October 26, 2023
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to transform Dollar store items into gorgeous, vintage-inspired Christmas bells.
As the holiday season is quickly approaching, it’s time to let the creative juices flow.
If you remember, last year we made small realistic Christmas bells using a toilet paper roll and a plastic easter egg.
They were such a hit, everyone loved them and couldn’t believe how realistic they looked.
This year we wanted to try making large Christmas bells similar to Pottery Barn’s bells at a fraction of the price.
While our bells are not brass, unless you tap them you’d swear they are metal.
They’re just that realistic.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to craft stunning, faux brass Christmas bells using affordable Dollar Tree items, bringing a touch of festive elegance to your Christmas decorations.
Get ready to roll up your sleeves and get crafting Christmas bells, not only are they easy to make, but also incredibly rewarding!
What do Bells Symbolize for Christmas?
Bells have long held a special significance in Christmas traditions.
They symbolize a variety of feelings that resonate with the spirit of the holiday season.
Firstly, the ringing of bells is often associated with joy and celebration, reminding us of the joyous birth of Jesus.
The harmonious chime of bells can also serve as a call to worship and a reminder of the religious significance of Christmas.
In addition, the ringing of bells is believed to ward off evil spirits and spread goodwill, making them a symbol of peace and blessings.
For instance in Switzerland some villages have dramatic processionals to acknowledge St. Nicholas Day.
You’ll find bright colors, clanging cowbells, glowing candles, and trumpets creating a festive atmosphere as well as scare away evil spirits that lurk during the dark days of winter.
The most elaborate and best known of these processions is the Klausjagen held on December 5 in the town of Küssnacht near Lake Luzern.
For years we’ve dreamed of traveling to Switzerland in December and celebrating the Christmas season.
Doesn’t it just sound magical?!
But for now, we’ll just add large Christmas bells to our homes and make them festive for the holiday season.
In a more secular context, bells are a universal symbol of festivity and merriment, adding a delightful, musical touch to the holiday ambiance.
Whether adorning your Christmas tree, decorating your door, or carried by Santa, Christmas bells continue to symbolize the magic and affection of the season.
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How Do You Display Christmas Bells?
Displaying Christmas bells can be a delightful way to infuse your holiday decor with vintage charm.
To create an eye-catching arrangement, consider hanging them from a garland along a banister or mantle, allowing them to dangle and catch the light.
Decorating your Christmas tree with a variety of bells can add both visual interest and the sound of delight, as they tinkle with every movement.
Placing a grouping of bells in a decorative bowl or tray can create a beautiful centerpiece for your dining table or coffee table.
For a more unique touch, you can hang them from a ribbon on your front door or add them to a beautiful wreath.
I vividly remember as a young child the sleigh bell strand my grandma hung from her front door.
Whether indoors or outdoors, arranging your Christmas bells throughout your home will create a magical atmosphere that truly captures the spirit of the season.
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What You Need to Make Faux Brass Christmas Bells
Are you ready to see what we used to create these bells?!
You’re not going to believe it!
Would you believe it’s a plunger and a bucket from Dollar Tree?!
While these bells are made from a variety of items from the Dollar store or recycled items, we made most of them with a plunger and bucket.
We also used a napkin ring for the top of the bell as the stringer.
We found them inexpensively at Zurchers with 8 in a package or you can find them on Amazon.
You’ll also need hot glue and paint.
Supply & tool list:
- bucket (pet treat container, Dollar Tree) or container that corresponds with the dimensions of the plunger. For example a large hot chocolate container or oats container align with the plunger too.
- napkin rings
- Krylon Fusion spray paint, matte coffee bean
- metallic gold spray paint
- Deco Art Metallics craft paint, rich espresso
- saw (we used our miter saw, but you can also use a hand saw)
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For some fun reactions to these bells, check out our YouTube video tutorial.
Assemble Christmas Bells
Let’s get started and assemble our Dollar Tree items and make a Christmas Bell.
First you’ll want to remove the handle from the plunger.
Cut the wood handle to the length you’d like the clapper to be on your bell.
For ours we made them about the length of the container.
Then drill a hole in the top of the clapper.
Next attached the plunger to the top of the container with hot glue.
Cut a long length of craft wire, about double the length of the container.
Then thread the napkin ring through the wire.
If you lift up on the plunger, it may be difficult to find your holes through both surfaces.
Finally twist the wires together to secure.
Leave the wire long, you’ll be attaching the clapper to this wire later.
Faux Brass Bell Finish
Once all of your bells are assembled you’re ready to start the faux brass finish.
The first coat will be the undercoat.
This coat is important and will not only act as a primer, but will also make your gold paint be more opaque.
This coat will also show through as you dab off a bit of the gold paint.
Tip: We found the Krylon Fusion spray paint to be superior to other paint with primers.
It bonds extremely well to the plastic with no peeling or chipping.
You want to also paint the inside of the container as well as the outside completely.
And don’t forget to paint the clapper too!
Let the paint fully cure before moving onto the next layer of paint.
Apply Metallic Gold Paint
For the second layer you’ll apply the metallic shiny gold spray paint.
Work in small sections as this paint dries super fast on the matte finish.
Spray a small area about 5″x5″ and then immediately dab off a bit of paint with a scrunched up paper towel.
We did find that we had a little more working time on the plunger area than the container for some reason.
Repeat until the entire bell is covered with this layer of gold paint.
Apply Metallic Craft Paint
The third and final layer is the Deco Art Metallic craft paint in rich espresso.
Apply this layer with an old paint brush randomly over the bell, again working in small sections.
And once again dab the wet paint to get a mottled look.
This layer really helps to add that brass tone, while adding depth and dimension to the finish.
Here’s a look at the difference in the finish between the 2nd and 3rd layers of paint.
The bell on the left is just the 2 layers of paint.
And the bell on the right has the 3rd layer with the rich espresso craft paint.
Follow these same steps for the bell clapper as well.
Finally attach the clapper to the bell with the wire and embellish your Christmas bell with rope and/or ribbon and greenery.
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Realistic Vintage Inspired Faux Brass Bells
Don’t you love this realistic finish?
You can’t tell it’s plastic unless you tap on it!
In this grouping of bells, the large bell is the plunger and bucket from Dollar Tree.
The medium size bell is made from a baking powder container and a plastic ramekin bowl from the dollar store.
And the smaller bell is made from a peanut container and a small plastic bowl from the dollar store.
One of my favorite bells we made is this long bell we made from an oats container.
The cardboard container had a few folds and cracks in it, which added to the faux paint finish on the bell.
Let me tell you, I’m itching to set up my Christmas tree and add a few of these large faux bells!
I can’t wait to share it with you in a few weeks!
If you’re like we are you’ll be looking at your trash in a whole new way, finding ways you can upcycle it into stunning Christmas bells.
Adding the timeless charm of vintage inspired Christmas bells will turn your home into a winter wonderland filled with the spirit of the season.
No question, they’ll serve as a reminder of joy and unity of the season, capturing the essence of what makes the holiday season so special.
Are you ready to make a few vintage inspired Christmas bells this year?
How would you decorate for Christmas using large Christmas bells?
And if you’re looking for more festive inspiration, then you’ll want to see the best outdoor Christmas decorating ideas made easy and Festive Christmas Front Porch Ideas.
Thanks for spending some time with us today, we hope you found a little inspiration here today!
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WE HOPE TO BRING YOUR HOME TO THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET!
Retailers We Love
- Birch Lane
- Crate & Barrel
- Joss and Main
- Mark & Graham
- One Kings Lane
- Pottery Barn
- Serena & Lily
- West Elm
- Williams Sonoma
- World Market
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