I would love to introduce you to Melissa who is a professional crafter and blogger at Shoestring Mag. and also works for Home Depot. She is sharing a great post today for this holiday season!
Everything "ombre" – a gradient effect of various shades of a single color from dark to light – has been really popular in design for the past few years, so I decided to use craft paint in four different shades of blue as the base color for my set of four light bulb ornaments. By adding fine glitter and unbleached baker's twine, I brought these simple glass light bulbs from the recycling bin to Pinterest reuse gold.
Any shape of light bulb will work, but I really liked the chandelier/candelabra shaped light bulbs with their bent tips to mix and match and drop in between branches with my existing collection of round ornaments.
Here's what you'll need:
- Light bulbs (any shape or size)
- Acrylic craft paint in various shades of the same color, dark to light
- Sponge brush
- Fine glitter
- Paper plates
- Hair dryer
- Baker's twine
1. First, clean the outside of your ornaments with rubbing alcohol and dry with newspaper to remove any dust or other particles. (Newspaper works better than paper towels or cloth because it doesn't leave anything behind – a little trick I learned working in restaurants when I was a teen!)
2. Next, using a sponge brush, paint one of your ornaments in the darkest shade of color, working from the metal light bulb base to the tip. When the entire light bulb is covered evenly, sprinkle glitter to your desired coating all the way around.
3. Then, while still holding the metal light bulb base between your fingers, dry your ornament with a hair dryer on high heat. Hold about six inches away from your light bulb and rotate to dry evenly, for about 30 seconds.
4. Lastly, when your light bulb ornament is completely dry, knot a 6" to 8" length of baker's twine (or any other string or yarn that you like) around the metal base of the light bulb, knotting once – and tightly. Then knot the other end to create an ornament loop, and voila!
5. Repeat with additional light bulbs with your lighter shades, together creating the ombre effect when they are hung from the tree.
Want some more unique ideas for using old light bulbs (or clear glass ornaments) to create thrifty Christmas treasures? Here are three more of my favorites:
Bud Vase or Terrarium Ornaments
In this tutorial, I hollowed out an old light bulb to use as a bud vase or terrarium. I secured a washer to the bottom so that it would stand upright on a table, but you could easily just secure baker's twine to the top to hang these on the tree! Instead of water and fresh cut flowers, you could also fill the inside of the light bulb with moss and miniatures to create little DIY terrariums – you could even just fill them up with dried flowers or feathers or other tiny natural items. Just be careful of the weight of your finished "ornament" or you might overburden your tree branch and end up with a mess of shattered glass and filling on your floor!
Wish Lists & Favorite Passages
Another great idea for upcycling old light bulbs into unique Christmas ornaments is to either cover them or fill them with a child's list for Santa or the paperback pages from a favorite holiday tome. To fill them, hollow out the light bulb using this tutorial (for the bud vase), cut down the wish list or book pages as necessary for the size of your bulb, and then roll it tightly to slip into the neck of the bulb. To cover a light bulb in sentimental scrap paper, cut your list or book pages into small pieces (1" to 2" strips or triangles work best for round bulbs) and then paste them onto the bulb with a sponge brush using Mod Podge or school glue. Layer until you have the entire bulb covered and dry with a hair dryer on high heat (about 1-3 minutes, depending on thickness) or set to air dry for at least an hour before hanging on the tree. I recently upcycled a book of vintage sheet music into a table runner and am looking forward to decoupaging the remaining pages onto some globe bulbs leftover from my bud vase project!
Chili Mix or Cocoa
Another favorite "family heirloom" DIY ornament idea is to fill a clear glass ornament with spice mix or cocoa mix and write something cute/clever on the front with metallic paint marker. I created these punny "It's Chili" ornaments for friends, co-workers, and host gifts last holiday season using the dry spice blend for my popular quinoa chili, and have also filled them with gourmet cocoa powder then topped with tiny mini marshmallows with the words "COZY" or "CHRISTMAS CHEER" written on the front. To make them fancy and festive, tie 6 to 8" strips of satin or grosgrain ribbon instead of baker's twine as your ornament hangers.
Melissa Massello creates awesome DIY upcycled Christmas projects and shares her experiences with The Home Depot and her site Shoestringmag.com. Looking to do your own upcycle, project? Visit homedepot.com to find the materials along with Christmas ornaments to create your own decorations.
Thanks so much Melissa for stopping in and sharing these ideas with us!