DIY Watercolor Paper Ornaments

At home, it was always a tradition to decorate the tree while eating M&Ms and listening to Christmas music. And with tons of ornaments gathered over the years, it usually took a few hours! From gifted ornaments to first Christmas teddy bears, and the precious little homemade trinkets my parents got far too many of, there was seldom empty space on our Christmas tree. There were popsicle stick reindeer, and rice wreaths, and handprints galore!  And NOW, since me and my roommate/sister have our own tree (snagged on Craigslist for quite a discount by the way), the ornament making has commenced once again! As cheaply and simply as possible…

This first DIY is pretty basic, but could be adapted in so many ways! I think it would be totally great for kids too, because they probably have just about as much fun experimenting as I do! There are a few fun techniques we used, but you could do anything you’d like!

You will need:
Watercolor paper (we used this 9 x 12, 140 lb weight Canson brand)
Watercolor paints
A ruler
A circular object roughly 2.5-3” in diameter
Gold curling ribbon and scissors
Creativity and whatever other supplies your heart desires! (Our additional supplies were gold acrylic paint and cookie cutters.)

The basic process:
Measure and divide your watercolor paper into twelve 3” squares, paint the paper, trace your circles on the back, and cut out the circles. Punch a hole near the top. Fold a 7” piece of ribbon in half, and feed through the hole. Then feed the loose ends of the ribbon through the loop created by the fold, to make a somewhat flat knot resembling an ornament hanger. Tie another basic knot at the top of the ribbon so that your ornament can be hung from the tree! If your ribbon is only shiny on one side, follow the pictures above to keep the shiny side facing outward.

Now here are a few painting techniques we used:

Pick 4 simple patterns, and using a very small brush, paint each in 3 different shades, as shown above. This is obviously up to your discretion, but I really loved the cohesion continuing patterns and colors brought to our little tree!

Create an ombre wash by using more saturated paint at the bottom, and adding water as you move upward. This may take a little practice but never fear, you can always go solid or embrace the messy. I used the same technique of the three different colors, because I wasn’t sure I could extend the ombre across the width of the page! Then add patterns similar to those above with gold acrylic paint or liquid leaf! (The patterns also hide the fact that my ombre is pretty subpar ha!)

Or experiment with other gradients by mixing paint colors! This is actually way easier than the ombre and almost always comes out really pretty!

Last but not least, we used the initial painting techniques then cut out different fun Christmas shapes! Make sure the size of you initial squares (and therefore areas of pattern) are still big enough, paint, then trace your shapes on the back using Christmas cookie cutters! Cut from the paper, punch, and tie in the original manner!

As you can see, these ornaments come out a little crafty and definitely homemade, but they totally work for our simple, whimsical, and surprisingly coordinated approach to our tree! Plus talk about an inexpensive project and easy storage! (I’d rather spend my money on all the cute gifts I plan on making my sisters!) If you try this DIY out, tag me on Instagram or leave a link so I can see what painting techniques you experimented with! :D

What traditions do you have for decorating the tree?

Stay lovely,

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