One of our favorite Christmas traditions is getting a new ornament for the tree each year. Our parents started getting one for us right from the year we were each born so that we would have something to take with us and put on our tree when we got married and moved out.
Some years we buy a new ornament and some years we make them. Today we want to show you how to make your own clay ornaments as a Christmas in July option! These are a blast to make with kids to keep them busy during the holidays or you can make them for grandkids and friends. As adults we think they are pretty fun to make too!
We have a friend who is really good with clay. She taught us how to make these and we thought we would take you along for the ride. They are really fun and easy to personalize for each person.
What you need:
A flat working space that can get dirty. Colored clay can stain so you want to choose a space that can get messy. You can purchase a special mat that sticks to your table or our friend has a floor tile that is very smooth and glossy.
Rolling pin (one that you are okay not ever cooking with again)
Take your desired cookie cutters and wrap them in plastic wrap. They will be your pattern and wrapping them will protect them so you can cook with them still. If you like you can also draw your own shape on some paper to use as a pattern.
Take your clay and work it in your hands for a minute. If you are allergic to the colors like we are, use these gloves. This will warm it up and make it easier to work with. Roll it out pretty thin. There isn’t really too much science about how thin however if it’s too heavy it’ll fall off your tree.
Place your cookie cutter on the clay and press just hard enough to make a print. Take your knife (whether a plastic clay knife or an X-acto knife) and cut around the imprint.
If you are using a hand drawn pattern just cut along the paper.
Make and cut two imprints of each shape.
Take a paper clip and straighten it out using needle nose pliers. Twist one end into a loop. Twist the other end all around into squiggly shapes (if you leave the clips just straight it will come out of the clay too easy).
Slash delicate lines in the two pieces. You don’t want the slashes to go very deep. This is simply to help the two pieces bind together as they bake.
Place the paper clip at the top of the ornament and put the two cut out pieces of clay together. Gently rub the sides to erase the line and make it look like one piece. You can also erase other flaws or mistakes by simply rubbing the clay gently.
At this point if you want to add some fun clay accents you can. Just decide what shapes and throw them on too.
You can tie a ribbon through the loop now and you are ready to go! Or you can take it one step farther and add some fun accents.
To do this you can pencil lightly where you think you want to paint just to help give yourself a guide. If you are feeling brave you can always just go for it too! Paint and let dry. Tah dah!
For some extra protection for your masterpieces you can buy a protective spray as well.
It might sound a little daunting at first we promise though that it is much easier once you get started.
Some other tips our friend told us are:
Wipe your work space and your tools in between colors! Otherwise you can turn your white clay to a very pretty pink or your yellow clay a gross brown.
When you roll your clay out and are ready to press the shape check for air bubbles. If you have any you can pop them and rub to cover.
When you are ready to pull your clay off the workplace and onto the pan it’s tricky to not distort the shape. You can purchase a blade to slice underneath and help it not stick anymore. Once again make sure your supervise children when using a blade!
When painting the tiny little details you might want to use a toothpick rather than a tiny paintbrush. It’s easier to navigate.
The clay tends to smell really bad when it is baking so you probably want to do this on a day when you can open your windows and don’t have company coming over right away.
We are almost done with Christmas in July! Hope these ideas have been helpful to you. We have a couple more coming. If you haven’t seen DIY Holiday Pillowcases or DIY Utensil box you might want to check them out they are well worth a look see!
Do you have experience with clay? Why not share some of your wisdom with us in the comments?
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