How to Make Christmas Ornaments With Clear Glass Balls

Things You'll Need

  • Glass cleaner
  • Clean rag
  • Clear glass ball ornaments
  • 1-inch vinyl letter stickers
  • 4-inch foam block
  • 3/8-inch 12-inch-long wooden dowel
  • Latex gloves
  • Safety eye wear, such as goggles or glasses
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Etching cream
  • Foam brush
  • Sponge

Craft stores stock their shelves with a seemingly never-ending supply of clear glass ball ornaments in a variety of sizes shortly after Halloween. This year is the year you turn those spherical blank slates into festive embellishments for your Christmas tree, or gifts for loved ones.

Remove the metal top of the ornament. Clean the outside of your glass ball ornament with glass cleaner and a clean rag.

Spell out your name, initials or a Christmas-related word such as "Joy" on the outside of the clear glass ball ornament with 1-inch vinyl letter stickers. You can also just place a random assortment of letters in a random way on the surface of the ornament to create an ABCs ornament.

Stick the wooden dowel in the center of the foam block to create an ornament stand.

Put on latex gloves, safety eye wear and a long-sleeve shirt. Stick the tip of your index finger inside the top of the ornament to hold it without obstructing its surface.

Paint a generous layer of glass etching cream over the entire surface of the ornament with a foam brush. Carefully slide the ornament off your finger and place it on the wooden dowel. Touch up the glass etching cream where it smudged during the move.

Let the cream-covered ornament sit for the length of time specified on the etching cream container--usually around five to 15 minutes. Rinse the ornament under a running faucet after the specified length of time, wiping away the cream with a sponge.

Peel the vinyl letter stickers off the ornament and rinse it once more under the faucet to remove any cream trapped against the edges of the letter stickers. Replace the metal top in the ornament.


  • Vinyl letter stickers are available at office supply and craft stores. Put a few drops of acrylic paint in two or three different colors in your ornament and swirl it around to create a marbled effect that will make the etching stand out even more. Fill the inside of the ornament with shredded paper or strips of ribbon to add flare. Use self-adhesive rhinestones or half pearls to dot an ā€œiā€ or fill in the hole in letters such as a, b and d. Pour a little glitter inside your ornament to give it some shimmer.


  • Work in a well-ventilated area. Be careful to keep your bare skin from coming into contact with the etching cream as it can burn. Crafts that use etching cream are not ideal for children.


About the Author

Based in Ypsilanti, Mich., Ainsley Patterson has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles appear on various websites. She especially enjoys utilizing her more than 10 years of craft and sewing experience to write tutorials. Patterson is working on her bachelor's degree in liberal arts at the University of Michigan.