Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hand Painted Glass Ornaments

If you could not tell by the other posts on this blog, I really like to create original items for gifts for my family.  With that in mind, I made my parents hand painted Christmas ornaments a few years back.

To make both ornaments, I used acrylic enamel paints which are especially designed for glass and ceramics, and once they set (it takes 3 weeks at room temperature) the paint will stay attached to the glass.  When Painting glass, make sure to wipe the glass with rubbing alcohol and try not to touch it after that.  This will get rid of any oils on the glass and help the paint adhere better.

Saint Louis Skyline Ornament:

The first ornament I painted was of the St. Louis skyline.  I moved to Saint Louis for graduate school and when I decided to make ornaments for my parents for Christmas, I made him one of the Saint Louis arch with the buildings in the background.

photo credit:
When making this ornament, I referred to the picture of the skyline that I have posted below.  If you are a novice painter like myself, painting on glass is a little bit difficult, especially with the small brushes necessary for the details.  For both this ornament and the ornament below, I had to ignore my natural tendency to be a perfectionist and just let the paint do what it wanted, with a little bit of guidance from me.

For the Saint Louis ornament, I first sponged on a blue background for the sky behind the buildings and painted some or the same color blue below what would be the future water line for the Mississippi.  I then painted the buildings and the building shadows on the river in black.  As the second to last step, I added the arch in silver (it turned out a bit thick, but still okay).  Last, I added on the "water line" in silver and lightly brushed some silver over the Mississipi to make it look more like a river.

Burano glass ornament:

A few years ago, my mom and I travelled to Europe.  We went to Greece, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany.  One of our favorite stops Burano, a small island near Venice.  This island is known for its lace making, but when we got there, we were in for a sight.  Every building was painted a different vibrant color.  The houses all had white windowsills and black shutters.  It was extremely pretty and quaint.

To commemorate our trip and turn my memories into something permanent, I decided to make my mother's ornament to look like a canal in Burano. Similar to the Saint Louis ornament, I first started by sponging on some light blue for the sky.

I then painted the blue canal and the grey ground and let those dry.  After this, I started with the houses, making each house a different color in rectangles and giving a few a third level for a window.  At this point, I had to just let go and know that everything was not going to look perfect and that my mom would like it no matter what.  :)  I painted white rectangles for doors and windows, let them dry, and then filled in the doors and windows with black.  I painted the roofs of the house varying shades from brown to brownish black.  I also docked some boats in the canal and added the church's bell tower (which turned out rather well, I must say :)).

The paint will dry to the touch in 1-2 hours.  For the enamel to permanently set, I let both ornaments dry for the required three weeks.  I think they were hits at Christmas that year.

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