Makin’ Ornies For the Pintester Movement….

pintester-movement-300So.  As many of you already know, I follow a blog called, where the blogess Sonja chooses Pinterest pins that appeal to her and tests them out.  Mostly this amounts to a lot of humorous antics on her part, and it imparts to us, her audience, good ideas on which posts NOT to try. It’s all great fun, really, and I suggest you go over to and check it out, if you haven’t already.

For this most recent installment of the pintester movement (wherein Sonja gives us readers a chance to test out some pins), Christmas ornaments have been chosen as the common theme.  Yes, it’s a *wee bit* early, but– this is good!  It serves two purposes:  A.) you can get an idea about which Christmas ornaments may be the best to try for your own tree from our fails and successes, and B.) the sweet Jodee over at can maybe collect enough ornies to fill her very first Christmas tree.  Jodee’s blog is hilarious all on its own, and she’s always such a sweetie that I very much WANT to help her out and contribute to her new holiday setup.

Here are all the submissions for this most recent, ornament-based movement:

Normally I *want* to follow the rules, and I choose a pin with instructions, found at a whole website where said pin is just one of the many posts created by the blogger… not this time.  I really, really looked.  I didn’t want to do something I’d done for holidays the past (like marbleizing the inside of a clear glass ball with paint– too classy!), I wanted to make something that I actually wanted to hang on my kitschy tree when it was finished….

Blergh… apparently, that was an elusive thing.  On one of my many searches on pinterest, I was totally thrilled to find this cute little matchbox ornament painted to look like a gingerbread house.  Following the link, however, I was disappointed to figure out that it was only a simple flickr pic by a gal named Mel Sparkles– , not really a tutorial.  Her little project is totally adorable, isn’t it?

At this point, I didn’t know if I should do what I *wanted,* (do the adorbs cookie ornie anyway) or what was more in the spirit of the the movement (find one with real instructions), so I took a vote on facebook.  Overwhelmingly the response was that I should do the gingerbread matchbox, every last voter picked it.  (Yay, my sweet friends!)  It was also suggested by several respondents that I could formulate a step-by-step version just in case there were readers out there that wanted it spelled out for them.  That sounded like a good idea as well, so I set about to create what I thought was a fairly simple and cute variation on that original image.  I didn’t want to copy Miss Mel’s directly, and since I was going to a bunch assembly-line style, I wanted to simplify the process a wee bit from all of that tiny, sweet detail painting.  It’s not that I’m trying to dumb it down really (I don’t think you’re dumb!) , it’s just that them’s some tougher brushstrokes if you’re not used to painting for the tinies all the time.  I’m glad I did, my tiny brushstrokes and I are out of practice…. they would have been a mess.  Mel Sparkles and I both craft for our dollies, so maybe we have more practice than average, is all.  Anyway.  Let’s get started, shall we?

My Finished Gingerbread House Ornaments

My Finished Gingerbread House Ornaments

For this project, you will need:

*matchboxes, the small standard size
*gesso or white paint (I used a really nice, white Rust-Oleum spray paint that covers really well)
*brown acrylic paint
*any sort of white glue
*clear glitter, as well as any colors you desire
*holiday themed scrapbook paper and/or washi tape (I did both)
*dimensional paint in white (icing) or brown (chocolate sauce) and/or other colors for embellishing– (this can be that t-shirt paint we all used in junior high, you know, the little piping-tipped bottles we all used to make pep rally tees and junk?)  red and green were particularly handy with mine
*small lengths of narrow ribbon, about 8-10″ each ornament
*stickers, gems, sequins, no-hole beads, etc– anything you want to use to make your house look more yummy-delicious
*fine point Sharpie
*tiny hole punch, or if you don’t have one, straight pin for poking
*small (one 1/2″ flat-tipped is recommended) paint brushes, paper towels, water cup
*something to protect your work surface (newspaper, unopened trash bag)
*something tiny to tuck into the box

(Sorry about these pics ya’ll, the light is kinda crazy here this morning.)

All the Steps, Laid Out

All the Steps, Laid Out

One And Two

One And Two

This project is actually quite easy, breaking down into about eight steps.  The very hardest and most tedious part is at the beginning, where you’re trying to get the thing to stop looking like an advertisement for a match company and just be blank.  And letting everything dry between coats– there is a lot of waiting.

After I was almost done with mine, I found packs of 3 empty/blank matchboxes at Hobbeh Lobbeh for what amounted to about 75 cents each box.  Not a great deal, really, when I got packs of ten matchboxes (completely FILLED with these amazing sticks that set things on FIRE!) for a whole dollar at my nearby Food City.  If you only want three, maybe go with the easy ones, but if you’re doing a bunch, go bulk, fer shurez.

1.  Procure your matchboxes.

2.  Remove your matches from your tray, and separate the tray from the outside cuff/sleeve thingy.  Prime your sleeve via whatever your preferred method, either by gessoing, or by spraying it like I did.  I tried with the first one to use good old fashioned gesso, but I realized I’d need several coats and I didn’t have *time* for that.  (I only suggest it in case it’s too cold outside to do my real suggestion, it would eventually work.)  I laid mine out, all ten lined up, and spray painted them with some Rust-Oleum 2X cover spray paint.  This stuff is awesome, and it did a great job of blanking my little canvases.  My only tip here is that you lay them on the ground (on newspaper/something that’s weighted enough that it won’t blow away) and spray downwards at them.  The sleeves are so light that if you spray them at an angle, they can catch that little puff of air, and float up, banging into other wet boxes nearby, making a horrible mess.  Not that I would know or anything, just, erm, guessing….

