Heirloom Handmade Glitter Ornaments – a Tutorial

Basket of handmade glitter ornaments

Handmade ornaments are a staple in just about every crafter’s repertoire. Other holidays might go un-crafted, but it’s the rare crafter who doesn’t whip up at least one or two Christmas ornaments each year, even if only to give them away as gifts. Let these glimmery beauties be this year’s offerings. And who knows – they’re so quick and easy to make, not to mention brilliantly sparkly, you might want to make enough for an entire tree!

The secret ingredient from the cleaning cupboard

The list of supplies is short, and the first item is the biggest surprise: floor polish. Yep, the stuff grandma used on her wooden floors to make them gleam. And if you ran around in your socks, odds are you probably pulled a “fast one” a time or two as well. I use Mop & Glo, which is still available at WalMart. (For the ornaments, not for my floors. Yeah… no.) It’s cheap, and the small bottle will last you the rest of your crafting life. Bring your friends – it’ll last the rest of their lives too. Because a little goes a long, long way.

The full supply list looks like this:

  • Floor polish (Mop & Glo)
  • Clear glass ornaments
  • Small plastic container (for the spills)
  • Paper cone (for the glitter)
  • Good quality fine glitter (I use Art Glitter, considered by many to be the BEST)
  • Ribbon
Supplies for handmade glitter ornaments
It doesn’t take much to make sparkly beauties
A little floor polish in the ornament

Step 1 – Coat the inside… gently

Hold the ornament over the plastic container and pour a little floor polish into the ornament. About a tablespoon should do it. Then gently swirl it around the ornament. Don’t shake it. The objective here is to coat the inside, but you don’t want air bubbles. Not even one. Air bubbles will prevent the glitter from sticking, leaving holes in the sparkly goodness. Holes are good in Swiss cheese. They’re bad in glitter ornaments.

Draining the excess floor polish into the bottle

Step 2 – Drain the excess

Pour the excess back into the floor polish bottle (remove the cap first – it’s much easier that way). Turn the ornament as you pour out the excess, coating the neck of the ornament in the process. We want glitter all the way up.

Close up of a cluster of bubbles in the floor polish

Step 3 – Check for bubbles

This is a cluster of air bubbles – bad news. The good news is that they’ll slowly slide down and out of the ornament, most of the time. If they don’t, just add a little more polish, gently swirl again, then drain it out, carrying the bubbles with the excess polish.

Paper funnel in the neck of the ornament, ready to receive glitter

Step 4 – Place the funnel

Now it’s time for the bling. Place the paper funnel in the neck of the ornament and carefully pour the glitter in. Pour quite a bit. Don’t be chintzy here. You want a thick coat of glitter inside at first, though most of it will come back out.

Swirling the glitter inside the ornament

Step 5 – Begin the swirl!

OK, maybe that was a little dramatic, but this is where the magic begins to happen. This kind of sparkle never ceases to delight a glitter girl.

The glitter has almost completed coated the inside of the ornament

This is a deliberate process, so don’t rush it. Twirl the ornament slowly and steadily, coating the inside over and over, working the glitter towards the neck. If you see any thin spots, go over them again with the glitter.

Tapping the excess glitter out gently onto a folded piece of paper

Step 6 – Tap the excess glitter out

Once again, a gentle touch is the name of the game. The floor polish is still damp, so you don’t want damp clumps of glitter popping out. This is also the reason you don’t remove the excess directly into the container of glitter. Pour the glitter onto a scrap piece of folded paper and then dump THAT into the container of glitter.

Let rest for a few minutes (make another ornament!), then repeat Step 6 very gently to remove any remaining glitter, and voila, you’re done!

The finished ornament
The finished piece

Optional – decorate as desired

These handmade ornaments don’t require a lot of additional decoration if any. I find ribbon adds a soft note to the brittle texture of glass and crisp visual texture of the glitter. Luxurious silk and fluid seam binding make ideal multi-loop bows, but any ribbon will do – use what you have in your stash. Now’s the time to pull out your bits and bobs. Small jingle bells, old costume jewelry, break it out and break it up – dress these globes up to make them truly special, one of a kind and your own brand of “heirloom.” You can be sure no two will ever be alike!

A couple of notes:

  1. About the glitter – I don’t get a commission for recommending Art Glitter, but I do it anyway because I think it’s the best glitter on the market. It’s light as air, and the sparkle is second to none. You want a whisper-light glitter for this project – heavy glitter will eventually fall off the sides. Light glitter will last much longer. And sparklier glitter… need I say more?
  2. Treat these handmade ornaments with love and care. If you do, they will last for years and years, just like “real” heirloom ornaments. Some of the glitter may come loose with rough handling, but I made the ornaments below eight years ago and they’re still in great shape with full glitter coatings.
Handmade glitter ornaments from nearly 10 years ago
8 years old now and and still going strong

Treat your ornament well, and they’ll reward you with years of sparkly shimmer.

Now it’s your turn!

Scoot into your craft space and create some sparkly, glittery fun! Tap into your creative genius and whip up some handmade ornaments, then share them with us on our Facebook page. Share any stories that go along with the process, because everyone’s got a story, and we’d love to hear yours!

Inspire us! Until then, happy glittery crafting!

Basket of handmade glitter ornaments
A basket of glittery goodness

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Hi, I'm Shea!

Hi, I'm Shea!

Do you prefer handmade to store bought? Would you rather make something than buy it? If you want to tap into your inner creative genius and say, "Yes, I made that," stick with me. From greeting cards to soap to old-fashioned desserts "from my mother's recipe box," (sprinkled with tales of life as an almost-senior), you'll learn that handmade beats the socks off store bought!

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