Art With Jenny K.


Christmas Craft: Pour Painting Ornaments

Pour Painting Ornaments - How to from Art with Jenny K.


I love this Christmas craft. The pour painting ornaments come out so crazy cool! It is easy and fun, especially if you have the right supplies and setup. I’ve gifted beautiful pour painting ornaments to my daughter’s teachers, our neighbors, and just about anyone I could think of. I have even given away little personalized pour painting kits for Christmas gifts so family members and friends could make their own pour painting ornaments as well.

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This project has extra credit! Check it out!


Endless Possibilities

Make your own Pour Paint

Special paints for pour painting projects are pretty new to the market. I’ve been making my own for a while—a process that involves combining regular acrylic paint and a “flow” (a chemical that makes the acrylic paint pourable). Making your own is okay for small projects, but when I have a class full of kids, mixing up all the paint and the flow becomes tedious—and uses A LOT of paint. When I saw some pourable acrylic paint in the craft store the other day, I immediately got some and brought it home to try. It worked great! I would recommend using the premixed pour paint—but if you want to make your own, go for it!

To mix your paints yourself, you need some acrylic paints and a flow agent. I have used these paints and this flow agent. It is pretty easy! You can always keep a bottle of the flow around to mix with your regular acrylic paint whenever the inspiration arises to do some pour painting! Follow the directions of the package to mix the right amount of paint and flow.

Pre-Mixed Pour Paints

But for THIS pour painting ornaments project, I used premixed pour paints. There are a lot of pour paint sets on Amazon to choose from, and this is a set that I think is a good one. But you can make your own choice (make sure it says that the paints are premixed for pouring)—these also make great Christmas gifts for artsy-craftsy folks as there are many things you can do with pour paint.

I used clear plastic ornaments for my ornaments that I found at a crafts store (like Michael’s). They come in round (ball) shapes and disc shapes (basically, a flattened ball). I have used both, and both work equally well.


Be Creative! As always, I hope to inspire creativity. So please, feel free to use my tips, tricks, and experiences to get you started. But don’t be afraid to try different things.

Be Adventurous! Each year, when I do this pour painting ornament project with my students, we like to get creative with the shapes and colors of ornaments and with trying new techniques. I especially love the year I found ornaments in “light” shapes. They turned out amazing!

Be Brave! I don’t think I’ll ever stop being amazed by the final results of this project. Try mixing colors you wouldn’t ordinarily pair together and see what happens. You might be surprised by the stunning results, just like I always am!

  1. Make the Pour Painting Ornament Stand

    I used Styrofoam blocks and popsicle sticks as a base and a support for holding the ornaments up off the styrofoam. This is important because you want the paint to flow freely over the ornament surface and not pool where the ornament may touch the base.

    I just stuck the popsicle sticks into the Styrofoam block. I found that two popsicle sticks per stand worked better than a single stick. Since I was going to make a bunch of these pour painting ornaments at one time, I prepped a bunch of stands (which was pretty easy since I had a lot of Styrofoam packing material I had been saving). If you don’t have easy access to styrofoam blocks and/or popsicle sticks, I am sure you can come up with other ways to suspend the ornaments off the ground!

    Take the little metal top off the ornaments and then fit them upside down over the popsicle sticks. I put this stand in a tin foil pan to contain the mess because the poured paint will run off the ornament and down onto whatever is beneath. You could cover your surface with paper or cardboard, as well.

  2. Portion Out the Pour Paint

    I poured out small portions of the paint into small disposable plastic cups. This way, I could control how much paint was used (especially if you have kids making the ornaments—they tend to dump WAY too much paint out of a bottle). You can combine different colors in a single cup—when you pour it out, it makes a cool effect. Just don’t mix the colors up in the cup. Instead, pour them into layers. This way, they’ll come out in layers!

    I have found that mixing white is helpful, so I like to get large bottles of white pour paint.

  3. Pour Paint Over Ornament

    Carefully and SLOWLY, pour the paint from the little cups over the ornament. Pouring is the fun part! Use various colors to get the best effect if you pour too fast—the colors run together and get too mixed up.

    Use your imagination and have fun! Vary how much paint you pour out and how you move the cup you are pouring from over the ornament. You can make thin stripes, thick stripes, swirls, etc. (See the video linked at the top of the post for the technique I used).


    If you are having trouble getting the ornament covered, you can pre-cover the bottom portion BEFORE you pour your colors over the ornament. I did this with the disc shapes because there were often gaps showing. Take some white pour paint and coat the bottom half. You don’t have to wait for it to dry. You can get started right away.

  4. Set Aside to Dry

    When you are happy with what you have, carefully move your ornament aside and start another one! Be careful not to touch the paint until it is completely dry—this can take several hours to a day…be patient!

    When the ornaments are completely dry, you can lift them off their stand and put the small metal cap back on the top. They are now ready!

  5. Display!

    Hang your final pour painting ornaments on your Christmas tree, or give them out to friends and family. They make great teacher gifts as well!

    I hope you have as much fun making them as my daughter and I did making ours. Now, we can’t wait to hand them out for Christmas!

    (update 2022) Speaking of my daughter. She wanted to make a “How-To” video of my pour painting ornaments. You can see its linked at the top of this post.

More Examples

When I share my pour painting project with teachers on social media, they often ask me a few questions. The most popular one is, “What do the final ornaments look like when they are dry?”

I wanted to add to this blog post more ornament examples from over the years and from different times that I have done this project. Since I first started doing this years ago, I have created pour painting ornaments with my nieces and nephews, my students (countless times), and adults.

I’ve gifted beautiful pour painting ornaments (finished) to my daughter’s teachers, our neighbors, and just about anyone I could think of (yes, of course, our mail lady and other delivery drivers have all gotten an Art with Jenny K. pour painting ornament 🤪). I have even given away little personalized pour painting kits for Christmas gifts so family members and friends could make their own pour painting ornaments as well.

Yes, when I, Jenny K., get into something, I go all in and try things as many different ways as I can. I imagine when Christmas comes around, all of my family members think, “Oh boy, what was Jenny up to this year? We are all sure to get a Christmas gift featuring her newest exploration!” I’m sure there is an eye roll or two in there—but I’m okay with all of that!

Plus, there are endless ways to experiment with the technique. Different set ups have different results. For example, these more “Jackson Pollock” ornaments my daughter made. We still used pour paints, and we still “poured” the paint onto the ornament, but with more of a “flicking” motion to get this result. Also, for this design, we first painted the entire ornament white (let it dry) and then painted on the colors. The white is on the outside (not the inside).

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Extra Credit!

DIY Christmas Ornaments

Maybe not just yet?? If you love looking at my pour painting ornaments but don’t have the time or resources this year to make them happen, you could try my 3D “Pop Art” ornaments! They are an original and unique Christmas activity that I first created and shared back in 2013. These ornaments are a fun way for classroom teachers (or parents) to include children in a super-cool holiday art project!

The Christmas ornament is made from one sheet of paper and is very easy. Follow my how-to video (included in the project) to create Christmas ornaments that your kids will love and will hang on your tree for years to come!

In this lesson, you get…

  • Written Instructions (with photographs)
  • Printables (3 different designs for your ornaments)
  • Handouts
  • You also get an 11-minute how-to video (mp4 file)

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