After those have completely dried (and they’ll be really, truly dry in an hour or so, at least), flip them and get their backsides the same way.

Steps Three and Four

Steps Three and Four

3.  With your flat brush you are going to paint a rough shape of the peak of a house, and the narrow sides of the boxes in a ‘gingerbready’ brown color.  This is one of those situations where it really pays to use a slightly better craft paint, my boxes needed three (a couple needed *four*) coats of my cheap junk to get this part really nicely and evenly coated.

I started at my top center, and aimed for a spot about 1/3 the way down on the sides  for a nicely-shaped roof peak.  More importantly, try and make sure they are even on each side.  After you’ve painted your peak, paint the side panels from where the roofline meets, downward.  Don’t panic if your painted line doesn’t look absolutely perfect, you will have some room for fudging– almost literally– with the next two steps.

For the tray, I have started papering the outside edges of the tray with some washi tape and scrapbook paper. (Scraps would work really well for this project, by the way.)  I didn’t do the backs of the tray because I was trying to minimize the layers of paper that would be fitted in between the cuff and the tray part of the matchbox.

4.  After you’ve gotten a nice gingerbread appearance to your cuff and it has dried fully, thoroughly clean your flat brush (just so you don’t get any trace brown into your icing/snow), and paint on a thin layer of glue to your remaining white areas.  (Not the back of the sleeve.)  I used mod podge simply because I had it *rightthere* but a little watered-down elmer’s or aleene’s would work perfectly.  Sprinkle your clear glitter on your wet glue, and gently tap the box to remove excess, resprinkling glitter if you see any gaps in your final coat.  Set aside to dry.

Steps Five and Six

Steps Five and Six

5.  With your cuff, now is when I would start decorating with the dimensional paints.  I liked to run a line from the point in the peak down to the sides along that created roofline, blurring the area where my original brown paint line was.  I liked to either make that look drippy by globbing a little extra in certain places (that is a very technical artist’s term, “to glob”), but dots of color were also adorable and gumdroppy looking.  White looks the most ‘realistic’ as it emulates frosting and tricks the mind easily, but I also used brown for fudgy chocolate sauce, as well as some red and green… it all looks pretty yummy in the end.

You can also use this paint and just “pipe on” the rest of your details, making doors, candies, & snow-capped trees, or you can use other embellishments suggested in #6.

As for the trays, they are now sweetly paper-covered and ready for you to add some sort of hanging loop.  I have a really awesome tiny-hole punch that I used in the top center of each tray, but if you don’t have one, I imagine you could complete this step by using a long needle and poking the ribbon through.

You’ll need a bit of narrow ribbon, twine, embroidery floss, etc., about 8 to ten inches long.  Some people like to hang their ornies straight on the tree with the attached loops, and some people use those metal hooks in between, so the length of your loop can very pretty widely, you just want to be sure you’ve got a bit long enough that you can make a good knot in the bottom.

As it is sort of fiddly getting the ends of ribbon through that hole, once I’ve gotten both of the ends pushed through, I slide one of the matchsticks into the space on *top* of the box, to catch it, just so I don’t accidentally pull it out while trying to tie the knot on the inside portion of the tray.  (I know that sounds confusing, but it will make total sense the first time one of your bits of ribbon slips out of your tray!)

6.  Continue decorating the fronts of your gingerbread cottages.  Hob Lob sells the peppermint and cookie stickers you see a little bit of in the above picture, as well as larger stickers that look like gingerbread houses (which I used to “cheat” the painting process, below).  These make great detailed embellishments.  I also used little snipped pieces of washi tape to make easy doors.

Steps Seven & Eight

Steps Seven & Eight

7.  Decorate the backs.  I used another little piece of scrapbook paper for the outside sleeve part.  Again, you could use washi tape, or just a paper scrap with a generic colorful print.  As for the trays, like I said, I tried to keep the bulk out of the inside of the cuffs, so I just used a fine-point sharpie to write a little message and date my creation on the back.

8.  Put something cute in it, and hang it up!  My little cookie-looking tinies are mini ornaments from a AC Moore craft store, but you could also do small candies, or these would be a really sweet way to gift jewelry.

They didn’t turn out perfect, and the original flickr pic by Miss Mel is definitely more ornate and finely detailed than mine are, but I still think the variety in mine is super fun, and they will all look really fabulous on my sweets-themed, pink kitchen tree.

***Also, as a sort of bonus, I did two reeeeally simple ornaments out of the matchboxes.  One is simply covered in a band of scrapbook paper (the cute elf one), with no priming or anything fancy needed at all.  Really easy, would be cute for giving a gift, it’s maybe a little bit boring as an ornament.  BUT, if you wanted a group project, etc. for a girl scout troop or the like, this would be a pretty easy version of things that *could* be accomplished within a smaller amount of time.

The other one is a primed matchbox with a simple Hob Lob gingerbread house sticker placed on the front of it and trimmed down.  I’m a little sad that it is SO CUTE for something so easy, especially since I worked for a while to get the same gingerbread look without that same detailed effect.  Anyway, clearly there are lots of cute ways to get this done!

Even Easier Ornaments

Even Easier Ornaments

As always, if you try them, I want to see!  Happy holidays and have fun crafting!


4 Responses to “Makin’ Ornies For the Pintester Movement….”

  1. These are so friggen cute, and your tutorial is so detailed and awesome. Awesome job!

  2. Very cute! I could never do anything that tiny without screwing it up.

  3. Fun! I can’t wait to try making some for our tree!

  4. Wow super fancy! Love them!

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