DIY | Hand Painted Dot Ornaments

So some of you may have seen around these parts some painted ornaments. I promised I'd do a post dedicated to these little beauties, so here it is! My boyfriend's younger sister commented saying she thought I bought them - now if that isn't a compliment I don't know what is! (PS - she's SUPER artsy, so that's a huge compliment coming from her). Over the past few years I want to say that dot painted ornaments have become my thing. I love sitting down and just crafting, it's such a great therapeutic thing to do. The original inspiration came a few years back when I had seen on Free People some bohemian-inspired dot painted ornaments. I'm pretty sure they were selling for $15-$20 and teenage me was not about to drop that kind of $$$ on them. I took it upon myself to try DIY-ing them and really came to enjoy doing so. I usually try and keep one or two ornaments each year just because it's fun to see how my style has changed over the years. I definitely had a mad cringe looking back at my old ones because what I thought previously was great is no longer the same (lol). More on these later.

I think I may have mentioned previously that I'm not a big gift giver/receiver. I think it's partially due to the fact that I like practical things, and I usually don't like getting random gifts that just end up sitting around. I do think it is nice to give/receive things, which is why I particularly like to give hand-made ornaments. I go in waves with these DIY crafts - I can crank a ton out in one year, and another year I can go dry and not even pick up a single one to paint. I think receiving handmade ornaments is extremely touching and it's quite exciting to be able to pull them out each year and remember who gave you each one. I'll admit that of the best feelings around the holidays is getting a quick photo from a friend I'd given an ornament to years ago! It's also a nice feeling to know that those around you are genuinely enjoying your gift.


I was on Pinterest a few weeks back and came across some mandala dot painting crafts. This definitely inspired me with some new patterns and I was off to do so again. I started further googling and it became just a long pinning craze of patterns. It's safe to say that this ignited a dying fire inside of me and I waited until the weekend to run to Michael's (a crafting store for anyone who isn't familiar), and went a little HAM. (PS - Guys, mandala painting has become an actual thriving business on Etsy - I missed out.)

Michael's was having a huge huge Christmas sale and most everything was 50% off. On top of that I was able to find a coupon online for an extra 20% off my entire purchase. SCORE. I hoarded and bought 30+ ornaments to decorate. (TBH, I don't even have 30 people to give ornaments to, but that is besides the point.) For all of my ornaments, a few new acrylic paints, and some little side decorations for myself, my total probably stayed around $25 or less. STEAL.


I got ornaments in varying sizes: mini ball shaped ornaments, larger ball shaped ornaments, and even large flat shaped ornaments. I like to get the plastic ornaments that come in packs - but make sure that these aren't the soft plastic ones that can squeeze (personally I find those ones to be a bit too cheap.) Have fun and be creative, go for any shape or size! Part of me almost wished I had picked up some matte black ornaments as I think some patterns would have showed up much better, but they were a bit more pricey and I kinda like the clear ones. 

For my actual paint I actually got asked if I used regular paint or even nail polish. I use regular old acrylic paints - I had a ton from when I was in high school and I've accumulated quite the collection of paint colors over the year. As you can see, I've filled up an entire box. Of course some paints have gone bad over time (they're super goopy or dried out), so I had to throw some out. It's been a few years since I last painted so my taste in colors has changed. Most of my old ornaments ranged from bright shades like lime green, royal blue, orange, pink, and red. I'm pretty sure I even had a few bright yellows thrown in the mix. Nowadays I'm liking the more neutral shades, so I pulled out a lot more burnt orange, wine, maroon, blue, and light green/blue shades for more classic looks. 


For the actual dots themselves I actually rarely use the actual brush portion of my paintbrushes lol. I actually prefer to use the backs as they're much more steady and I can get a consistent shape each time. I started researching how others went about their dot painting methods and found that others similarly used items found around their household: QTips, needles, pens, etc. I will admit that dot painting does take an ample amount of patience as well as a steady hand. Adding a little more pressure can help make a dot appear larger, while lightly dabbing a dot can give you those smaller dots. 

I actually like to work on a few ornaments at a time as it allows me to cover as much ground while allowing paint on other ornaments to properly dry before continuing work. This time around I went for more intricate patterns with lots of color overlapping - this definitely took a bit more time so it helped that I was able to work on a few at once. It also helps you use paint more efficiently as you can use colors across different ornaments as the main/minor paint colors. I'll usually remove the little silver tops so I can flip the ornament on the flat edge to sit on my table while drying. 

The best part about working with these ornaments is that it's easy to fix any mistakes. Simply wipe the acrylic off while it's still wet with a QTip, or wait for the area to dry and simply chip it off with your nail. Easy. QTips are probably my secret weapon as they allow me to quickly wipe up any mistakes, whether that be an odd shaped dot or two dots colliding and becoming one. Toothpicks also help as a way to etch away any minor mistakes.


At the same time I know that crafting isn't for everyone, but it is still fun to make personalized ornaments. And who doesn't want a one-of-a-kind ornament? If you're not artistically gifted in any way, getting these DIY ornaments and filling them with anything from glitter, to confetti, to dried plants is a great idea! I've seen similar ornaments to the above going for $5+ per ornament online - which is crazy. You can definitely get a 6-pack of ornaments, a few containers of glitter, and then some for less than then price of one. Just get a little bit creative! And if anything, just find some inspiration online via Pinterest. (Seriously though, what can't you find on there?) Dump the glitter or props into the ornament and voila - you have a cute little DIY ornament ready to go!


Do you like to get crafty around the holidays? If so, what do you usually like to make?