Several years ago, I was shopping at the Ben Franklin in Wilmar, MN (yeah, that long ago), and I saw a flyer for a craft project where you drip craft paint into a glass ornament and swirl it around to create nifty marble effects. Well, that day I bought some glass ornaments and grabbed the flyer. I then went to grad school and moved 3 times before I actually completed the project....but the ornaments survived the moves and I finally did the project. :)
All you need for this project:
a tray lined with paper towels to let the ornaments dry in
My craft flyer from 2002 said I should clean the ornaments out with rubbing alcohol before I painted them, and since these were older ornaments, I went ahead with this step to remove any dust. If your ornaments look clean, you can probably skip that step.
Next, take the metal caps off and drip some paint into the ornament. The amount you see in the photo below would probably be plenty to cover the ornament if you were patient. I am not patient, so after some swirling, I added more to cover the gaps. Then I poured out any excess paint and set the ornament in the tray to dry and be turned at regular intervals. Start out with turning them every 20-30 minutes two or three times, and then when the paint appears near dry, you can start turning them every couple of hours or so.
The slow movement of the paint as it dries is what really swirls the paint. If you want your paint less swirly--use less paint, super swirled--use more paint. Of course, too much paint will mean colors may mix and you may end up with voids if you leave your painted ornament without turning it for too long. I ran into this problem after they set overnight. So I had to add a tiny bit more paint to cover up a couple of empty spots.
When they were all dried, they turned out pretty nifty, even if I feel like I used a bit too much paint and left them in one position for a bit too long. The project turned out to be very forgiving, and I look forward to making more with a little less paint and starting earlier in the day so I can keep an eye on their drying. And since I have more ornaments that I bought last year, I can give it a whirl, or a swirl, again sometime soon.
These glass ornaments are tough to photograph. I ended up reflected in many of the photos--the one below was my favorite reflection.