I do get quite a few emails from SCS users asking how I make my glass ornaments. I assume it’s because mine are snowy “all over” the inside as opposed to just having snow in the bottom. Everyone makes them a little differently but here is how I make mine:
Step 1: Prepare the glass ornament (see Step 8 for a picture). This step is optional but I think they look better with ”snow” inside them. I let the ornament dry for a couple of days to make sure the glitter doesn’t come off when I insert the acetate circle. Here’s how I do it:
- Using the flatter version of the glass ornaments from Michael’s (they are round but have two flatter sides – more like discs than balls) coat one side of the inside of the ornament with a clear-drying glue. Doesn’t matter what kind – if it’s a bit runny it will make your life easier. I squeeze a little glue (1/4 teaspoon-ish) into the mouth of the ornament and then I use a paintbrush that I’ve bent on a slight angle (using my heat gun) to spread the glue around on the inside. Once you’ve spread the glue, dump some glitter inside and shake it around to cover all the glued area. Let dry.
Step 2: Make some space and gather your supplies. Embossing powder and glitter are used for this project so move everything that you don’t want extra sparkles on! Here’s what you need:
prepared ornament (or plain if you choose not to make it snowy)
acetate circle cut to size. (I use an EK Success circle scissor cut to #62 for the small ornaments)
Stazon ink (black)
stamp of choice
versamark pen (if embossing - see steps 5 and 6)
white embossing powder (if embossing - see steps 5 and 6)
permanent markers in choice of colours
paintbrush (or pencil – but the brush does double duty)
fake snow (optional)
scrap of paper to make funnel (optional)
heat gun (if embossing - see steps 5 and 6)
Step 3: Stamp image on acetate circle using Stazon. (note: I usually attach a piece of a post it note to the circle to prevent getting too many fingerprints on the image.) Let image dry for a few minutes.
Step 4: Flip image over (so the back is facing up) and colour anything that you want to be a colour other than the ink colour or white. You can colour on the black outline a little as this is not the side you will see in the finished ornament. For my penguin image I’m going to colour the scarf pink and leave everything else as I will make the body white in a later step. Once you’re finished colouring, set aside to dry for a few minutes. (this will prevent smearing)
Step 5: Steps 5 and 6 are OPTIONAL unless you want parts of your image to be white. Still working with the BACK of the image, coat the image (including the outline) with versamark. Cover the coloured areas last as the versamark usually reactivates the ink and you will smear the colour where you don’t want it if you are not careful. For my image I covered the face and the body with versamark and then I dotted versamark on the scarf area. I then wiped the tip of the versamark pen on some white paper to remove the pink ink that came off the image. As soon as you’ve finished using the versamark, cover the entire image with white embossing powder.
Step 6: Brush any stray grains of embossing powder off the acetate and heat the image with a heat gun (embossing gun). Be careful not to overheat the image. I make sure the gun is warmed up for a minute before I aim it at the acetate. As soon as the embossing powder has melted, step away from the heat gun!
Step 7: Give the image a minute or two to cool down and then roll it up fairly tightly using a paintbrush handle or a pencil. You will roll from the back of the image so the front is facing out on the pencil. If you don’t have a thicker paintbrush, go ahead and use a pencil. Anything smaller than that will be too fussy to work with.
Step 8: Insert the paintbrush handle into the prepared glass ornament ensuring the front of the image is facing the front of the ornament. The acetate will begin to unroll inside the ornament. Use the paintbrush handle to help the acetate unroll completely. If the image unrolls on an angle just use craft tweezers to straighten the image.
Step 9: (Optional) Using a scrap of paper, roll it into a funnel and add some fake snow to the inside of the ornament. I put some on each side of the acetate circle and fill it to the bottom of my image on the front and usually just a little above that on the back to add some dimension.
Step 10: Put the cap back on the ornament and decorate it. (I usually hot glue a bow to the cap as I haven’t had any success getting bows to stick to the glass. Alternatively, you could tie ribbon to the wire hanger on the cap.) That’s it!
You don’t HAVE to do the embossing powder step. You can leave the coloured image as is and you would get more of a “stained glass” effect. I usually skip the embossing for images like trees or reindeer. Snowmen, Santa, and white-bellied penguins look waaaaaayyyyyy better if you emboss them. If you wanted to emboss a tree or reindeer the colour would “pop” more. Embossing also makes the black ink more solid.
Tip 1: Don’t try to give the image any fancy highlights (e.g. a little streak of blue around the edges of the penguin’s face and belly) It will be too frustrating to try and add the versamark without smearing the ink. Ask me how I know this!
Tip 2: When colouring the image you might want to choose a slightly brighter shade than your desired end result as the colour will not be as vibrant on the acetate (I bet you thought I was crazy when you saw the hot pink marker in step 4!)
Have fun! If you do decide to make these ornaments, drop me a line. I’d love to see your version!