Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tutorial: How to Make New Ornaments Look “Vintage”

Last night I FINALLY hung a wreath that has been five years in the making, literally.  Here is a sneak peak…
ornament wreath and christmas tree hunt 2010 035
I was unable to get any decent pictures today because we were out hunting down a Christmas tree when the light was right.  Look for tomorrow’s posting with hopefully better pictures and an explanation of why it took five years to make a wreath!
As you can guess, it is a vintage ornament wreath.  If you have seen these before or made one yourself, you know that they require a TON of ornaments of all different sizes and shapes.  Finding all of those ornaments is a lot of work and can be expensive.  Often many of them get buried under others.  It seems like such a waste. 
So, the temptation is to use use newer ornaments but they just don’t look right. 
So I figured out a little trick to make new ornaments look old!
To start with, you will need some new ornaments.  I am pretty sure this does not work on the plastic type ornaments.
Please do not do this on expensive or sentimentally important ornaments.  This is meant to be done on “cheapy charlie” ornaments that won’t upset you if they don’t come out as planned.
ornament wreath and christmas tree hunt 2010 002
Next, you need a working surface you don’t care about, nail polish remover and paper towels.  I started with cotton but found that they left fibers behind and took things off more in chunks.
ornament wreath and christmas tree hunt 2010 004
From there it is pretty easy. 
Add a little nail polish remover to the paper towel and lightly dab at the ornament till you get the effect that you want. 
When you first start dabbing it only takes off the shine and then a little more dab and it brings it down to the silver.  Try to be patient and just lightly dab.  It looks more authentic that way.
If you wipe instead of dab it starts to sort of “smoosh” the finish which can then lead to peeling which is not so great.
This is the look that you should get.
ornament wreath and christmas tree hunt 2010 007
Or, if you want you can take off even more.  It is really a personal choice.  This is an ornament where I was not patient and I wiped and you see the big sliver spot looks less natural then the dabbed areas.
ornament wreath and christmas tree hunt 2010 008
This technique can be used to work ornaments in with truly vintage ornaments in a project.  Or, you can do a whole project or display with this technique to get a “vintage” look with inexpensive ornaments.
If you try this project, I would love to see your results!

Linking up at Centsational Girl Holiday Party
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Jane said...

So cool! I made an ornament wreath last year and I was never happy with it. Now I know why. Too new looking!

Krista@thegatheringplacedesign said...

Great idea...they look awesome! I can't wait to see the whole wreath:)

Jackie said...

I can't wait to see the finished product either! ~Jackie

Sherry from Alabama said...

Thanks for the tip! I'll be back to see the whole wreath too. I'm visiting from the DIY site.

Sherry @ A Happy Valentine

Pam said...

Great idea. I have a lot of vintage ornaments but need some fillers here and there. This will work.

Custom Comforts said...

Thanks for the great tip. I'll have to try this.

Megan @ Megity's Handmade said...

What a smart little tip! I can't wait to see your wreath!

Madigan at madiganmade said...

Oh, I love this idea! Very clever. said...

Love this tip. I did some and didn't dab I wiped, big mistake. Doing some more tomorrow. Love it.

momnivore said...

Great tute.

This kills me b/c my dad's side of the family had a TON of glass ornaments from Italy.

The whereabouts are unknown.

Perhaps, I should check my mother's garage...