Every holiday season you'll find me combing the aisles of stores like Target, Walmart, and Dollar Stores searching for inexpensive Christmas decor that I can upgrade or deconstruct. A lot of it ends up being used as gift toppers but I'm always happy to add to my ornament collection as well. The problem with cheap holiday merchandise, however, is that it tends to look cheap - especially the plastic or glittered items. So here's a quick way to upgrade the pieces that show promise but could benefit from a little tweaking.
I'm all about glitter and a lot of the inexpensive, colorful ornaments are just fine the way they are. When it comes to silver or gold, however, I find most of them tend to look cheap and don't mesh with my more expensive ornaments. But if you find a shape you like, it's easy enough to change the look. My secret weapons - spray adhesive and better glitter.
Working with one side at a time, I give a quick spray of adhesive to the ornaments and then sprinkle the new glitter right on top of the old. The type of glitter to use depends on the look you're going for. If you want to retain most of the color and simply add dimension, try using an iridescent glitter. If you want to keep fine details but tone down the color, use a fine textured, opaque glitter in a lighter shade than the original ornament. And if you want a truly vintage feel, use glass glitter (Though keep in mind that glass glitter tends to soften fine details, so get the finest glass glitter you can find. Coarse glass glitter works better on pieces without a lot of detail.)
When I'm not immersed in glitter, you'll usually find me gravitating toward homier materials, such as felt. Felt ornaments can get a little pricey but plastic ones can blend in effortlessly if you embellish them with flocking powder. For the snowflake shown here, I took a plastic ornament that I found at the dollar store ($1 for two), gave it a spritz of adhesive and sprinkled it with white flocking powder instead of glitter. The finished ornament doesn't even look like plastic, making it a nice complement to these handcrafted felt ornaments.
Before and Afters:
My lighting wasn't the best this weekend so the nuances of color and texture aren't as clear as I'd like them to be, but I think you'll still get the general idea:
You can find spray adhesive (a little goes a long way so you'll get a lot of mileage out of a single can), Martha Stewart Crafts glitter (both opaque and iridescent) and flocking powder at Michaels stores, as well as through online sources.
I also particularly like the Powderz line of glitter, available at Confetti.com. If you're looking for glass glitter, good sources are Meyer Imports, Art Institute Glitter, and D. Blumchen and Company.