Paintbrush Santa Ornament Tutorial

by Susan Myers on November 5, 2010

Create a cute Santa ornament from a recycled paint brush!  A great way to recycle and create beautiful holiday decorations at the same time!  This easy step by step tutorial will show you how.

paintbrush santa ornaments

I get inspiration from just about everywhere. The funny thing about a mind that crafts is that you can look at most anything and come up with ideas. Unfortunately, I don’t always know exactly what I am going to do with something. But if I run across something that interests me, I will stock up on it and store it and wait for inspiration to strike.

My husband humors me on this. He ignores my closets full of boxes, my toilet paper tube collection, my pickle jar collection, my stacks of vintage craft magazines and all those pieces and parts that I amass from the thrift stores. In exchange, I cook his dinner and allow him a few hours a day on the computer when I’m not using it. It works out. Ha!

Today, I am pulling out an ornament from my stash and re-creating it. This ornament was originally made by a member of my ornament club and given to me in 1997. This craft is not so original as I have seen many versions of santas painted onto paint brushes, but I wanted to put my own personal twist into it.

For this project I used:

One 2 1/2″ paint brush
Acrylic Paints
Cardstock in white, red and green
Quilling tool
Clear acrylic spray
White glue

Begin by dipping your 2 1/2″ paint brush into white paint, coating both sides of the bristles thickly. Lay it on wax paper to dry. You will probably have to turn it over once one side is dry so that the other side can have equal opportunity. It took mine about 12 hours to dry completely.

Now, using peach colored acrylic paint, paint the metal part of the front of your ornament. (One side with have 2 1/2″ transcribed into the metal- make this your back side). It may take a couple coats of paint to get the coverage you desire.

Add two touches of red paint to the wet peach paint and blend in for color in his cheeks.  Paint the back side of the metal part white.  Paint the handle red. This will most likely take several coats and you will need to do both sides.

Once all the base coats were dry, I added a plaid pattern to his hat using overlapping cross hatching and several other colors. This pattern is totally up to you. In all actuality, the hat can just be red. But I’m a plaid kinda girl, so that is the way I roll.

Next, I painted in the eyes.

Once all the paint is dry, it is time to add the quilled paper. Cut strips of 1/4″ white card stock. I started by making tight coils for the hat trim. Use your quilling tool to coil a strip of paper tightly. Add a dab of white glue to the end and hold for a moment to allow the coil to stay. Then glue along the rim of the hat, creating the trim.

To create his eyebrows, cut the 14″ strip of paper in half and then coil it with the quilling tool. Allow the coil to loosen, then tack it with white glue. Pinch each end of your coil and shape in a U shape. Glue down over his eyes.

His nose is made with a small length of 1/4″ wide red cardstock. Coil tightly, and then glue down.

Create his mustache by creating loose coils and pinching on one end. Glue down.

The ivy leaves are created with loose coils of green, pinched on each end and then pinched again in the middle. The berries are tight coils of red 1/8″ thick cardstock.

His hair is created by cutting a 1 1/2″ thick strip of white paper. Using scissors, cut a fringe, stopping the cut at about 1/8″ from the top. Glue this fringe at the top of the metal piece on the paintbrush, starting with one side of his face and working your way around the back, to the other side of the face. Once the glue has dried, you can use your quilling tool to curl the individual strips of hair.

Spray the entire ornament with clear acrylic spray and when it is dry, add a contrasting bow to the hole in his hat.

A vintage craft with a new twist. And that is what crafting is all about.

Want to try your hand at quilting?  My newest quilt Pattern- Batiks Gone Wild!

batiks gone wild quilt pattern

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Grandma Ellen July 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Thank you for a wonderful idea! We are going to make these in my church craft group! (~.~)


2 Suzy July 8, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Awesome! I would love to see your projects when they are done!


3 Grandma Ellen July 8, 2012 at 2:22 pm

We are going to make these at my church craft group! (~.~) Ellen


4 Molly Smith September 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Way, way too cute, Suzy! I know what it takes to get picked at The CSI Project, much less #1. Wow, CONGRATS to you. I love-love your personal twist of the plaid handle (oops, hat) and the curled hair .. adorable! Thanks for sharing :)


5 Vivienne @ the V Spot August 30, 2011 at 6:01 pm

That is so cute!


6 Andy Porter December 20, 2010 at 4:35 am

Ha ha!! Paintbrush ornaments. That is just way too cool!


7 LambAround November 27, 2010 at 6:31 pm

OMG! These are absolutely adorable!
If you get a chance, I'd love for you to link to this on my blog hop :)


8 Lori November 17, 2010 at 1:39 am

I'm featuring this at Life As Lori. If you would like stop by and grab my I was featured please do so.


