Stripping Ornaments

So whenever I stumble upon Christmas ornaments at yard sales, they are always a little beat up.  
They are also always insanely cheap, which leads me to a predicament.  I want to buy them.
...but who wants to put ugly, old ornaments on the tree?

Add to this dilemma the clear ornament trend, where folks are stuffing everything from feathers to buttons inside little ornaments and I want to go right out and purchase NEW ornaments (at CHRISTMAS time!  The SHAME!).  Perhaps you don't realize you are reading a blog by the girl that never (NEVER) pays more than the 90% off Target clearance aisle prices for Christmas items.  Better yet is yard sale Christmas boxes full of STUFF for $1.  Better yet are the FREE boxes of lights people get so sick of that they throw out.  Yes, I am the cheapskate when it comes to many things and Christmas decor tops that list.

Back to ornaments though...

I recently decided that I needed to do something about the old, ugly ornaments this year.  Last year, I covered some in sweaters, which was fun, but this year I wanted something different.  I wanted clear ornaments.  ...but I didn't want to pay for them.  It turns out that I don't have to.

You see, it turns out that basic pantry supplies will readily strip ornaments and you can use those penny a dozen cheap ornaments instead of going out and buying trendy clear ones.  How?  Start with baking soda and make a little paste with water.  Gently rub it around the outside of the ornament and watch as the finish peels right off.

The inside is a little trickier.  I experimented with both baking soda and vinegar and for some reason the vinegar seemed to work better inside.  Use them both and your baby boys will be impressed at the ornament "volcanoes".  In any case, fill the ornaments with vinegar and allow them to sit for awhile.  Gently swirl the liquid inside and the finish will start to peel away. 

You'll have to dump and repeat a few times (just use the leftover need to waste more) until the inside is fully clear.  This is the point at which most people would think the few bucks to BUY clear ornaments is worth it, but not me!  I was thrilled as a peach when the finish started coming off!


Now all that is left is figuring out what to FILL the ornaments with now that they are clear!

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 If you liked this tutorial, then you might enjoy the BOOK!

Make your own coconut oil.
Gather your own sea salt.
Grow your own grapevines for wreaths.
Give gifts naturally grown and crafted from your backyard garden.

Each chapter focuses on a plant or groups of plants and how to grow them in your home garden.  Then, gather up those natural ingredients and get crafting! From lavender wreaths and hypertufa planters to lambsear angels and pickled tomatoes, there are projects for beginners on up!

Crafting with Nature is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a MillionPOWELL's! (!!!!)  Booktopia (Australia!), IndieBoundAlibrisGlose.comThe Book Depository and  Books are also rolling out to retailers and libraries, so check for them there. 
 If your library does NOT have it yet, this is why you should talk to your librarian!


dawna said…
Awesome advice on recycling those nasty old glass ornaments! NOW... to redecorate, squirt a tablespoon or two of Pledge WITH FUTURE SHINE (floor stuff) into the ornament, gently turn to coat the inside completely. Take the squirt top off the Pledge bottle and drain liquid from the ornament back into the Pledge bottle. Make a funnel out of paper to add a couple tablespoons of your favorite ULTRA-FINE glitter into the ornament, cap the opening with your finger and SHAKE it around until the inside of the ornament is well covered. Pour the excess glitter back into the glitter jar (use that paper funnel again), replace the ornament hanger, and VOILA! Stunning results every time!
I have had luck getting glass ball ornaments off freecycle as well. is where you can find freecycle groups for your area.
oops, that is Accidently left out a "e", whoopsie
Leslie Keefer said…
I have always used a little bleach water to remove the color. May have to try the viniger and see wich works best. Thanks for the tip!
Amy Renea said…
Great tips all!! Thank you for sharing. I often think blog comment sections can be the real gold mines of information! :)
Cara Malmrose said…
Dang - wish I'd seen this before I sent a large box of ornaments to goodwill!
Amy Renea said…
Check yard sales and big church rummage sales -- there are tones of them!