One-Stroke Painting Projects for Christmas


The one-stroke painting technique developed by artist Donna Dewberry is a way to paint and shade using different colors of paint loaded on a brush at the same time. This allows you to create dimension easily on any painting project. With just a little practice, it's possible to create handmade painted items to give as gifts or to decorate your home for Christmas or any special event.

The Technique

  • The one-stroke painting technique is an easy way to paint everything from flowers to ribbon on any object. Using acrylic paint for most projects, load a flat brush of various sizes with two or more colors of paint. For example, if you are painting a leaf, you might want to load half of the brush with dark green paint and the other half with light green paint. You accomplish this by placing the two colors next to each other and bringing the brush through both colors at the same time. Once the brush is loaded, bring the brush to your work and stroke the paint to create the shapes you wish. The two-toned paint will automatically shade your work, creating depth and dimension. Instructions for brush strokes and loading the brush can be found in most art and crafts stores or online at Donna Dewberry's website (

Holiday Cards

  • Make your own holiday cards for Christmas using one-stroke painting and some standard card-making supplies. Paint everything from classic poinsettia designs to fanciful snowmen on note card paper, then embellish them with glitter, ribbon and stamped holiday greetings. Be sure to add a small, painted embellishment on the envelope for that special holiday touch.


  • A great reason to learn how to use the one-stroke paint technique is the wide range of items you can decorate and embellish. Using glass enamel paint, you can make special holiday glassware that will be a pleasure to use or give as a gift. Brilliant poinsettias, pine needles or holly and ivy can brighten a holiday table. Play with the design on a piece of paper before painting it on the glasses you will be using so that you can change the pattern if you need to.

Gift Boxes and Bags

  • Wrapping paper, boxes and bags are an expensive part of Christmas gift giving. Use the one-stroke painting technique to decorate plain items that can be used to hold gift items. For example, find a plain, sturdy box and paint one large design in the center. Decorate the edges of the box with shaded stripes and dots. Add glitter to embellish the painting, if desired. Spend a day painting all the wrapping items you need so that they dry completely before you use them.

Serving Items

  • A serving tray that can be used as part of your holiday decorations or given as a gift is an easy project to paint. Find a plain, old tray and paint it a solid color enamel. Decorate it with flowers, ribbons, ornaments or snowmen. Seal the paint with varnish, decoupage medium or clear acrylic after it has completely dried to protect your design. Pair the tray with matching glasses, cups, teapot or other items to make a set worthy of gift giving to your favorite hostess.

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