New Life for Old Christmas Ornaments

Turn scratched and worn Christmas ornaments into like-new holiday treasures with our ornament makeover ideas.

Merry Makeovers

Let's face it: We all have dinged-up ornaments that we don't have the heart to toss. The bowlful shown here includes examples of the dented, scratched, and just plain tacky ornaments we're talking about. See how they can be helped.

Silver Salvage

Problem: Stripes in red and bright yellow-gold were unappealing, and the ornament looked dated, cheap, and plasticlike.

Solution: Coat the ornament with matte silver spray paint; let dry. Glue on beads to create glistening vertical stripes. Finish with a big sheer silver bow tied to the top.

Ribbon Rescue

Problem: Ornament was cracked and seemed destined for the trash.

Solution: Cut 5/8-inch ribbon into 1-1/2- and 2-inch-long strips (for an average-size ornament). Glue the strips to the ball, starting at the bottom with three rows of shorter strips and finishing the middle and top with longer strips. Creative use of ribbon, flapper-style, saved this ball from the trash.

Velvet Ribbon Revival

Problem: Surface was scratched because it rubbed against other decorations while in storage.

Solution: Hide the scratches with velvet ribbon. Apply a line of hot glue to the ornament, starting at the top and going all the way around the ball. Adhere a strip of ribbon to the ball. Repeat so you have six evenly spaced ribbon lines running down the ball. Glue ribbon loops to the top of the ball so they drape over the ball. For the topper, fold over some ribbon three times, going back and forth, so it looks as if you laid three bows on top of each other. Make a final loop around the center of the layered ribbon, and tie or glue to the top.

Sparkling Restoration

Problem: Some of the surface paint had been removed, resulting in a blotchy appearance.

Solution: Embrace the blotches by using them as an unusual background. Apply hot glue to the ball in swirling shapes; let dry. Carefully peel off the dried glue to remove more paint to create a swirled design. Hot-glue beads or ball chain to the ornament in a swirled pattern that does not match the peeled paint. The resulting mottled look sparkles on a lighted tree.

Snowy Rebirth

Problem: Another plain clear ornament needed something -- anything -- added.

Solution: Remove the ornament's metal top. Fill the ornament about one-half to two-thirds with artificial snow, glitter, Epsom salts, or sugar. Put top back on. Adhere silvery snowflake decals designed for scrapbooking to the ornament. Loop a string of crafts store beads or an office supply ball chain through the top; tie the beads into a bow.

Paint Preservation

Problem: This uninteresting clear-ball ornament seemed like an unfinished crafts project.

Solution: Remove the metal top. Paint the inside of the ball with pink spray paint, swirling around until it sticks and starts to dry. Let dry; put top back on. Use stencils and acrylic paint to personalize the ball with a name or a short holiday greeting. Tie a pink bow to the top.

Green Recovery

Problem: With its atrocious fluorescent yellow color, this ugly duckling had no chance of being chosen for a Christmas tree.

Solution: Lightly coat the surface with lime-green acrylic paint; let dry. If desired, add a second coat and rub off some of the paint while it's wet. Paint the metal top silver to cover the cheap-looking gold color. To ruffle a striped wire-edge ribbon, pull one side of the wire. Hot-glue the pulled side to the top of the ornament, letting the rest fluff out.

Split Pea Repair

Problem: Dents marred the surface of this basic, boring plastic ornament.

Solution: Head to the grocery store to purchase a bag of dried split peas. Glue the split peas onto the ornament to create a fun polka-dot pattern that disguises the dents. Add a pea-color satin ribbon for hanging. For a similar look, glue craft-store beads or rhinestones to a plain ball.

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