Make: Modern Paint-Dipped Ornaments

Do your kids like to have a holiday space that’s all their own to decorate? A miniature kids’ tree is a great way to deck the halls without going overboard, while also working some seasonal craft activities into the schedule!

Forgoing a new set of storebought balls or wooden garlands, we made this set of brightly colored paint-dipped ornaments, and they became instant favorites. Paired with twinkling lights and our DIY felt garland, the kids’ tree emanates the warmest handmade-holiday vibes – just from a couple of simple projects that came together so quickly and easily!

These lovely, modern DIY paint-dipped clay ornaments are simple enough for kids to make, but super chic decor and a fun holiday craft project! | via barley & birch

These festive DIY clay ornaments look tres chic hanging on the tree, but they’re also a great simple clay project for kids. The clay portion doesn’t require much more work than rolling with hands and simple cutting. Younger kids may need a little help making a hole and threading it to hang, but other than that they’ll find it easy to achieve a cool-looking set of homemade keepsake ornaments.

To make your own paint-dipped ornaments you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains either our own printable products, or Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*


  • Polymer clay (we used silver Sculpey) air-dry clay, or similar
  • Acrylic paint
  • Wire ornament hangers (like this), embroidery floss, ribbon, leather cording (like this), or similar to hang

DIY Paint-Dipped Ornament Instructions:

Roll clay into cylinders

On a clean, flat surface, use the palms of your hands to roll your clay into cylinders. Ours varied in length from about 3 inches to 6 inches, and were roughly 1-inch in diameter.

Make a hole for hanging

Read the detailed instructions on your clay package to see if your specific type/brand of clay expands during the drying process. This is important to know before you make the holes at the tops of your cylinders for threading and hanging.

Our Sculpey hardly expands at all when baked dry, so we made small holes about 1-inch from the top of each ornament with a large sewing needle. If you are using a type of clay that expands, you may need to use something larger than a needle to make the hole in your ornaments, as it may shrink and close up if too small.

Bake or let dry

Follow the drying instructions for your clay. Our Sculpey was ready for the next step immediately after coming out of the oven and cooling. Some clays need 24-48 hours to fully air dry.

Thread for hanging

Thread a 6-inch piece of embroidery floss, thin ribbon, leather tie, or similar through the hole on your ornament. Tie at the top, leaving a long loop for hanging.

Create a “drip dry station”

We are going to hang these up to drip dry, so before you start dipping your ornaments in paint, you’ll want to have a ” drying station” set up and ready to go so you can hang them up immediately.
Thread a loop of embroidery floss or ribbon through the hole in each clay cylinder, dip in paint, then hang your paint-dipped ornaments up to drip dry. | via barley & birch
For ours, we simply placed a long ruler on top of two glasses, with a sheet of paper underneath to catch the paint. You can engineer yours any way you like!

Dip in paint!

Now comes the fun part – adding color to your ornaments! Pick your color palette and dip!

For some of our ornaments, we used two colors of paint. For a layered paint effect, simply dip in one color, let drip dry, then dip in the next color.

Suspend and let drip dry

Hang your paint-dipped ornaments and let them dry completely. We gave ours a full 24-hours before handling to ensure the paint had completely dried.

These are such a great gift for grandparents or friends, they don’t require costly supplies or lots of time, and they make a bright bold statement on any tree!

These lovely, modern DIY paint-dipped clay ornaments are simple enough for kids to make, but super chic decor and a fun holiday craft project! | via barley & birch

If you’re a fan of these DIY ornaments, you might also want to check out our DIY paper peace and love wreaths, handmade patterned pine tree garland, or 3D paper advent tree.

For more simply-made holiday activities designed just for kids, be sure to visit our list of kids’ holiday crafts from everyday supplies!

These lovely, modern DIY paint-dipped clay ornaments are simple enough for kids to make, but super chic decor and a fun holiday craft project! | via barley & birch

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

Sign up for the newsletter!

Enter your email address below to have our latest kids projects delivered right to your inbox!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *