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Turn Old Holiday Cards into Glittery Decor!

Christmas time is the perfect time of year to do messy, glittery projects around the house. You can always blame the lingering glitter on your aunt who sent you that glittery card, or whoever wrapped their gifts in glitter paper, haha!

It seems we all have just a little more time on our hands this year, thanks to Covid, so why not spend some time reducing holiday waste and making something sparkly out of all those holiday cards? I remember my mom making these decorative balls out of old Christmas cards, and had one of hers in my decorations, so I thought I’d deconstruct it and make a couple of my own with an old stack of cards from previous years! My soon-to-be teenager Sam even helped me out with cutting, scoring, folding and gluing. This is a great project to do with your kids at any age. Little ones can help cut or tear the fronts of the cards off and recycle the backs. They can also help with the tracing of the patterns, and if they’re good with scissors, cutting out circles! Here’s how to make them!

Tools & Supplies Needed:

  • Template (see next step!)
  • Pile of holiday cards – You’ll need to make 20 circles to create one ball.
  • Cardboard – any thick stock will do. You can even use a holiday card back, or a cereal box from your recycle bin!
  • Scissors
  • Ballpoint pen or nail – for scoring the cards to create crisp folds
  • Glue – Any ol’ white school glue works, though thicker tacky glue will drip less
  • String, yarn, etc to hang with
  • GLITTER! duh!!!

1. Make a template.

I’ve made this SUPER easy for you…simply download and print this template I’ve created for you, below!

Cut out the circle and the triangle, lay it on your piece of cardboard, and use them to trace a pattern on the cardboard. Cut those out so you have a cardboard circle and triangle, as shown in the photo above. This is scaled to create about a 7″ diameter ball. If you like, you can scale these up or down to change the size of your ball!

2.Cut circles out of holiday cards

Next, lay your cardboard circles on the front of your cards, trace them, and cut them out. You’ll need 20 circles to make one ball. This is a great place to involve kids. You can have them start by tearing the cards in half and saving the fronts. Photo cards don’t work well because of their glossy surface, so we only use the paper greeting cards for these!

3. Score the triangular folds

Take one of your card circles and flip it upside down. Now take your triangle template and position it so that all 3 points are touching the edge of the circle. Here’s where you’ll use the nail…but it doesn’t have to be a nail. A ballpoint pen works, a letter opener, a toothpick, a fork, whatever…just something strong and relatively pointy. What we’re doing here is scoring the card, so that you’ll get perfectly straight, crisp folds. Press and run your nail or whatever tool along the three edges of the triangle. Put a piece of cardboard or paper underneath so you don’t scratch or write on the table! This is my son doing this part…

4. Fold

Now, flip your circle back over and fold towards the printed sides. Notice how nice it folds after you’ve scored it!

5. Glue 5 Circles together to form the top.

Put some craft glue on one of the flaps.

Glue together 5 pieces to create a domed, round top for your ball. Clothespins or chip clips work great to hold the together while they dry! Before you totally glue them all together, loop a piece of string, yarn or ribbon through the center point to hang it with. You can tie a knot here to hold it in, or just use some glue and/or tape inside to hold your string.

6. Repeat to create the bottom, and make a strip for the middle.

Now that you have the top made, do the same thing again to create the bottom. You should have two domed pieces made of 5 cards each. Next, glue 10 more together in a straight row, as shown above. This will be the middle of your ball.

7. Assemble the Ball

Take your strip of 10 cards, shape it into a ring and glue as shown above. As you can see here, I am impatient so I used a little tape on the inside to hold these together while they dry!

Now, glue on your top (above) and your bottom (below)!

8. Add Glitter!

And now for the BEST PART….the GLITTER!! When I’m using loose glitter like this, I work over a folded piece of paper, poster board, etc. This project is small enough that a file folder worked great! That way, you can catch all the loose glitter in the folder or paper, and use the crease to dump it neatly back into your glitter jar, leaving not a speck to be found. Hehe…

Doing one seam at a time, apply glue to the edge. Here’s where a thicker tacky glue might be helpful as it will be less drippy. But, you’ll want to get your glue on, and then quickly pour glitter on it before it drips away on you, which is why I apply glue and then glitter to one “rib” at a time…

This part may require some breaks to let the glue dry. I start with the top ribs, then go around to the side strip. Then, I let it sit and dry before turning it over and doing the bottom ones.

Notice my orange file folder catching every single speck of glitter?! Amazing, huh? We don’t have ANY loose glitter specks around our house…nope, not a one! 😉

Done!

Once they dry, hang them wherever you wish! These are pretty and simple, a fun way to get your kids into recycling, and a great way to honor all those friends and family who have taken the time to send you cards. If you can find glue that will work well, you can even try making these with photo cards, and have all your friends and family’s faces on them! And, like I said, you can even shrink down the template to create smaller ornaments, which would also enable you to get several circles out of one card.

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Christmas Cartoon Windows: Interior vs Exterior Paint Jobs

In my family we like to kick off the Christmas season by decorating our tree, enjoying a plate of Christmas cookies and watching our first Christmas movie of the season! I have a stack of our favorites…Rudolf, Frosty, the Charlie Brown Christmas, Home Alone, the Grinch, Elf, etc! This year the boys picked The Christmas Story and we plan to work our way through them all this month!

I needed to create some sample windows to take photos, so I can show my clients visually what the difference is between windows painted from the interior vs exterior. So, I incorporated some of our favorite “Christmas specials” into my own home windows this past weekend! I still plan to add a few more characters in the coming weeks, but here’s what I have done so far! I also did a little bit of experimenting with glitter paint!

Are you unsure whether you want your windows painted from the inside or the outside? Ask your artist as they may have recommendations based on various factors. If you want it to grab attention from the outside, exterior painting may attract the most attention. However, if your windows are not on ground level where an artist can easily reach them, it’s too cold to work outside, or you’re worried about weather damaging them before you want them gone, an interior painting may be better. Read on to see some visual examples of the differences!

Frosty!! Painted on the exterior.
Santa!! Painted on the exterior.
Rudolf and Hermie! Painted on the exterior. The eggshell paint makes the designs really pop over the glossy window.
Max and the Grinch! Painted on the interior! You can see some reflections here in the glass.

Both interior and exterior paintings have their pro’s and con’s. As you can see below, the Grinch & Max aren’t QUITE as bright and bold as the others, because the window is still creating reflections in front of the paint. The other characters, however, block reflections because they are painted over the exterior glass. However, interior paintings can be a bit more interesting viewed from the inside too, not just the outside. They can also give a fun stained glass effect at night when the light shines through.

Interior paint job (grinch on left) vs exterior paint jobs (frosty, Santa, Rudolf and Hermie on right)

Painting on the OUTSIDE to be viewed from the OUTSIDE

Painting the exterior is generally my preferred method…when the temperatures are nice. Minnesota’s winter temperatures, however, do not play well with paint or liquids in general, not to mention the physical toil it takes on the artist. You have to wear more layers, bring more gear and take more time to create the same design you could paint in the summer. However, we had a nice 50 degree day last weekend, which was perfect to squeeze in this exterior paint job before the temps dropped! Below you can see the process I use for an exterior paint job.

I start with a white base, then add main colors, and finish off with outlines and highlights.

When I paint on the exterior, I start with a white base. This is what really makes the colors pop. It also ensures that you aren’t wasting a lot of colors going over something again and again to achieve a bright, opaque look. Then I add the main color fields, and finally I do outlines and highlights.

As you can see below, it’s not really meant to be viewed from the inside. (the left is a view of the window from inside the house…the right is outside) This doesn’t normally matter to businesses because their goal is to catch the attention of passersby outside, not inside.

However, there are some applications where you might want the painting viewable from the inside…for instance, if it is meant to be enjoyed by residents in a nursing home or kids in a daycare center.

Painting from the INSIDE to be viewed from the OUTSIDE

Interior window painting is ideal for the artist during those colder months. The paint flows and dries better when it’s not frozen, and designs also are easier to remove when the water isn’t turning to slush! It also is a good way to keep your artwork protected from wear and weather if you have issues with that. However, painting something on the INside that is meant to be viewed from the OUTside is a trickier and more time consuming process. The reason is that you have to work in reverse…if you make a mistake, you can’t just cover it up with more paint, because it’s being viewed from the other side. Basically you start with the outlines, highlights and shadows, which is something you do at the end of a traditional exterior painting, and work backwards, doing the main color fields last. It takes lots of confidence, more precision, and more layers of every color to get the bright, opaque results.

Interior process: Starts with the outlines, then shadows/highlights, then main color fields.

Above you can see the view of this interior painting from OUTSIDE on the left, and from the INSIDE on the right. As you can see, it looks nice and crisp when viewed from the outside, as is intended. However, it looks a little sloppier from the inside, just because of the layering method, and because it wasn’t done for inside viewing. Although, with more time I could go back over the outlines again at the end to clean it up from the inside if necessary. Again, most businesses wouldn’t care about this if their goal is to attract attention from outside. Even if you don’t clean it up on the inside, you can make out the design and colors much more from inside with this method than you could with Rudolf above, who looks more white from inside.

One kindof fun side effect of an interior paint job is that it almost lights up like a stained glass window at night, when it’s dark outside but your lights are on behind the art. A design painted on the exterior, however, wouldn’t look so colorful at night because the white base blocks the light from coming through.

Painting on the INSIDE to be viewed from the OUTSIDE AND INSIDE

It is also possible to create a design that is just as clean & crisp from the inside as it is from the outside…it just requires extra time to basically paint the same design twice…once in reverse considering the outside viewer, and then layering again over the top to clean it up for the inside viewer. Does your brain hurt yet? Hehe! If I get some free time I might go over the Grinch painting again from the inside, just to show how that can look…

More examples to come! Stay tuned!

I’ll be putting together a nice visual reference with all this info for my clients in the near future….but first I want to get photos of a design painted on vinyl and adhered to the outside, for more comparisons. Vinyl is another great method for the colder months, because the design can be painted indoors at the artist’s studio, and then applied on site. Stay tuned for more on that process!

Looking to have your windows painted for the holidays? Find out more or request a quote on our window painting page!

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How to Paint a Sweater Texture

Just in time for your ugly Christmas sweater paintings, I’ve put together a super quick video to show you how to create a cable knit sweater texture! It looks super detailed, but really it’s just a matter of finding the right sized tools to make the size knit you want, and then repeating a pattern of short strokes and “stamps” with a petal brush. Enjoy!!

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Christmas Window Painting

Yesterday I had the pleasure of painting some fun holiday windows for Lake Harriet Florist in Minneapolis! I was contacted on Monday for a quote, got them a price and sketches based on what they were looking for, and was already out there painting on Thursday! I moved pretty quickly with this one since Thursday was forecasted to be an unseasonably warm day, reaching the 50’s! It was a perfect day for painting, and such a beautiful storefront with nice windows. They were kind enough to remove the pretty planters and spruce tips that were in front of the windows so I’d have space to work…so I’ll have to get another photo with THEIR beautiful work once they put it all back! Lake Harriet Florist create STUNNING flower arrangements…if you’re looking for some really incredible flowers and live in the Twin Cities, I’d highly recommend supporting this talented small business who also supported my small business! Spread the local business love!

These were so much fun to paint! The client wanted to steer clear of being too cartoony, so I toned down the outlines with a dark gray instead of a black. That way I could still make the colors pop without dark outlines. It’s hard to tell in the photos here but this was the first time I experimented with metallic silver paint! I used metallic silver as the background of the holly ornament, and on all of the tops of each ornament. It turned out pretty cool!

Process photos…

I was there for about 6 hours, from the time I pulled up to the time I cleaned up. It took about an hour to get the windows all cleaned and prepped and sketch out the design. A little over an hour to do the white (since that included all the “dangles” above), and then the rest was painting! I brought a fan along and was able to paint pretty much non stop, moving the fan to dry as I went on to another section.

Here’s a time lapse video! My GoPro at one point decided to switch from time lapse mode to normal recording, so it either ran out of space or battery before the end, but this will show you some of the process.

Check out the website and fill out our request for quote form if you’re interested in having your business windows painted!

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Christmas Body Paint 2020

For the past few years I’ve been doing a Christmas themed body paint on my oldest son for my business holiday cards! Yesterday I had the chance to paint Sam again for this year’s cards! He is always such a willing and awesome model! Here is a little collage of the past years…

This year I did a little time lapse video of the painting which you can find on my YouTube channel or on our learn page of tutorials!

Here’s a collage of the progress as well:

I have to say it felt really good to get my paints out again. I haven’t been doing much face painting since Covid, but have kept very busy lately on my newest project, which I’ll share with you here very soon!! In the meantime, enjoy the time lapse and start thinking about Christmas, winter and the holidays!! We are currently taking submissions for winter/holiday themed designs for the next issue of Wet Paint Magazine, so be sure to get those in asap for a chance to see your work in print!

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Halloween Face Paint Ideas

Halloween is fast approaching, so I thought I’d put together another holiday themed design roundup! Here are some of the Halloween designs I’ve done in the past.

Are you a parent looking for cheap but safe makeup to paint your own kids? Check out this blog post!

Happy painting and happy Halloween!

Check out the step by step of this design in one of our free e-newsletters, here!
Check out the step by step of this design in one of our free e-newsletters, here!
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As The Seasons Change…so do the WINDOWS!

This week I finally got around to removing my previous coloring book window…which was SUPER FUN, and still looked as great as it did the day I put it up, but it said “Hello Summer” and we are now most definitely into fall here in Minnesota! So, this time I decided to spruce up our windows with some fun Halloween designs to welcome the kids that we hope will still be able to trick-or-treat this year! Here’s a quick little time lapse of the painting process…

This is a GREAT time to get your windows painted, whether you want something fun on your house to make your trick-or-treaters smile, or you’re a business hoping to lure in some more traffic as the temperatures drop! Plus, we window painters love utilizing nice weather days to paint…before the snow flies, wink wink!

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How to Paint Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Hey everyone! We’re just two weeks away from Christmas eve!! I don’t know about you but I’m swimming in Christmas events and loving painting all the fun holiday themed designs!! I’ve been getting such a great response for my quick Christmas painting videos, I thought I’d put together a video of one of my favorite Christmas cheek designs…Rudolph!

I like to have fun with this one…with the nose you can do red paint with red glitter. In the video I use red Liquid Bling! You can also use a red gemstone! Sometimes when I’m not totally slammed with a huge line, I will even use a google eye attached with Pros-Aide, which makes it extra fun. Now if you live in the Midwest like I do, where it’s -2 degrees as I type this, be sure to protect your Pros-Aide! If it freezes, it does NOT come back to life and becomes useless! I keep my Pros-Aide bottles in my purse this time of year so they always come with me!

You can watch the video here, or check it out with the others on my YouTube channel, here! Thanks for stopping by, and happy holiday painting!

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Holiday Elements: Paint Realistic Pine Branches!

Pine tree branches are a great element to learn for your holiday themed designs! I use them often and they are not as hard as they look. (This step by step can also be found in my HUGE full-color book, “Realism for Face & Body Artists!”) Here is a video where I demonstrate how to create these branches in just 1 minute, ending with a few inspirational designs that utilize them! Watch it below or click HERE to go to our YouTube channel! Thanks for stopping by, and happy painting!

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Holiday Elements: Learn 4 Snowflakes in 90 seconds!

Since yesterday’s candycane video was such a hit, I thought I’d do another one today on snowflakes!

Sometimes you can’t find your snowflake stencil, and sometimes they get caught on things and bend or break…but don’t fear! Snowflakes can be really quick to paint with the right tools and techniques. I could paint snowflakes for hours and come up with dozens of different ones, but here is a video with just 4 quick renditions. I paint snowflakes a lot for holiday parties, but they really have become more popular year-round with the release of Frozen, and now Frozen II! I’m just showing you some really simple elements here, but you can really punch these up with some outlines, color variations, painting them in clusters, adding swirls & teardrops, festival glitter, you name it! Have fun with them and make them your own!

Watch the video below, or check it out with others on my YouTube channel!

Thanks for stopping by, and happy painting!