I love those vintage style metal Christmas bells popping up everywhere this year, but I don't love the price of many of them.
So when I cam across these very glitzy gold plastic bells in my local dollar store I looked past their less than desirable exterior and saw their lovely pattern and shape and bought them knowing they would be getting a serious makeover. Plus they were only $6 for a pair!
You will need:
Plastic bells or any other plastic ornament
Old kitchen scourer or soft type scourer
Rustoleum Antique Pewter spray paint (or similar)
Very light grey acrylic craft or house paint
Mid green craft paint ( I used Jo Sonja's brand in Jade)
Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint
A small 1 inch paint brush
Jute string & ribbon
Assorted Christmas pine greenery, berries and pine cones as desired
Remove any ribbons, smaller bells, decorations and hot glue from the bells. Rub all over inside and out with a soft scourer to give the plastic some texture to grip the paint. Don't try to scratch the surface, it's just a quick soft rub over like you were polishing it. I also removed any bits of excess plastic left over from the moulding process with a sharp craft knife just to tidy them up.
STEP 2 Turn your bells upside down and spray the interior of each bell with your pewter spray paint, I used an old milk crate as it allowed the bell to sit more or less upright. Allow a few minutes to dry then turn over and paint the outside of each bell, make sure if your bells have raised designs on them like mine to cover all the edges so none of the old colour shows through. Allow them to dry for a minimum of about 30 minutes.
STEP 3 Pour some of your very light grey paint into a container. Dip your brush into some water then into the paint so it's a watery paint like watercolour paints, not to thick, but also not dripping off the brush. Brush the paint all over one portion of the bell. My bells had sections in them so I did a quarter at a time, it's easier to get a nice finish if you do sections rather than paint it all at once.
Then before the paint dries use an old damp soft cloth to rub off most of the paint leaving it to settle in the hollows of your bell's pattern or grooves. Rub more paint off areas that would typically be worn over time. make sure to blend each section with the previous one so as not to have too much paint in one area as that would create an obvious line. Repeat on the inside of your bells.
STEP 4 Take some of your mid green paint and mix it with a little of your light grey paint to get a minty colour, this will simulate that verdigris you get on old metal. Using a damp cloth scrunched up so it isn't flat, dip the cloth lightly in the paint and then dab it randomly over your bell. use a cleaner part of the damp cloth to then lift off some of the paint by dabbing at it so you are left with a very subtle bit of green here and there, you don't want it to look like obvious spots of green.
My bells came with a gold plastic bauble inside as the bell's clapper and some metal gold bells on the exterior for decoration.
To give them some contrast to the bells I hung them on a wire and painted them with a light coat of Rustoleum's Oil Rubbed Bronze paint. When dry I used a damp cloth to dab the light grey paint over them and rubbed it off immediately to give them an aged appearance.
TIP: The spray paint may get inside your metal bell and stick the little bead inside to the base, just give them a good shake when dry and they will come lose so you bells can jingle as they are meant to.
Reattach your bell clangers using jute string to the inside of the bells, my bells had a hole in top to pass the string back through, so if your bells don't have that either drill a hold in the top, or glue the jute to the top inside of the bell. Hang the clanger at a height you can readily see it but not below the bell rim or too high.
Attach your bells to some greenery or a large wreath, whatever takes your fancy really. Then add a lovely bow and some tendrils of thin jute ribbon in natural tones to complement the now aged metal colouring of the bells.
I hope you found this tutorial helpful and will now be rushing out to acquire your own not so classy plastic mass produced bells to convert into timeless vintage style beauties.
Let me know in the comments below if you have saved some bells from a life of glitzy servitude!
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