9 Ashlee @ I'm Topsy Turvy November 15, 2010 at 10:01 am

Cute! What a fun ornament. And that quilling and paint job! you did an amazing job. Thanks for linking up to Topsy Turvy Tuesday's!


10 Moe November 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm

This is such a great idea! I would love to have this linked up to my first ever link party Hooray for the Holidays! over at Cross My Hooks!

I hope you pop by!


11 mermaid November 12, 2010 at 10:32 am

Oh, these are so cute!
What a wonderful idea!


12 Oh Sew Addicted November 10, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Wow! Stopping by from Hoo's Got Talent and definitely you do! What a great great project! I am very impressed.
Fabulous tutorial!
carla louise


13 Jane November 10, 2010 at 4:25 pm

So cute! My son is a house painter and is in his own house this year. I am going to make him some of these for his Christmas tree. He will love them. Thanks for the idea.


14 Jill November 10, 2010 at 3:27 pm

I love your updated version! I've never seen the santa paint brush before either!!


15 MessyMissy November 10, 2010 at 4:31 am

Never seen a Santa paintbrush before. Love the paper quilling you added!!!


16 Amanda November 9, 2010 at 2:40 am

Very cute Suzy! I've featured you on Craft Gossip :)


17 Colleen @ MuralMaker&More November 9, 2010 at 1:28 am

Thanks for linking up to Passion for Paint. Hope you'll stop by again some weekend.


18 Krafty Kat November 9, 2010 at 12:12 am

So cute! Love the mustache! Found you at It's So Very Cheri.


19 Judy @ In His Grip November 8, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Oh my heck, these are so cute. I have never seen them before. Love them.


20 Pinkie November 8, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Found you on Skip to My Lou. What a cute, creative idea. I don't think I could paint them as cute as you did though. LOL


21 One Shabby Old House November 8, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Very cute! Being the painter I am that just may work for the brushes I forget to clean. lol


22 Jenny @ Embellishing Life November 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Those are some cute Santas! I would love it if you came and linked them up at the Craft Catwalk tonight!


23 Corinna November 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm

These are absolutely adorable. Way too much work for me with the quilling, but it really makes them look great! :)


24 Anel November 8, 2010 at 3:14 pm

these are soooo cute!!! thanks for sharing I will def try it myself


25 Stacey November 8, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Wow, these are adorable. I don't know if I have the patience for the plaid painting but it looks amazing. These would make adorable teacher gifts. I better get painting.


26 Patricia L November 8, 2010 at 1:39 pm

So cute! I think the quilling is a good finishing touch. Found you @ Skip to My Lou.


27 Ann Martin November 8, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Looks really cute, Suzy – you are a plaid-painting wizard!


28 It's A Priceless Life November 8, 2010 at 1:21 am

This is a really cute and fun looking project. I would love to try this one with my grandson!! Thanks for sharing! I'm your newest follower. Come check out my blog when you have a minute!!
Shantel @


29 Beth @ Wiccan Make Some Too November 7, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Such a cute idea! Love the updated look.


30 Sandy Ang November 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm

What an absolutely original Christmas project !
Love to see you at my Christmas Card Challenge


31 IndieSpotting November 6, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Wow, how cute! Love the quilling, too! :)


32 Colleen @ MuralMaker&More November 6, 2010 at 2:29 am

Darling! Now I know what to do with my old brushes! Plus, as a painter, I'd totally love these! Now I know what to give my artist buddies!

Would love you to stop by and link up to Passion for Paint this weekend.


33 Sparta Savings November 5, 2010 at 7:48 pm

What a cute idea! I would love to have you link it up to my Christmas gift Party!


34 Krista @ While He Was Napping November 5, 2010 at 7:04 pm

These are so cute! I have seen similar, but definitely love all the detail in yours! Thanks for linking to Weekend Wander.



35 Erin November 5, 2010 at 6:11 pm

What a great idea!! The santas are adorable! :)


36 The Answer Is Chocolate November 5, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Oh these are fabulous!


37 Erin November 5, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Oh my gosh! So cute!!!


38 Donene November 5, 2010 at 2:42 pm

So, so cute! I love how they turned out!


39 Dizzy C November 5, 2010 at 1:28 pm

These are fab!!
I too love the quilling. I tried a little quilling a few years ago when I had more time for craft.

Whenever I stand there trying to get the satin white paint out of my brushes I will think of your Santas :)



40 Lynne November 5, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I love the quilling details you added. You could totally recycle this for the ornament club since it looks so different from the original.


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