Dino-Christmas! Make Ornaments from Plastic Animals

Make ornaments out of plastic dinosaurs (or other animals). Tutorial at Boxycolonial.com!

Last year, I spray painted a bunch of plastic dinosaurs to use for our Advent calendar. If there’s one thing that experience taught me, it’s that nothing screams “CHRISTMAS!!!!!” like glittery blue dinosaurs:

So this year I knew the dinosaurs needed a place in the Christmas spotlight again, even though they were displaced from their Advent calendaring job by our cone trees.

Owing to how we accidentally bought The Fattest Christmas Tree in the World, our ornaments were looking a little sparse this year. Why, 24 blue and silver dinosaurs was exactly the thing for it! So I drilled holes into their poor dino backs and turned them into ornaments.

One could, of course, use any plastic animals for this project, not just dinosaurs. In fact, my original inspiration for the dinosaur Advent calendar was this post on Curbly, about turning a variety of animals, in all stages of extinction and….not, into ornaments.

What you need (affiliate links):


*plastic dinosaurs or other plastic animals (this link takes you to the ones I bought on Amazon last year; this year they’re around $13 with free Prime shipping)

*spray paint or acrylic paint (more on this later, but I recommend Krylon)

*Glitter Blast (if you want your dinosaurs to SPARKLE. I used the clear Glitter Blast over the paint, but they also sell it in colors)

*Screw eye rings (I tried my hardest to find an Amazon link for this, but I can’t figure out the right size from the descriptions. Mine were from Ace and say “Small Screw Eyes” 5/8 inch. They’re very little. They say they’ll hold 20 pounds. Obviously my dinosaurs are not quite that heavy.

*drill with really skinny drill bit

* Baker’s Twine or other string for hanging


What you do:

1. Paint your dinosaurs. So I did step one of this whole process, the painting part, last year. If you want, you can read about it here, but, pretty much, I laid out all the dinosaurs and spray painted them the colors I wanted. Now, maybe you’ll remember that time I made a snake wreath and spray painted the snakes and then the paint NEVER DRIED? Yeah, that happened with some of these dinosaurs, too. I took them out of the box this year, and the paint was STILL tacky. But other dinosaurs were completely fine! Mystery! As near as I can tell, Krylon is the magic formula for getting paint to dry well on plastic. The ones that I used Krylon paint on, plus the ones that got a hefty dose of Krylon’s Glitter Blast, were nice and un-sticky. To be totally safe, you can always hand paint these with acrylic paint. But I’d try the Krylon + Glitter Blast combo, because handpainting a million plastic animals sounds really time consuming. Anyway, I repeated the trick I learned with the snake wreath and sprayed the tacky ones with some acrylic spray sealant before moving on, and now they’re fine and people can totally touch them without getting silver hands.

2. Glitter Blast! For good measure, glitter blast everything in your house while you’re at it. Everything’s better with glitter. EVERYTHING.

3. Take your drill with the really skinny drill bit in it and drill a pilot hole in each dinosaur’s back.


I know it looks like he’s crying out in pain here, but he’s fine, really. He’s just plastic.

4. Screw eye rings into pilot holes. Okay, so the dinosaurs are hollow, so the trick here is to make sure you don’t put these so far in that there’s nothing for the threads to grip on to. I screwed them in until the threads had just disappeared into the plastic and then stopped.


5. Tie a loop of twine or string on and hang on the tree. quick and easy!

dino03s dino04s dino09s dino02s

I’m linking up with Dare to DIY: Deck the Halls at Newly Woodwards, the very last Dare to DIY of 2014. Sniff, sniff. Head on over and see what everyone else has been up to!


Also linking with:

Thrifty Decor Chick’s Christmas Tree Party


Dino-Christmas! Make Ornaments from Plastic Animals — 37 Comments

    • Glad to have some outside confirmation on the Krylon thing! I remember reading somewhere that it’s what works on plastic, and then I THOUGHT I remembered that being true when I painted these, but I wasn’t sure 🙂

    • Thanks, Amber! They like them, but personally I feel like they should show a little MORE excitement and gratitude about what a ridiculously fun mother I am 😉

  1. So i don’t have children, but I feel like tiny humans would LOVE this. I would find it most excellent to visit someone’s home and find sparkly dinos on the tree. I’m adding this to my to-do list for next Christmas.

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  4. I have had similar sticky and non-sticky issues, but have found that if I wipe the pieces down with rubbing alcohol before I paint them, it helps the paint adhere. Make sure they are good and dry. Also, metallic craft and all surface craft paints work better than just plain acrylic paints. I also usually wait 24-48 hours after I’m done painting and then seal them with a clear gloss or semi-gloss either sprayed or brushed on. I think I have far too much fun painting plastic animals!

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