If you look around my blog, you will find out that wood is one of my favourite materials to paint on. I like how absorbent it is, yet how smoothly paint goes onto the wooden surface, and how well it bonds. Because it is more interesting than painting on a rectangular panel, I often end up painting cutting boards, caskets – and bangles.
Wooden bangles are fun to paint for everyone, no matter what age. There is great potential for expressing your style by decorating your own jewellery. Or for someone else’s! Decorating a wooden bangle for a friend, sister, auntie or grandma is certain to be appreciated. While children as young as one-year-old can paint a wooden bangle in their preciously abstract style, I would like to offer a project idea that older children, teenagers and adults may want to try.
Not all that long ago, I used to sell painted bangles through my Etsy store. Most of them took several hours to paint, because I tried to squeeze extensive miniature paintings onto their narrow wooden surfaces. Then one day, as a break from those elaborate designs, I decided to make a simple bangle. I imagined the yellow eyes of a snowy owl, staring from the whiteness of a wooden band. One bangle took about half an hour to make, yet upon completion, I found that I liked it more than my much more laborious creations. That often happens with me!
Another animal that sure can stare is a cat. I am not certain whether it was the memory of my cat staring at me or a poster of my favourite musical Cats that inspired the second one, which is black with yellow cat’s eyes.
But of course, cats and owls are not the only ones with expressive glances! I can imagine a polka dot panda bangle, or a stripy tiger bangle. What animal is your favourite? I hope my tutorial can be an inspiration for a fun craft project!
Materials for Painting Wooden Bangles
– blank wooden bangles (1″ wide)
– gouache, tempera or acrylic paints
– varnish (if you use acrylic paints, any acrylic varnish will work, but my favourite here is DecoArt Triple Thick Gloss Glaze. If you use gouache or tempera, the varnish should be non-water-based, but particularly for the white bangle I recommend Golden MSA Varnish because it is the only one I have tried that does not yellow)
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1. Select your bangle size (XS, S, M, L and XL are available here, and the ones you see on the pictures are L).
2. Using the paint of your choice, put a base coat on your bangle. You can use a paint brush for smooth finish (like on a black bangle), or if you want a eggshell texture (like on a white bangle), a sponge.
3. After the paint is thoroughly dried, lay out the facial features with a pencil. Ensuring that the paint is quite dry and that the pencil is not too hard will help prevent permanent marks where they aren’t wanted.
4. Prepare brushes and paints for the facial features. For either design, blue, yellow, ochre, white and black are all you need. Small round brushes are ideal for painting the fine details.
5. Paint! Fill the eye areas with yellow paint and lightly mark the outlines of the animal faces. Then, once all of the paint has thoroughly dried, rub off any uncovered pencil with an eraser.
6. With a small round brush or an ink pen, outline the eyes and draw eye pupils in them. As a final stroke, put white highlights in the eyes.
7. Varnish your bangle, following the directions on the jar.
What animal are you going to paint? Grab a few blank bangles and have a family painting session!
If you liked this craft, you may also be interested in:
Visit my fellow bloggers to find more ideas on how to entertain older kids indoors during cold months:
– Indoor Activities for Tweens from What Do We Do All Day?
– 10 Ways to Create with Yarn from Betsy’s Photography
– Inside Activities Promoting Growth Mindset from Planet Smarty Pants
– Pom Pom Races from Lemon Lime Adventure
– How to Learn Math with Paper Snowflakes from Thriving STEM
– Simple Duck Tape Bracelets from The Gingerbread House