3 Easy Methods For Painting on Wood Slices (Even if You’re No Good at Art!)

3 Easy Methods For Painting on Wood Slices (Even if You’re No Good at Art!)

Painting on wood slices can create some beautiful Christmas decorations that you can use for years to come. They are a craft I’ve always wanted to try, but I’m not overly artistically skilled with a paintbrush - luckily, I have come up with some easy workarounds that create brilliant results!

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I may not be adept with acrylics, but I’m a dab hand with my trusty Cricut and a roll of vinyl, so these crafts are all done using SVG files from Design Bundles.

In this post, we’re going to look at 3 simple ways you can create some stunning painted wood slice Christmas ornaments with minimal effort - we've even included one perfect for getting the kids involved!

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How To Make a Painted Wood Slice Ornament with a Vinyl Silhouette Decal

What's more Christmassy than seeing Santa fly across the sky in his sleigh? For this project, you'll be making a festive nighttime scene on your wood slice by creating a gradient sky background with paint and adding silhouettes with vinyl.

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What You’ll Need

To make your wood slice ornament, you will need some medium-sized wood slices (the ones I used are about 10cm in diameter), Acrylic paint in 3 similar colors, and black vinyl decals.

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Step 1. Painting A Gradient Background

To do this gradient sky, I’m going to be using 3 colors - light blue, dark blue, and purple. I am not a confident painter at all, but I’ve devised a pretty much foolproof technique when it comes to doing gradients.

Wood slices are fairly porous, so I went in with a light coat first to stop my colors from looking a bit flat. I painted 3 bands of color, going from lightest at the bottom to darkest at the top.

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For the next layer of paint, I went in with a thicker layer and then ‘swirled’ it between the bands of each color. I didn't wipe my brush off between each color as it helps the colors blend better.

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I dragged my brush back over any sections that were a bit thick with paint to even the texture out and improve the blending and then left the wood slice to dry.

Step 2. Creating The Decal

I uploaded my chosen file into Cricut Design Space and resized it so that it would fit the background I had painted (if it's a tiny bit over, then that's ok, we can trim it slightly by hand before we place it)

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I took out the snowflake and moon layers as I wouldn't need them for my finished design. I also ungrouped the sleigh and treeline layers as I will be playing with the placement when I add them to the wood slice.

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I sent this to cut, applied transfer tape, and then trimmed up the edges so that it was easier to see where I was going to position it.

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Step 3. Shaping the Vinyl to Fit

Once the paint was completely dry, I could make sure that the vinyl would fit nicely. Since all the wood slices are slightly different shapes, it took a little ingenuity to work out how to do this.

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I used tracing paper (if you don't have any to hand, you can use baking paper or tissue paper, it just needs to be translucent enough to see the painted background through it) to mark out the shape of the bottom of the painted background.3 Easy Methods For Painting on Wood Slice Ornaments (Even if You’re No Good at Art!) 8

I then laid the tracing paper over the vinyl decal and moved it around until I found a nice fit for it on the sides - the sides are the most important part as we need the width of the decal to cover our background; it doesn't matter if we have trim some of the bottom off as this gives us more room at the top of wood slice for the other part of the decal. I taped the vinyl to the back of the tracing paper and cut it to size/shape using the pencil line I drew.

Step 4. Applying the Decal

It's important to make sure that the paint is completely dry before trying to apply your decal; if it's still a bit tacky, then it's best to wait until it is fully dry; otherwise, your transfer tape might damage the paint.

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Thanks to my tracing paper template, it was easy to position the decal, it fit perfectly to the bottom edge, and the edges of the trees covered the edge of my painted background.

Step 5. Finishing Touches

I added my Santa and sleigh decal to finish the design off and then went back in with a thin paintbrush and added white dabs of paint to look like stars.

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The finished result is really effective and would look lovely hanging on any tree. You can do this gradient effect with any set of colors; you just want to make sure they are in a similar color range; otherwise, the blend will turn murky. If you're not sure if a set of colors will work together, try blending them on a piece of scrap paper first.

How to Make a Stenciled Wood Slice Ornament

Stenciling is one of the easiest ways to make something look perfectly polished without having the stress of trying to paint freehand. It's great for using with wood slice ornaments, especially if you are making a matching set to go on the tree, as you can re-use the stencil more than once and know that you're going to get the same result each time.

I created a swirled gradient background to add a bit more texture and dimension to this ornament. It makes the stencil really pop and is a great way to theme your ornaments to match a color scheme and the best bit - It's super simple to do!

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What You’ll Need

To make this stenciled wood slice ornament, you will need medium-sized wood slices, acrylic paint, a paintbrush, a sponge brush (or a dish sponge you can cut up), and something to mix your paint on - I had a paint palette handy, but a piece of scrap paper works just as well.

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Step 1. Painting the Background

I gave it a base coat of white paint to help seal it and to make sure my next colors really stood out.

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Once the base coat was dry, I dabbed small blobs of white and blue paint around the wood slice and then dragged the brush around in a spiral motion (working from the outside of the circle into the middle) to form a swirled gradient pattern of the two colors.

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Some areas looked a bit too dark/not mixed enough, so I just added a bit more white to my brush and then dragged the brush back through it.

