albright

Sparkle comes from within. Snip a piece of tinsel garland and slip it into a clear glass ball ornament. Voila! The tree is ready. Have leftover garland? Try making a pretty tinsel wreath.

20 of 25

Knotted Ornament

yarn glass ornament
Adam Albright

Simple knots and yarn create a structural DIY ornament. Using yarn or cord, tie four strings with a knot in the center. Center the ornament on the knot. Knot adjacent ends about halfway up the ball. At the top, knot the alternate adjacent ends. Glue in place.

21 of 25

Sticker Phrase Ornament

joy christmas ornament
John Bessler

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

22 of 25

Melted Crayon Ornament

orange glass ornament
Adam Albright

Finally a use for stubby crayons! Unwrap and chop crayons ($3, Target) into small bits. Place one inside a clear glass ornament. With a hair dryer set on low, carefully melt the crayon bits, turning the ornament to coat the sides. Repeat with additional colors.

23 of 25

Simple Painted Ornament

green dipped glass ornament
Adam Albright

Create a set of custom DIY ornaments with just a few materials. Drip a tablespoon of gallery glass window color and a few drops of water inside a clear glass ornament, and turn the ball so the paint coats the sides for a watercolor effect.

24 of 25

Splattered Ornament

Splattered glass ornament
Kim Cornelison

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 and 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 the 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.

25 of 25

Glittered Spray Paint Ornament

Glittered Spray Paint Ornament
Adam Albright

A few quick spritzes of spray paint directed inside a clear glass ball produce a cool mottled effect. Have fun experimenting with different colors and types of paint; you won't get the same look twice!

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