Antiquing Christmas Bells

If you’ve watched all the 2021 Christmas decor videos on Youtube, you’ll know that antique Christmas bells are trending and DIYing them has been the way to go. I saw Jenna Pierce do this last week on Youtube and was so impressed. Here’s the link to her video.

Today I found some sets of bells about 5″ tall at a local store. The bells called me over and told me to paint them. Challenge accepted. Here’s what they looked like this morning…

Metal bells with metal ribbons connected with metal hanging planter chain.

I knew I’d have to separate them and this took forever (2 hours). I ended up breaking the metal off at the top of the rings. There’s a little left over but that’s okay and will be hidden by ribbon or a Christmas pick.

Photo taken under a cool light. I moistened a small piece of scrunched up paper towel, dabbed some dark brown paint on it and dabbed it on the bell. I waited for that to dry (yeah right) and did the same thing with some black paint.

At this point the paint was easy to scratch off so I had to be careful with them. Not sure if priming the metal would have given me the same effect. I finished the three and then went and bought the other set they had and repeated the process.

This photo was taken under a warm light so they looked a little different.

They need some matt varnish tomorrow but I’m so pleased with how they turned out. Painting them only took about 2-3 minutes each. I didn’t put black paint on a couple of them so there’d be lighter and darker ones. The gold/brass colour has been toned down perfectly.

The value (darks and lights) of these objects are about the same (if this was a black and white photo you’d see what I mean). If I was to put these together as they are on a table, I’d want some dark and light items around it so they don’t blend together and look boring.

After I was notified I had to get a 3D breast scan after my first breast cancer screen, it was hard not to worry for 10 days until the appointment. It didn’t help that the screening was 2.5 hours away. It turned out to be normal but I needed some serious retail therapy, hence the hand carved tray.

After watching Valentina Fussell’s (House of Valentina) videos on hygge, I started a Pinterest board for hygge pictures. I’m finding I’m mindful to buy decor that fits in with what’s on my board and I’m liking it more as it fits in with the overall design style I’m creating for my home. While this tray of treasures looks fairly rustic, There’s metal, wood and greenery and some shiny bells. I look for different textures and things that will go with luxury, French country modern with a little timeless rustic. I like the timeless look so mixing styles will work well as long as it’s not overdone.

After varnishing. The 3rd and 5th ones from the left had a problem when the second coat of spray matt varnish where it crinkled up in places like I’d put crushed up plastic wrap on them. While I was disappointed at first, it adds a lot of texture to them. The colour became deeper and richer with the second coat. I like how there’s still some sheen even with the matt varnish.

Here’s some detailed photos of one with the texture and how the paint reacted to the varnish.

The crackle is the varnish. I love how the brown paint interacted with the bell and varnish.
Same bell. I have never had that texture happen when spray painting. The copper colour is fabulous and totally unexpected.
This is as close to the final colour as I can photograph.

Can’t wait to use them in a Christmas arrangement. I can’t believe they turned out this awesome! Thank you Jenna for the inspiration.

Happy painting,


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