Step 2. Making a Stencil

Making a stencil for this project was super easy; I searched for 'Christmas Stencils' on Design Bundles and found this set from Tanya Batrak Designs. I uploaded my chosen design to Cricut Design Space and then resized it so that it was just a bit larger than the background I had painted.

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The design I used has a slight border around the edge (where the trees or the dots don't reach); I wanted my stenciled colors to reach as close to the edge of the background as possible, so I sized it to be just a few mm bigger than the painted background.

Step 3. Applying the Stencil

I set my Cricut to cut the stencil from the vinyl and weeded out the trees and bauble shape. I didn't need to use transfer tape to add the vinyl to my wood slice as it lifts and applies just like a sticker.

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I made sure that my background paint was completely dry and then positioned the vinyl stencil to be as central as possible, making sure it covered all of my background.

Step 4. Preparing Stencil Paint

Believe it or not, this is the hardest part of the whole process - choosing the paint colors! I knew I wanted to play around with color a bit for the tress in my stencil, so I decided to add a blob of light green, metallic green gold, and dark green to my paint palette.

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To get them to mix nicely, all I did was dip my sponge brush into all 3 at the same time and then dabbed it across the pallette until they had mixed a little bit. The sponge does the hard work for you when it comes to blending colors; if you're not sure if it's mixed nicely, you can test it out on scrap paper before applying it to your project.

Step 6. Stippling the Stencil

To stipple the paint onto the stencil, I carefully bounced my sponge brush around the tree shapes.

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It helps to keep the brush well loaded with paint as it means the colors blend better.

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Once I had finished with the trees, I cut up a small piece of a dish sponge and used that to add different colors to the baubles. I had to go over some of these more than once as the color didn't come out too strong on the first go.

Step 7. Removing the Stencil

I like to give my paint a few minutes to 'set' before removing the stencil; the paint can smudge if you do it too soon.3 Easy Methods For Painting on Wood Slice Ornaments (Even if You’re No Good at Art!) 19

If you find there are any parts where the paint has bled under the stencil slightly, you can use a toothpick to go in and neaten up the edges.

How to Make a Snowman Wood Slice Ornament

Getting the kids involved in some Christmas crafting is one of the best parts of the festive season; these Snowman wood slice ornaments would be great to give as gifts (there's room to write on the back!) or to create as keepsakes for your own family tree.

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What You’ll Need

This project uses slightly smaller wooden slices than the previous two did, the ones I've used measure around 6.5cm in diameter. To decorate the snowman, you will need white acrylic paint, paintbrush, white glitter, glue, ribbon, gems or beads for his smile, and some vinyl to make the snowman face decals.

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Step 1. Painting the Snowman

I took two small wooden slices (I tried to find the most round and similar sized ones in the pack) and painted a white background.

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As with our other two projects, this is a thin base layer that I'm letting soak into the wood.

Step 2. Adding the Glitter

Once the first base layer of white paint was dry, I went back in with another thicker layer, and whilst it was still wet, I generously sprinkled white glitter over the top.

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I let the paint and glitter sit for about 5 minutes before tapping the excess glitter off. I then left them to dry fully whilst I set about creating the face decals.

Step 3. Creating Snowman Decals

It was really simple to create the snowman face decals; I uploaded the Winter Snowman Faces SVG file to Desing Space and chose the design I wanted.

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I wanted to use the second one from the left on the bottom row; I ungrouped the whole SVG (as they were all grouped) and deleted all of the others so that I was just left with the snowman face I wanted to use.

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I removed the mouth part of the file as I was going to be using the cabochons to create that, and was left with just the eyes and nose that I then resized to fit. Once I was happy with the sizes I sent it to cut.

Step 4. Placing the Vinyl

Once the vinyl was cut I applied transfer tape and placed them onto the wood slice.

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If you find that it's a little tricky to get it to adhere fully (the glitter can sometimes mean it doesn't get a good grip), you can always dab a little bit of PVA glue behind it for some extra stick.3 Easy Methods For Painting on Wood Slice Ornaments (Even if You’re No Good at Art!) 30

I then applied his carrot nose and made sure that all the vinyl was firmly stuck down.

Step 4. Adding a Smile

Next came the very important job of adding the snowmans smile. I managed to find some small half cabochon beads that I thought looked like little pieces of coal!

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I found the easiest way to add them was to put a small dab of glue on the wood slice and then place the cabochons onto it (instead of gluing directly on the back of them)

Step 5. Attaching the Body

Once the snowman's smile was dry, it was time to attach the rest of his body. I flipped both of my wooden slices over (so that I didn't get any glue on the fronts) and put some hot glue on the bottom of the top slice, and pushed it together with the bottom - making sure that the hanging holes lined up.

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Once that was dry, I flipped the snowman back over to see if any glue had seeped through.

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No glue had leaked through, but we did have one obvious issue - we've got a hanging hole to cover up!

Step 6. Adding a Bow

I found that the easiest way to cover the hole on the body wood slice was to add a well-placed ribbon bow 'scarf'.

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To make sure that the bow wouldn't come untied, I put a dab of glue behind the main knot and held it together with a clip until the glue had dried. I then added another dab of glue, positioned it so that it hid the hanging hole, and there we have it - a perfectly dressed snowman ready to hang on the tree!

Happy Crafting!

We'd love to know what you think of this tutorial and if you make your own version, be sure to share images to social media and tag us or post them in our Facebook Group, The Design Bundles Customer Community.

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