Make New Ornaments Look “Vintage”

Last night I FINALLY hung a wreath that has been five years in the making, literally.  Here is a sneak peak…
ornament wreath and christmas tree hunt 2010 035

I was unable to get any decent pictures today because we were out hunting down a Christmas tree when the light was right.  Look for tomorrow’s posting with hopefully better pictures and an explanation of why it took five years to make a wreath!
As you can guess, it is a vintage ornament wreath.  If you have seen these before or made one yourself, you know that they require a TON of ornaments of all different sizes and shapes.  Finding all of those ornaments is a lot of work and can be expensive.  Often many of them get buried under others.  It seems like such a waste.
So, the temptation is to use use newer ornaments but they just don’t look right.
So I figured out a little trick to make new ornaments look old!
To start with, you will need some new ornaments.  I am pretty sure this does not work on the plastic type ornaments.
Please do not do this on expensive or sentimentally important ornaments.  This is meant to be done on “cheapy charlie” ornaments that won’t upset you if they don’t come out as planned.
ornament wreath and christmas tree hunt 2010 002
Next, you need a working surface you don’t care about, nail polish remover and paper towels.  I started with cotton but found that they left fibers behind and took things off more in chunks.
ornament wreath and christmas tree hunt 2010 004
From there it is pretty easy.
Add a little nail polish remover to the paper towel and lightly dab at the ornament till you get the effect that you want.
When you first start dabbing it only takes off the shine and then a little more dab and it brings it down to the silver.  Try to be patient and just lightly dab.  It looks more authentic that way.
If you wipe instead of dab it starts to sort of “smoosh” the finish which can then lead to peeling which is not so great.
This is the look that you should get.
ornament wreath and christmas tree hunt 2010 007
Or, if you want you can take off even more.  It is really a personal choice.  This is an ornament where I was not patient and I wiped and you see the big sliver spot looks less natural then the dabbed areas.
ornament wreath and christmas tree hunt 2010 008
This technique can be used to work ornaments in with truly vintage ornaments in a project.  Or, you can do a whole project or display with this technique to get a “vintage” look with inexpensive ornaments.
If you would like to see other Christmas and Holiday ideas, you can visit here.
You can also read additional tips about this type of wreath here.
And you can visit our Christmas Home Tour for 2011 and 2012.

If you try this project, I would love to see your results!


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Welcome to Finding Home where we share our favorite DIY and decorating ideas and inspiration. We believe your home should be a reflection of you and your family. Our blog is the story of our journey - and what we find along the way. Thanks for joining us!


  1. So cool! I made an ornament wreath last year and I was never happy with it. Now I know why. Too new looking!

  2. Krista@thegatheringplacedesign says:

    Great idea…they look awesome! I can't wait to see the whole wreath:)

  3. Jackie says:

    I can't wait to see the finished product either! ~Jackie

  4. Sherry from Alabama says:

    Thanks for the tip! I'll be back to see the whole wreath too. I'm visiting from the DIY site.

    Sherry @ A Happy Valentine

  5. Great idea. I have a lot of vintage ornaments but need some fillers here and there. This will work.

  6. Custom Comforts says:

    Thanks for the great tip. I'll have to try this.

  7. Megan @ Megity's Handmade says:

    What a smart little tip! I can't wait to see your wreath!

  8. Madigan at madiganmade says:

    Oh, I love this idea! Very clever.

  9. says:

    Love this tip. I did some and didn't dab I wiped, big mistake. Doing some more tomorrow. Love it.

  10. momnivore says:

    Great tute.

    This kills me b/c my dad's side of the family had a TON of glass ornaments from Italy.

    The whereabouts are unknown.

    Perhaps, I should check my mother's garage…

  11. Michelle says:

    Perfect!! I have wanted to make this type wreath but didn’t want to “waste” my shiny brites underneath! Thanks so much!

  12. What a great idea!! Now I know how to make those cheap and super-shiny IKEA baubles look more real…
    Thank You !!!

    Merry Xmas Xxx

  13. Great job! I too made a Christmas Ornament wreath this year….knocks the socks off my door :)

  14. Brilliant! And the wreath is gorgeous, I can tell!

  15. another suggestion….tarnish the metal holder a bit using some alcohol inks from Ranger Inc. Just dab them with a q tip dipped in the ink.

  16. Fab idea – great way to put those ugly new guys that I keep in the basement to good use! Love my vintage ornaments!

  17. Joyce says:

    Great idea, I love vintage. Am going to hit the after Christmas safes on ornaments and give this a try for next years. Thanks for the tip.

  18. Margaret says:

    Could u give me some tips on how to start the wreath.

  19. Thanks for the tip!
    I collect vintage/antique ornaments, and it breaks my heart when people glue them, or alter them.
    This is such a wonderful alternative to ruining those precious old ornaments!
    THANK YOU!!!

  20. I love the vintage look on Christmas trees. I takes me back to my childhood along time ago (when they only made the big multi-colored lights) Now that I’ve seen this, I will do this to my ornaments. Great idea.

  21. How clever are you?? I absolutely love this idea!

  22. Denese Garrett says:

    I loved your idea but I tried it and it didn’t work. Any ideas on what I’m doing wrong? The ornaments are the cheapies as you suggested from Walmart and I dabbed and dabbed by nothing:(

  23. Duanag says:

    Great idea. I’m going to try this on some crazy hot pink and purple ornaments someone gave me. It will look great in my daughters room. As for the question before me, I’m wondering what kind of polish remover you used. If it was acetone or non acetone it might make a difference. What kind was used in the original post?

  24. I LOVE old vintage silver ornies so I purchase old glass ones and run them under warm water and it takes the color right off and leaves a nice silver patina. :)

  25. I was wondering if it will work on non shiny bulbs? I bought some from a local craft store that are already dull to give a more antique look to begin with, so I am not sure how or if they will turn out? Thank you, Beth

  26. Haha I just thought of trying this for next year with our ornaments but I think my mum would kill me if I did. I will probably have to wait until I move out of our house. Great instruction though. Thanks!

  27. A little bit old post but, what a great tips, love and collect as well the vintage Christmas decor, thank you for sharing!!

    From Toronto, Canada


  1. […] How to Make New Ornaments Look Vintage […]

  2. […] How to make new ornaments look vintage from Finding Home. […]

  3. […] Make new ornaments look vintage with the help of nail polish remover. Who knew? Here is the link: […]

  4. […] Next I broke out my bottle of nail polish remover and started wiping it onto a collection of smaller ornaments.  Very soon the color started coming off the ornaments and they were left looking old and tarnished which is the look I was going for – vintage.  […]

  5. […] will be using Laura at Finding Home’s technique to make some of my newish ornaments […]

  6. Casa Vintage says:

    […]  O, si lo deseas, puedes envejecerlo más. En realidad es una elección personal… […]

  7. […] I originally found this idea on Finding Home. […]

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