If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The instructions in an ad in a craft magazine sounded simple. Ha! I was to mix Perfect Pearls Powder (an embossing powder) with water and swirl it inside a glass ball ornament. The powder and water was pretty, but acted like colored water. It did not adhere to the inside of the ornament. The website for Ranger Ink (in the magazine ad) didn't have this project listed. Googling for help led me to a similar project done by Tim Holtz on a Carol Duvall episode. According to those instructions, I needed to rinse the bulb with alcohol first, then coat it with something called Duo Adhesive.
Joann's doesn't carry Duo Adhesive. Neither does Michaels or Archivers. Andrea from By the Seat of My Pants gave me the name of a store that carried it. Yeah for Andrea! Armed with alcohol and Duo Adhesive, I began again.
Here is a ball with an interior coated in Duo Adhesive. It is draining and drying. Slowly. It went from this milky appearance to completely clear.
Next, I shook in some Perfect Pearls Powders (a few shades) and shook them around. The adhesive did hold the powder, but it was a very light coating. Pretty, but nothing that would show up against a Christmas tree at this point. The next step was to mix black acrylic paint and water, 50/50, and pour that inside the bulb. Initially it looked good, but once the excess paint began draining out, it looked too light again. I kept repeating that step. I guess the powder needed to be applied heavier. The sun is streaming in the window in this shot, but you can still see that this won't stand out against a green tree.
Going back to the directions in the magazine, the next step was to use alcohol based inks on the outside of the ball.
The bulb used in the first unsuccessful attempt had been rinsed with alcohol and I squirted a few colors of acrylic paint to swirl inside. I think I used too much paint. The swirls didn't last as I inverted the bulb to drain and I lost some of one color as another became predominant. Here is that bulb draining.
By the next day, and with use of a hair dryer to speed up drying, I had this to work with
This didn't thrill me, so I used the alcohol based inks again. Much better!
Someone in my backyard heard that I was dying round objects and thought I was making Easter eggs. Look at the visitor outside my window.
I am going to try the alcohol inks on clear bulbs tomorrow and swirl lighter colored paints inside other bulbs which will probably get the ink treatment too. If anyone has done this, I would love to hear about it. The alcohol ink (Adirondack brand) is permanent, but I am wondering how this will hold up on bulbs with friction of pine needles against it and then being packed away in an attic for 11 months.