Decorating Christmas Ornaments with the Eggbot

Engraved, painted ornament   Ornament with StarsClear glass engraving   Ornament

As we are approaching that time of year when conifers tend to sprout up in living rooms, here are some techniques and tips for making awesome personalized ornaments with the EggBot.

Star Ornament

Standard glass “globe” christmas ornaments work very well in the EggBot. While sharpies do draw very well on a shiny glass surface, we’ve found this particular type– with a matte finish on the outside –to work extremely well. The matte finish is a great substrate for the markers, providing vibrant colors with very little effort. The stars above were drawn in just a few minutes with a yellow Sharpie, which leaves a light mark that is normally hard to see. On the matte finish, however, it shines brightly. The matte finish also hide fingerprints and dust, which otherwise show up very well on shiny ornaments.

In order to mount an ornament in the Eggbot, you need to temporarily remove the hanger, like so:

Ornament Stem - 4   Ornament Stem - 5Ornament Stem - 6   Ornament Stem - 7Ornament Stem - 2   Ornament Stem - 3

Slowly and carefully pull the hanger straight out. Be careful, because the hanger is a little bit springy and there are sometimes small rough edges of the glass (under the top cap piece) that can be dislodged by the hanger as you pull it. (Flying glass bits: bad!)

Once the hanger is out with the top cap, you need to pull the hanger piece out of the cap. Pinch the two sides of the hanger in so that you can slide it out of the cap.

Replace the top cap on the ornament so that you can use that side to mount it in the Eggbot.

Ornament with Stars in Eggbot

Mount the ornament in the Eggbot with the top cap towards the spring-loaded tailpiece, so that the ornament base can connect securely to the motor that spins it.

Ornament with Stars in Eggbot

Eggbot-friendly single-line text can be rendered with the Hershey Text extension for Inkscape, which is now installed as a standard part of the Eggbot software. Different colors are drawn one a time, with a pen change in between.


This one has smaller text, a little harder to read without going to a finer point pen. It reads, “Happy Holidays 2011 from the Lyman, Balmer, and Paschen Family!”


Going in a different direction, here’s a particularly fine example of a geometric pattern on an ornament, as drawn by original Eggbot inventor Bruce Shapiro.

Clear glass engraving

This is a simple clear glass ornament, etched with the low-precision diamond engraver attachment. You can actually make etched glass ornaments this way, although some care is required to avoid cracking the glass.

Engraved, painted ornament

The engraver attachment really shines in a slightly less demanding task: removing paint from ornaments. This ornament (also by Bruce) was silver with a black spray-painted coating that was chipped away with an engraver tip.

Engraved ornament

Finally, here’s another example of engraving away paint, by Eggbot user Dan Newman. This mirror-like black ornament has a silver finish inside and a very thin glossy black paint outside. The paint engraves away cleanly with a very light touch, leaving silver lines where it was removed.

7 thoughts on “Decorating Christmas Ornaments with the Eggbot

  1. I bet using Vitrea markers on heavier glass items (or Porcelaine for ceramics) that could withstand the oven curing would make some really cool ornaments or decorations.

  2. Is there a tutorial on how to do the geometric patterns like on Bruce’s ornament? I’m only just scratching the surface with Inkscape so far. Thanks.

    1. What do you mean boring? If one decorates eggs or ornaments, it is not boring. I am contemplating the new eggbot that marks ostrich eggs but apprehensive about the computer end. I am a computer dummy so………

  3. Yes, we know. That was the last Eggbot post of the year. ;)

    We’re currently working on a dozen or so other projects, some of which– including all-new open source kits and a cooking project –will be ready very soon.

    Windell H. Oskay

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