Tuesday, November 3, 2015

DIY Handpainted Holiday Ball Ornaments

If you've been following my blog for a while, you would know I am a Christmas enthusiast. I am the crazy type who would start to plan the next year's color schemes in my head as soon as I packed away last year's tree. I then moved on to spend the rest of the year obsessing over concerns such as whether I would finally get a real tree this year; or I should relocate the tree from foyer to another room for a change; make the Christmas decor stand out versus part of the overall style of my house (like I've been doing), and the list goes on. So every year I couldn't wait for the fall to be over, not just because Christmas comes after that, but also it's my least favourite season of the year decor wise. I don't know how to incorporate all the harvest styles and woodsy colour tones into my home. One pumpkin on a pedestal? Good. A few pumpkins with dry leaves and branches? Not for me

In previous years, I would be hitting up a few of my favourite decor stores right around Halloween, in the hope that these retailers would put out their new Christmas ornaments of the year. I wanted to be among the first to claim them my precious. Since last year, my desire to create something myself for Christmas has grown stronger. And while I still love most of the one-off ornaments I collected over the years, I can no longer feel my heart racing for those store-bought pieces that are either embellished with crystals or covered in sparkle dust. I crave for something unique, clean, and maybe a little edgier and more glamorous at the same time. So this year, I've finally rolled up my sleeves and got to work. 
Picture above: my 2015 DIY hand-painted ball ornaments

Here's a list of things you'd need for this fun DIY project:

- Plain white porcelain ball ornaments: I used the 80mm ones. You can get them from pretty much any store that sells Christmas ornaments. 
- Masking tape, self adhesive reinforcements (for polka dot patterns). 
- Pencil: for tracing or sketching patterns.
- Black Sharpies.
- Leafing pen.
- Toilet paper core: cut in half to be used as ball stands. 

For this Pierre Frey Kubus-inspired black and gold block pattern below, I first used the masking tape to tape up the midsection. This is also the most invisible part of a ball ornament. I then used a pencil to trace around the tape then immediately removed the tape to start drawing the diamond patterns inside the traced band. I started with the black diamonds, waited for them to dry, then used the leafing pen to fill in the gold ones. Easy peasy. 

Drawing on a slippery globe was no walk in the park. The first couple of ones were challenging but once I was over the learning curve, I became more confident and started to go freehand with Sharpie. This one below was an example, inspired by a Tasmanian Berber rug pattern. I used Sharpie all the way without any pencil guidance. 

And this one below is probably my favourite, a Sharpie and leafing pen hand-painted ornament à la Kelly Wearstler's Channels pattern. I actually like all the uneven strokes - they make it perfectly imperfect to me in a very organic way. 

The other side of the same ornament, in a completely different screen patterns. 

This one below was my first attempt. 

I am sure you would recognize this one, inspired by the ever-popular Brunschwig & Fils' Les Touches fabric. 

I hand painted a total of 15 ornaments (still have one to go and I am sure inspiration will come :)), and these 4 are my favourites. 

The easiest ones were the tiny polka dot ones, time-consuming but very straightforward. All I did was to cover the balls with self-adhesive reinforcements and fill in the centres with either black Sharpie or leafing pen. The most satisfying ones were the two-toned Channels and the Tasmanian tribal pattern. The one with the most unexpected outcome (in a good way) went to the Pierre Frey Kubus fabric pattern. I had the highest expectation for the striped à la Kate Spade, but it turned out to be the most difficult to draw. 

It was such a fun project. Now go make your own.:)