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A fun and memorable family tradition is to create holiday ornaments. Parents treasure those handcrafted decorations, and they bring back fond memories every year. These DIY galaxy ornaments your kids will love are not only a gorgeous ornament to make, but a great way to build those family traditions too!
Where did the tradition come from?
The tradition of bringing home an evergreen tree and decorating it, the way we do today, is traced back to Germany in the 16th century. While people around the world have been using evergreen plants to decorate homes in winter, the story is that the first Christmas tree idea belonged to Martin Luther, a 16th century priest.
Holiday trees were popularized in the 1800s, and brought to North America with German settlers. And when Queen Victoria’s Christmas pictures were released featuring a Christmas tree, they were an instant hit.
Today, evergreen trees destined for homes every holiday season are grown around the world, including all 50 states of the US. Yes, that means Christmas trees are grown in Hawaii too!
Decorate your holiday tree
So whether you have a Fraser Fir, Scotch Pine, Balsam Fir or White Pine, you’re in good company with millions of other people around the world. People in countries as far away as the Philippines or Japan will decorate trees to celebrate winter holidays, even if they don’t celebrate the Christian traditional holiday.
Brightly colored balls, stars, lights, candles and sparkly tinsel are commonly used to decorate the trees. Whether your ornaments are homemade or store bought, a decorated tree is always beautiful and a special part of many families’ holiday traditions.
>> See more fun holiday homeschool activities
Live or artificial?
The majority of live trees are grown on farms specifically for the holidays. And it takes 3-7 years for a tree to mature enough to sell, making Christmas trees a renewable resource. Artificial trees are also very popular, with their ease of clean up and care. But no matter what you choose, these DIY galaxy ornaments will be a fantastic addition to your decorations.
Luckily, getting clear plastic balls aren’t actually that difficult this time of year. You should be able to find the clear plastic ornament balls you need at any store that sells holiday decorations. You’ll need the ones with removable tops, so that you can access the inside of the ball.
You’ll also need a selection of paint: blues, blacks, silver or grey. Maybe a little white, dark purple or dark green too? This activity works best with glittery paint, but you can also add in some glitter to your paint as well.
You’ll also need some star stickers or glittery sticker paper that you can cut stars out of. For easy clean up, you’ll want disposable cups and something to cover your work space. And for hanging, you’ll need ornament hangers, wire or ribbon of some kind.
The basis of these DIY galaxy ornaments is putting a small amount of paint inside the ornament and letting it coat the surface. It’s really quite simple, but smaller children may need some help to get the paint all over the inside. But the effect is amazing, when it all dries. Depending on how the colors dry, you should get an almost iridescent effect, making it look like you’re staring into the depths of space.
What you need:
- small disposable cups, sturdy enough to support the ornament
- clear plastic ornament balls with removable tops
- acrylic paint — suggested colors: dark blue, black, grey/silver, dark purple, dark green, etc (paint with glitter already included work best!)
- glitter (optional) — silver, dark blue, dark green, purple
- star stickers (or glitter sticker paper to cut your own)
- ornament hangers or ribbon for hanging later
What you do:
- Take off the tops from your clear plastic balls. Set aside for later.
- If you’re using glitter, add a small spoonful into the ornament ball, approximately 1 tsp.
- Slowly pour a small amount of paint into the ball. It doesn’t matter which color you start with.
- Turn the ball slightly and add a second color.
- Repeat steps 3 & 4, until all the colors you want to use are in the ornament ball.
- Turn and twist the clear plastic ball carefully, until the ball is completely coated on the inside, and you can no longer see through it. Add more paint if you need to!
- Turn it upside down in a disposable cup, so that the excess paint runs out. Leave it overnight.
- Turn it back over so that the hole faces up, and allow it to dry thoroughly — approximately another 24 hours.
- Replace the hanging top, and ornament hanger or ribbon.
- Add stickers to the ball, as a final touch.
Visit the Homeschooling Fun Through the Holiday series sponsors for new curriculum ideas.
More Holiday Activities
Lego Christmas Ornaments by Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
Laminated Snow Globe Ornaments by Crafty Morning