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Christmas Decorations with Foil and Nail Polish

A High-End Dollar Store Craft

© Stephie McCarthy
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watch how to make ornaments with foil and nail polish

We made one-of-a-kind ornaments with recycled foil, decorations and nail polish.

Dollar store craft foil and nail polish Christmas decorations

Here's our Santa ornament, before and after ...

Dollar Store Christmas Craft

This gnome figure from a Dollar Store can be decorated as a gnome, or a wizard, elf, and of course ... Santa!

Use nail polish to paint figures

To get the effect of lacquer, we covered parts of the figure in foil and then layered many shades of nail polish

Hand Painting Christmas Ornaments

We used three shades of red for the suit. It looks amazingly rich and was easy to do!

Easy DIY Christmas ornaments

Fire-rich reds layered together made an amazing lacquered effect.


Step One, cover the ornament in foil

How to make mercury glass ornaments

To help the foil stick, we primed it with plain white craft paint.


How to make mercury glass style ornaments

We used ordinary aluminum foil torn into small, irregular pieces.

Recycle aluminum foil craft

Use fresh or recycled foil. Recycled gives a crackle look. We smoothed the crackle with a burnisher before tearing. See the smooth circle on the far right? This was burnished for a minute to press the foil flat.

Make Christmas Ornaments from foil

Straight edges tend to show. Irregular edges will blend.

How to hand paint Christmas ornaments

We used ModPodge painted on the foil and also on the figure.


Check the price of ModPodge here

check the price of ModPodge


Hold the foil on the figure for a minute or so until it sticks, then burnish it smooth.

Handmade Christmas ornaments

Continue to apply foil to the figure overlapping pieces as you go ...

Dollar Store Glam

... and burnish smooth. Use a small brush to re-glue pieces that are loose. Eventually they will stick as the glue sets.

Dollar Store Christmas Ornaments

Soon you'll have a wonderful silver-suited Santa.

How to make foil ornaments

We've found that recycled aluminum pie pans are great for textured accessories.

Faux mercury glass

They are easy to cut with scissors and style with glue to hold in place. We made a simple pleated hat band for our Santa, shown below.

Glass painting Christmas ornaments


Step two, paint the foil with nail polish

For a rich finish, we used inexpensive nail enamels. The selection of colors and glitter effects is amazing even with discounted polish.

DIY Dollar Store Craft

You'll only need a little. Plus, the built-in brush makes it easy to apply smoothly. Nail polish dries quickly. You can paint a project like this to a rich finish in record time.

If you store it in the fridge, nail polish will stay liquid for years.


check prices of nail polish here

check price of nail polish


Easy DIY Christmas ornaments

To get the deep red, lacquered effect we used magenta (left), then clear coral (right), and a top coat of rose-copper with sparkles (center).

High End Dollar Store Craft

Do lots of tests on scrap foil to see what mixture of colors you like. Polish dries so quickly, you can do three coats of diferent colors in very little time.

Dollar Store Christmas

We also made striped details with a darker red, top-coated with the rose-copper. Do as many coats as you like. The aluminum foil will shine through.

Painting Christmas ornaments

The boots were made with green followed by a glittery blue.

Christmas Crafting

At this point, we made a great discovery. Nail polish can be dipped into dry glitter to make it super sparkly. We used this technique on Santa's beard, (we call him Glitter Beard). If polish is not glittery enough, add dry glitter as you go.

Easy Glitter Ornament

We used clear coral for blush effects, dabbing it with a finger to blend.

Thrift Christmas Ornaments

Toothpick swabs were perfect for the smallest details.

Painting miniatures with nail polish


check the price of mini swabs here

Check the price of mini swabs here


Every Santa -- every ornament -- can be completely unique!

DIY Santa Ornament

This one has amazing color from discount nail polish!

Frugal Christmas ideas

And we didn't stop here! We found more ornaments that were charming but could use a little polish!

Upcycle Christmas ornaments

This sleigh ornament was $3.00 at Walmart and will go in a mantel display (in progress).

Add sparkle to Dollar Store Christmas ornaments

Wrapping toy blocks in foil was easy to do, and needed no glue.

Budget Christmas decor

We added dazzle to the sleigh with foil, glitter, and bits and bobs. The video shows how we made this ornament a work of art.

Thrifty Christmas decor

The polish worked on glitter, dried flowers, wood, and even paper! We explain much more in our video (link below).

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for our next Christmas project (we think you will love)!

See the foil and polish video here

Foil and nail polish Christmas Dollar Store DIY


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