Monday, January 14, 2013

Perfect Penguin Presents!

In November of  2011 I was a Pinterest virgin - those were sad times.  Needless to say, as soon as I was on it I was completely and utterly addicted to it.  I began pinning just a month and a half before Christmas which was prefect timing for me to get some really awesome present ideas.  One of my very first pins was a picture of these super cute penguin ornaments:

I believe this is where that pin originated from.

I'm sure many of you pinners have actually seen this pin as well. Maybe many of you have even tried them out.  Last Christmas I made about 15 of these for my family as stocking stuffers and they were such a hit. Even this year, people see them on my Christmas tree and say "I want a penguin ornament!"  So I made a few more this year and I want to give a brief tutorial with some little tips about how to make these fun, personalized ornaments.

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 60 watt light bulb (white or clear - the nice thing about the 
clear bulbs is that if the paint chips a little 
you can't really see the glass underneath)
  • An assortment of acrylic paints including black, white, red, orange, and blue. 
  • Various size paint brushes
  • Hot glue
  • String or ribbon

First things first:

Take your light bulb and make a bowling pin shaped outline on it using your black paint.

Tip: I also found that using a highlighter to make the outline first makes it easier because you can do it over and over until you get your outline right. Then you can trace the highlighter outline with your black paint.  The glass of the light bulb acts like a dry erase board so you can just wipe the highlighter off after you're done!

After you do a few ornaments you'll really get a feel for it and you won't even need the highlighter.

From there:

Fill in the entire area of the light bulb outside of the bowling pin shape with your black paint.  Be careful around the metal part at the top!

You'll need two coats of black paint to really make them look nice.

Tip: Make sure the paint has dried completely on your first layer before you begin your second coat.  The wet paint slides off the glass easily so if you start painting over it before it's totally dry the paint gets pulled off and it looks clumpy and sloppy.


After your second black coat has dried, begin your first white coat in the bowling pin area (or the face and body) of your penguin. Make sure you take some time to even out the edges of his body and make them look nice and smooth.  Also, check that the sides where his tummy gets fat and round are even.  Meaning, the left side of the body should get fatter in the same place that the right side gets fatter.  Otherwise you'll end up with a lopsided penguin!

Again, wait for your first coat to dry and apply a second coat.  Take the time to make the edges of his body as nice as possible!


Using your colored paints make two small blue eyes, an orange beak and two small rosy cheeks (I used my red paint with some white mixed together instead of buying a whole thing of pink acrylic).  To do the names and date I freehand it.  If you don't feel comfortable doing that you could probably print and cut out a stencil and then paint over them onto your penguin or possibly even try a light colored chalk to write them out first!

Tip: The end of your paint brush works really well the eyes, beak and rosy cheeks.  It's teeny and it leaves perfectly round marks!

Last but not least:

Throw a glob of hot glue on top and stick a string/ribbon loop on it. 

Tip:  Check out how big your loop is before you glue it on by holding it to a tree branch and seeing how low your ornament will hang, keeping in mind that your penguin will weigh it down a bit.  The first time I did it, I just estimated (I don't know what I was thinking because I'm really awful at guessing lengths) and it was such a huge loop that I didn't have enough space between tree branches to hang my little guy!

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