Hand-decorated ornaments add character to your tree and become heirlooms in future years. These marbleized glass ornaments are so easy to make, the entire family can join in the fun. By swirling wet paint inside clear glass balls and letting the colors mix, every ornament will turn out differently – but they’ll all be beautiful and will create great memories.

Things You’ll Need

Clear glass ball ornaments, 3 1/2-inch diameter
Acrylic paint in squeeze bottles
Small paper cups
Wood stirrers

Step 1: Remove the Ornament Caps
Carefully remove the ornament caps from the glass balls. They slide off easily, but you want to be sure not to break the glass.

Step 2: Dilute the Paint
Acrylic paint fresh straight from the bottle tends to be a little thick. Diluting it with water makes it easier to swirl around inside the ball. Squeeze about a tablespoon of paint inside a paper cup, add about a half a teaspoon of water, and stir with a wooden stick. The consistency should be similar to melted ice cream. Add more paint if the mixture looks too runny. Choose two to three colors of paint for each ball.

Step 3: Pour Paint Into the Ball
Pour about a dime-size amount of paint into the ball. You can use the rim of the opening to steady the paper cup as you pour. Start with your lightest color first.

Then slowly rotate the ball to allow the paint to flow in different directions.

Step 4: Add the Other Colors
Continue with the second color, pouring a dime-sized amount of paint into the ball and swirling it around. Then add the third color in the same way.

As the colors mix, a marble pattern emerges. The thicker your paint, the more distinct your colors will be. The thinner it is, the more blended they become. Keep rotating the ball until the entire surface of the ball is covered. Add more paint if there are empty areas.

Step 5: Shake Out Excess Paint
Because the paint is in a closed environment, it will take longer to dry if there is a puddle of paint inside the ball. Shake out any excess paint, using some old newspaper to catch the drips.

Step 6: Dry for At Least 24 Hours
Place the ornaments on newspaper to dry for at least 24 hours. Position them so that the openings point down to allow any extra paint to drain. As the paint dries, the colors will continue to blend, creating a beautiful marble effect.

Step 7: Re-Insert the Ornament Caps
Carefully place the ornament caps back on the ball ornaments, and you’re done. Notice the variations in the marbling effect. The ornaments with the the solid sections of color were created with thicker paint, while the ones with more diffuse marbling were made with thinner paint. These ornaments look beautiful on a tree, but they also make an impressive display when placed in a decorative bowl.