Christmas Bulb Upcycle with Paint

Last year, we upgraded our tree to a 9.5 footer. The smaller tree that I’d had for years, just looked too puny with the higher ceilings in the new house. That smaller tree has now gone to live at my son’s apartment. 🎄

After we got the new tree up last year, I realized that because of the bigger size, the ornaments I had just weren’t enough to fill it all out. I needed several more, larger bulbs to make the new tree look right.

Vintage Mercury Glass Ornaments

These “vintage” mercury glass ornaments are my favorite, but I only have 12. I looked around online for more, but everything I could find was fairly small, and somewhat pricey.

Old Glass & Plastic Ornaments

That’s when I remembered this bag of old odds & ends ornaments packed away in the basement. They are pretty, but they just don’t work with the style of my tree. But, they are bigger in size, which is what my tree needed. Even though they were all kinds of bright colors, I knew I could give them a quick and easy makeover to make them fit in with my tree decor.

My ornaments were a mixture of plastic and glass, and both accepted the paint just fine, so don’t be afraid to try this technique on whatever old ornaments you have that need a makeover.

Painting Booth

Since it was a bit too cool and windy to paint outside, my husband set up this painting booth for me in the garage. It worked brilliantly!

He attached clamps to the top of the cardboard. I removed the ornament caps from the top of each one, and was able to insert a piece of slightly bent wire into the top of the ornaments to hold them on.

Hanging the wires on the clamps let me paint all sides of the ornaments easily. Some of the ornaments had glittery patterns on them, and I just painted right over them.

Rustoleum Paint

My goal was to get a mercury glass appearance to my ornaments, to mimic the ones I already had. To accomplish this, I used two colors of Rustoleum for the ornaments themselves, and a third color for the ornament caps.

I began by giving all the ornaments a very light base coat of Rustoleum Hammered Silver.

Then, while the paint was still wet, I lightly sprayed over the top of the silver with Rustoleum Forged Hammered Antique Pewter. With this color, I held my can far away, and only lightly glazed the ornaments, so as not to completely cover up the silver. This technique created the color variations found in mercury glass.

The Ornament Caps

My vintage mercury glass ornaments that I was using as my inspiratioin have oil rubbed bronze caps. To recreate this look on the project ornaments, I removed all the caps, and gave them a light spray with Rustoleum Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.

Dry Overnight

When all the paint had thoroughly dried, I popped the ornament caps back on, and they were ready to hang on the tree!

Although not true mercury glass, they are a reasonable replica and I am super happy with how they turned out!

I love the slightly speckled appearance, and subtle shine. I even like the texture of the glitter pattern that barely shows through on some.

They look so pretty hanging on my tree! They are a much better fit with the nature-y colors in my woodland themed tree, and they cost next to nothing! My only expense was the paint, and I only used a small amount, so I have plenty leftover for future projects!

PIN ME!

PIn now so you can find it later!

If you like upcycling your Christmas decor, you might also be interested in my post about Restyling Your Christmas Decor.

‘Tis the season for Christmas crafting!

Resources:

Rustoleum Hammered Silver

Rustoleum Forged Hammered Antique Pewter

Rustoleum Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze

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12 thoughts on “Christmas Bulb Upcycle with Paint

  1. Love! These remind me of ones I’ve seen at Restoration Hardware and other boutiques and I have some of that paint! Gorgeous Niky. Featuring when my party opens up tonight!

  2. Those turned out great! I made faux mercury glass ornaments last year using clear glass ornaments and spray paint inside them but it was a lengthier process than this. Pinned.

  3. Hi Niky – Fabulous idea! I never thought of doing my ornaments. We downsized to an apartment 3 years ago ( luckily our ceilings are high and we could keep our big tree) and every fixture was brushed steel…the fireplace, the door handles, etc. I had tons of everything in polished brass…so I used those paints (LOVE THEM!) and recoated lamps, tissue boxes, umbrella stand, and even a pair of Baldwin Brass candlesticks. They all turned out FABULOUS. Now I have my eye on some of our ornaments…thanks to you !

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