Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Christmas ball ornaments: How-to!

So I had this idea over a year ago for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ornaments. I saw somebody post it online and thought it seemed like an easy enough project. I think this is the listing I saw, though there now appear to be many variations on the theme.

But then Christmas got busy with my Pokéball Wreath, so the project was shelved.

Until now! Because the Christmas season is so hectic, I thought I’d make these ornaments now and save time later in the year.

So without further introduction, here’s how I made my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Christmas ball ornaments!

Materials needed

  • Four green ball ornaments
  • Blue, red, purple, and orange paint
  • Googly eyes
  • Hot glue
  • Painter’s tape

I used four large balls, plastic, 4″ in diameter. They were on 90% clearance at Hobby Lobby after Christmas, so it was less than a dollar for all four. The googly eyes are 1″ in diameter.

Assembling the ornaments

First, I taped off the ornaments to paint the turtles’ masks. The mask should be in the center of the ornament and should be wide enough that the googly eyes fit inside it. Putting painter’s tape around a spherical object isn’t perfect, and my lines aren’t completely parallel, but close enough!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ornament

Then the painting begins. It always amazes me how, even within one brand of paint, some shades go on thicker than others. Leo’s mask took 3 coats, Donnie’s took 4 coats, and Mikey and Raph’s both took 7.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ornament

I added a new coat of paint about every ten minutes. In between coats, I put my wet brushes into a Ziploc bag to eliminate the tediousness of washing brushes between coats. The baggie works very well in keeping the brushes wet.

After the paint, it was time for the googly eyes!

Googly eyes

The googly eyes have a little flap on the back for sewing them onto dolls. That little protrusion makes gluing them onto a spherical surface a little tough, so I pushed that flap down as best I could. In the picture below, you can kind of see how the left eye’s flap doesn’t stick out as far as the right eye’s flap. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

Googly eyes back

Finally, glue the eyes to the masks!

This project was a lot of fun, super easy, and I completed it over the course of two nights. I can’t wait to put them on the tree next year!


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle ornament

Pokeball Christmas Wreath

This year, as I prepared for Christmas, I wanted to come up with a decoration that fit the season but also fit my nerdy, video game interests. I’d seen wreaths before made out of ornament balls, so I decided to make one myself.

Only with Pokéballs!

All you need for this project are Christmas balls, red and green glitter spray paint ($8 a can at Hobby Lobby), a strong wire (like a coat hanger), electrical tape, and ribbon.

First, I gathered the balls, about 70 total.

White and silver Christmas balls

Because the Pokéballs were going to be green and red, I used white and silver balls to fill in the gaps. I eventually added some plain red balls as well.

The larger white balls served as the base for the paint. Putting painters tape around the circumference, I spray painted the tops of half with red glitter paint and half with green.

Spraying green glitter paint on the pokeballs.

I held the balls in my hand and spray painted them, then set them in a box to dry.

I quickly found that the glitter paint was harder to work with than normal spray paint. You can’t really push the button down lightly. If you do, only a clear glue comes out, not the paint. So I held the balls at arms length and tried to apply the paint as lightly as possible. In some cases the paint clumped together as it dried, but other times it stayed on evenly. I’m not sure what caused the difference.

In the future, it’d probably look better to spray the balls with normal green and red paint first, and then put a second, lighter coat of glitter paint on top.

The masking tape didn’t work perfect: sometimes the paint dribbled through.

Red pokeball ornament with paint dribble.

What was most unusual is that sometimes the glue part of the glitter paint pooled at the bottom of the ball, under the masking tape, leaving the sides cleaner than the bottom.

When painting the balls, make sure to leave the “top” hole of the ornament in the center of the ball and toward the back. Once on the wreath, since this messy back-end will be facing the wall, nobody sees too many dribbles.

I followed this woman’s general plan for assembling the wreath. One thing she recommends, which I didn’t realize until all the balls were strung on, is hot glue the metal top of the ball to the ornament itself. Once all the balls are on the wreath, the pressure of so many objects together can cause the balls to pop out of their holders, making it very difficult (and frustrating) to get them back on again.

After all the balls were strung, the wreath was nearly complete. I put about 3-4 small balls between each Pokéball. Because gravity wants to pull all the balls toward the bottom of the wreath, hide any remaining wire at the top with ribbon.

And that’s all there is to it!

Completed pokeball wreath

To make the black line separating the color and white halves, I used electrical tape. I cut strips of tape into four or five smaller stripes, almost like pinstripping, then cut a line circle by hand. The electrical tape sticks well and hides some of the paint dribbles as well.

Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with this project, even if some of the paint on the balls isn’t perfect.

Merry Christmas!


Detail on the Pokeball wreath

Detail on the Pokeball wreath

Update: 1/5/2014

As I packed away my Christmas decorations this season, I couldn’t help but be bothered by all those balls that popped off while I manipulated the wreath. So I took all the balls off the wire, then glued the metal parts in place.

I used super glue, and the process was quite easy, though time consuming. I learned not to pull the metal part off completely: the glue will dry before you bend the little wires to get it back on. So instead I pulled the metal part back just a little bit, put a dab of glue down, then pressed the metal into place.

The only balls I didn’t glue were the Pokéballs. I thought the wreath looked best with all the Pokéballs turned color-side-up, so I left the metal parts unglued so that I could twist them into place once they were back on the wire.

I rethreaded the balls, and only one ball popped off, a green Pokéball at the bottom of the wreath (where all the weight puts pressure on the balls). I’m so glad I took the time to do this. Now I won’t have to wrestle with this wreath next season!

The only task that remains is finding a box that’s wide and flat to store the thing in!