During winter break, I am always looking for something fun for the kids to do. Every year, I plan a gathering for the kids in my daughters class so that they can spend time outside of the classroom together. It’s a great way to foster friendships, ensure kids dont feel left out, and give parents a small break during the time off. This year, we are throwing a kids ornament paint party!
The requirements for planning the party are simple, it must be crafty and cheap. I’m not putting together something for the kids to do together that takes zero effort. Sorry, but kids do enough watching TV, playing video games, etc. This is about having fun and working on something together!
This year, I found the cutest ornaments for my daughter to give out during the Christmas party. In addition, she passed out invites to a ‘ornament painting party’ so her classmates could join her in painting their ornament. The ornaments were about .60 each – much cheaper than if I bought them all an item from the dollar store!
Here are a few ways to paint the ornaments and some other ideas for the party…
DIY Ornament Paint Party:
What you’ll need
- ceramic ornaments
- for glossy/glazed ornaments: paint pens
- for unglazed ornaments: Sharpie markers or any acrylic ornament paint
- Modge Podge
- Paint brushes (really any paint brushes will do, but you’ll want some that are flat and a little larger – if all you have are the skinny, paint-by-color brushes, it will take forever to modge podge, go for brushes with a bit more to them)
How to paint the ornaments
Painting glossy/ glazed ornaments:
For glazed ornaments that have a glossy coat on them, you’ll have to use paint or paint pens. Permanent markers, such as Sharpies, will rub off or smear, even when dry (see the photo below). Paint pens dry quickly and allow for multiple layers so you can have the kids paint a base, then decorate over the base color.
We wrote over the base color as well, this allowed us to write the year and any other silly message the kids wanted to add. It took a moment for them to understand that you could color is multiple layers, that isn’t something you can typically do when painting/coloring. But once they figured it out, they thought it was great.
We simply painted one side, let it dry, then painted the other side. This allowed the kids some time to play in-between painting, although the paint pens dried very quickly. We weren’t in a rush.
For ornaments that have an unfinished, matte, coat to them, you can use paint, paint pens, or permanent markers. My vote is for permanent markers because they are easier to work with and cheaper, too! You can get many different colors for the kids to really have fun expressing their creative side. If you chose to go with paint, just get regular acrylic paint from the craft store.
For true painting, make sure that you have various size brushes so the kids can get into crevices and design as intricate as they would like to go. Younger kids will have fun sloshing around the paint so it’s a little less important in that case, to get various sized brushes.
Finishing the ornaments:
For both types of ornaments, it is best to seal the design in with Modge Podge. You can also use spray sealant if you don’t want to modge podge, but, it kinda takes the fun away. With Modge Podge, all you have to do it take a flat brush and brush on the Modge Podge until it creates a coating across the entire ornament. Modge Podge is white, it looks and smells like glue, but it dries clear.
Once one side has a nice coating of Modge Podge, let it sit and dry. It only takes about 10 minutes to fully dry. Again, it goes on with a white color to it but dries clear. Be careful not to have swirls or large goops of the Modge Podge on the ornament surface, even though it dries clear, you can still see variations in the coating if there are uneven amounts of Modge Podge. But honestly, it’s not a big deal, just even it out a bit.
For a bit more fun & creative thinking, challenge the kids with designing something on each side that goes along with a specific theme. For instance, on one side – show your favorite part about Christmas/the holidays (Santa, snowman, gifts, family, baby Jesus, Christmas tree, Menorah, etc.); on the other side – add a design that signifies your favorite Christmas song (Jingle Bells, Rudolph, Holy Night, etc.). Or perhaps it can be the best give you ever received or your favorite family tradition. This will help the kids create a design while also capturing something meaningful to look back on for years to come.
Ta da! You’ve created your very own keepsake ornament and had a blast doing it! Being crafty and creative has never been so easy – and now each child can bring home their own ornament to put on the tree. Of course, my child went with the poop emoji for her creative design, but I’m not complaining. I’ll cherish it forever.
Lauren is Co-founder and CMO of momsplained.com. A single mom, marketing pro, and avid DIYer, she spends her days playing as much as she works and working as much as she dreams. “Omnia Feminae Aequissimae (women are equal to everything).” – Lady Hale