How to Upcycle Old and Inexpensive Ornaments

Don't throw out ornaments you no longer love! Give them an easy update with paint. I'm sharing ideas for upcycling both old and inexpensive ornaments for a whole new look!

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Whether you're already finished decorating, or still working on it, this post is sure to give you endless inspiration for custom Christmas ornaments.

I'm always trying to save a buck, and when you see how gorgeous my painted ornaments turned out, I'm sure you'll want to try this upcycle too!

I'm sneaking this tutorial in so close to Christmas, but I had so many projects and home tours to share this year! 

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When I started shopping for Christmas this year, budget-friendly was the name of the game! I was able to accomplish this by purchasing some inexpensive ornaments and giving them a quick update with paint. I also painted some existing ornaments to make them match my decor.

Let's go!

How to Upcycle Old and Inexpensive Ornaments

Here's a look at the uninspiring ornaments I started with. The red and white ornaments were found at Walmart, the ceramic and paper mache crafts ornaments are from Hobby Lobby, and the last image shows some of the existing ornaments I upcycled.

Ornament #1

The finial ornaments from Walmart were such a cool shape, and they are covered with texture that I love. They're plastic, so easy to care for. But the color was just so blah, and the plastic wood-look tops cheapened them.

I hung them up outside on my branch-turned-painting-prop and gave them a few light coats of spray paint. I used Krylon Fusion Spanish Moss and Krylon Fusion Clamshell, both in a matte finish. Painting the entire ornament the same color (no more weird plasticy wood) elevated them. But I didn't stop there!

Once the ornaments were painted and dried, I used a tiny precision craft brush to add a little gold acrylic paint to the raised edges. As you can see, this made a huge difference and these ornaments now look high end! We won't tell anyone that they're just cheap plastic!

They look so elegant on my green and gold Christmas tree! That gold really sparkles! You can see it's not perfect (it's difficult to paint such tiny details), but the overall look is very pretty.

Ornament #2

The unfinished white ceramic ornaments from Hobby Lobby were only $1, so I bought several and simply popped the tops off and spray painted them the same green as the finial ornaments above.

But remember, my spray paint was matte, and I was wanting to create a different look for these ornaments, so I gave them a couple coats of my favorite secret weapon...this Rustoleum Triple Thick spray glaze that gives them the look of high gloss ceramics. I used this product when I made over some clearance Halloween houses into charming gingerbread cottages as well as these dollar store decoupage pumpkins I made in the fall.

The high gloss finish gives them a high end look and they can certainly hold their own with all the gold on my tree!

Ornament #3

The third inexpensive ornament I worked with was cheap paper mache ornaments from Hobby Lobby. I liked the shape and knew they would be great filled for my tree, for very little expense.

I simply spray painted them with this Rustoleum gold paint and they looked brand new! You would never guess these were just paper mache!

Ornament #4

I have owned these burgundy glass ornaments for years. They are so beautiful on their own, but always got lost on my tree. Sorry I don't have a better before picture, these were an after-thought!

I was in the midst of going through my Christmas decor and separating out items to sell or take to the thrift store, and these ornaments were in that pile when I decided to try spray painting them.

Just a couple coats of gold spray paint and they look like new ornaments! Not only that, but the bright gold shows up so much better on my Christmas tree!

For just a little time, I was able to update to use paint I already had on hand and give these ornaments a completely new life! I can't image getting rid of them now!

I hope my experience inspires you to upcycle any of your old ornaments with paint! I plan to spray paint several of my ball ornaments next year (I just ran out of time to do all the things I'd planned!)

To see more images of my pretty green and gold tree, please CLICK HERE. You might also be interested in the DIY wood finial ornaments I made to complement these green and gold ones.

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  1. Great idea Cindy. Wish I would have seen this a couple of years ago when I got rid of so many ornaments. :/ Oh well, such as life. I've pinned it though hoping to remember this next time I get the urge to purge!

  2. Cindy, this is a brillante idea. My goodness, to think of the ornaments I got rid of :(
    I def will be doing this in the future!
    Merry Christmas


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