Artful Advice

How To Paint A Christmas Bauble with Emma Block

The illustrator's guide to making your own personalised festive decoration.


Emma Block


Anton Rodriguez

Emma Block is a very handy friend to have. As well as being a superb illustrator (just take a look at her Papier collection) she’s also a craft maestro adept at conjuring beautiful decorations for the home – quite useful at this time of year.

After she wowed us at her Papier Atelier bauble painting workshop, we wanted to let The Fold's readers discover her expert tips in a step by step guide for painting your own Christmas bauble. As painting onto a round surface isn't the easiest of tricks for the novice bauble designer, Emma has chosen a simple name design for you to do. Festive decorations, brush lettering, and personalisation, what more could you want from a Christmas craft guide?

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What you'll need:
– Unglazed ceramic bauble (you can find these online or in craft shops)
– Sketchbook, pencil & rubber
– Acrylic paint, small synthetic paintbrushes, pallet, water bowl
– Glitter glue
– Ribbon or twine & scissors

Step 1
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First, test your lettering with a pencil in a sketchbook. Draw a circle roughly the same circumference as the bauble and then write the name in the middle.

Step 2
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Practice painting over your pencil lines in black paint.

TIP: Painting on a round surface can be tricky so its best to keep your design simple. Make sure to use a small brush, water down the paint and keep the word short. Just painting a single letter can look really effective.

Step 3
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Now it's time to move over to the bauble! Pencil the name (or chosen word) on there.

Step 4
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Reach for your paintbrush once more and paint over your pencil lines with black paint.

TIP: When I’m brush lettering on paper I try to create the letters in one smooth brushstroke, however when I’m working on a bauble I often break the letter down into smaller sections, turning the bauble as I work. You always want to be pulling the brush, not pushing it, so moving the bauble around as you work can help you get smooth lines.

Step 5
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Once the paint has dried, rub out any pencil lines that are showing.

Step 6
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Mix green and blue paints to create three new shades for the decorative flourishes.

TIP: I often add white paint to the colour to make it more opaque, and to make the colours soft pastel shades. When mixing different greens you can vary the amount of blue, yellow, and even add eight tiny bit of black to make it darker and more muted.

Step 7

Apply small brush strokes in the 3 different shades around the name and slowly cover the front of the bauble.

Step 8
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Using the end of the brush, add small red and pink dots amongst the white spaces.

Step 9
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Squeeze a little gold glitter glue onto your palette and then dab a few smaller amounts over the green and blue brush strokes. This will make your bauble look really special and festive. (You could also use metallic paint.)

Step 10
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Finally cut a length of ribbon (or twine if you prefer), pull it through the hole at the top and tie a knot.

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Et voilà! Your own personalised bauble ready to hang on the tree!

If you've taken a shine to Emma's stylings, then take a scroll through her Papier collection of Christmas cards, notebooks and more.