Over the years, I have tried several methods for decorating plain ball ornaments. I've decoupaged them, put photos and images inside of them, and tried several methods for alcohol inking them. One of my earliest projects on this blog was swirling around craft paint inside the ball ornaments. So, as I was thinking about what Christmas crafts I could do this year, trying to spray paint the inside of ball ornaments popped into my head. I had no idea if it would work well or at all, but I thought I'd give it a whirl.
I gathered a basket of plastic ball ornaments and a bin full of spray paint. I also grabbed an egg carton and some paper towels so that I could have a dying station for the ornaments that would keep them from rolling around.
The process was pretty easy. I sprayed paint into the ornament and swirled it around. If I wanted colors to mix, I'd spray them into the ornament when the paint was still wet. If I didn't want the colors to mix (like red and green), I waited for the paint to dry before adding more.
I used several brands and types of spray paint. The thinner cheap paints (like the $1.98 stuff from Wal-mart) were runny and difficult to work with. This didn't surprise me too much, but I used Krylon spray paint in a few different colors, and each color seemed to work differently. The red worked great, the blue and purple stayed really translucent and was a bit runny. The Rustoleum 2x spray paint stayed wet longer, which for this project isn't ideal, but it also had really nice saturated colors (see the dark blue below). So you may have to experiment a bit until you find colors and brands that work well.
So I added spray paint until I was happy with the ornaments. If my colors were mixing in a way I didn't like or if the paint got too runny, I would let it dry for a while and come back. On the plastic surface, sometimes the paint would pull away entirely and drip out, so be careful of leaving them turned upside down for long periods of time if they are still wet. I would leave them for a few minutes and then flip them back right side up. The spray paint may stick differently on the glass ball ornaments, I haven't tried them yet.
In the end, the ornaments turned out pretty cute, but they did require a bit of dry time in between layers to get full coverage. The finished product looks fairly similar to the craft paint variety and takes less time to dry. It can be just as messy if you aren't careful. I tipped one ball over with a little too much wet paint in it and ended up splashing the deck with blue paint before I got it over the paper towel--thank goodness I was out on the deck! I also got a fair bit of paint on my fingers from the opening of the ornament, so be prepared with extra paper towels!