Christmas is almost here! And what’s better than creating your own Christmas ornaments.
The truth is that I’m a bit late with Christmas projects. See, my little boy kept me busy the past two weeks since the weather has been unexpectedly warm which allowed us to stay outdoors and spend some quality time together. As a result, I had no time to finish this project sooner.
I’m pretty sure that have already decorated your Christmas tree but I think there’s still some time left to make your own creations and offer them as presents to your beloved ones.
Today we’re going to change our materials and the decoupage technique and we’ll learn how to make air dry clay Christmas decorations.
There are lots of different types of clays available on the market.
First, is the ceramic clay that is absolutely fantastic to work with and you can develop magnificent objects. However, you usually need a special oven, glasses and colors which makes the whole process a bit complicated.
There’s also polymer clay with which you create jewelry and it’s specifically good for creating objects that require precision. The good thing about polymer clay is that you can bake it in your own oven.
Air dry clay
Now, with air dry clay, no oven is required since it dries by, what else, air. It’s perfect for kids crafting and creating decoration objects.
Air dry clay doesn’t give you the durability of ceramic clay and you can’t create useful objects such as plates or cups. But, you can create beautiful decoration objects for any room!
Let’s see this in practice.
The basic materials we’re going to need
Tools we’re going to use
- Various brushes
- Rolling pin
- Air dry clay sculpting tools
- Crafting knife
- Cookie Cutter
- 1 pencil and piece of paper
- 1 small cup filled with water to wet the brushes
How to make air dry clay decoration objects step by step
I take the air dry clay out of the packaging and I spread it with the rolling pin, same way as if you’re about to make a pie. Or at least the Greek type of pie.
You don’t want to make the clay very thin. Otherwise, there’s a great chance that we’ll tear it.
As I spread the clay, I turn it upside down from time to time, so that it doesn’t get stuck on the table.
I try using the rolling pin in such way so that the clay is uniformly stretched both horizontally and vertically.
I’ve got a few paintings ready that I’ve previously drawn with a pencil.
I also have few cookie cutters to cut the clay in beautiful Christmas patterns. Nice and easy!
I place the paper sheet with my drawing on the clay.
Now, with a pencil, I re-draw the painting by applying pressure on the clay so that the drawing is imprinted on the clay. I apply enough pressure to make the small details of the drawing are well defined on the clay. Do this carefully for both outline and internal lines.
If the drawing isn’t big enough to cover the entire surface of the clay, no need to worry, there’s a beautiful way to cover it.
I place a piece of lace on the clay and I use the rolling pin to stick them together. This way, the pattern of the lace is going to be imprinted on the clay
After the design is well imprinted on the clay, it’s time to get a crafting knife and start cutting the perimeter of the imprinted drawing. Be careful not to cut something more than this! You only want to cut the clay surrounding the drawing.
On the clay surface that I placed the lace, I use the cookie cutters to cut the designs. This will result in beautiful lacy stars and trees!
I fill a small bowl with water and I wet my finger. With this finger, I make a pass around the piece of clay that I previously shaped, in order to make the surface smoother.
Since the texture of the clay is a bit like dough, water helps making the surface smoother.
Right after I finish with cutting and smoothing the clay surface, it’s time to work on the design.
I want to use the special clay sculpting tool to work on the small details and lines that are imprinted on the clay.
I apply a little bit of pressure on my tool so that the lines are well defined. If I feel that the clay’s surface is rough in certain areas, I follow the same technique with the wet finger and make it smoother.
As a heads up, this is the best time to make small holes in your clay if you’re planning to hang your object.
When I’m happy with the result, I place my object on a dry and clean surface and I leave it until it dries for about 24 hours.
Once the object is dry, I take a piece of sandpaper and rub the surface of the clay where I see either small imperfections or rough surfaces that I don’t like. If there’s a spot that you can’t use sandpaper due to difficult access, you can use a nail file for more precision.
Now that I finished with the sandpaper, I get a stiff brush to remove any dust left from smoothing the surface.
My Christmas ornaments are now finished from molding and shaping. Now, it’s my favorite part of the creative process!
I can paint my object by choosing among acrylic colors, glitter, relief outliner and decorate it with glues, beads, ribbons, flowers or anything else you can think of!
Here’s the final result!
I hope you liked this tutorial and got a first taste on how to make air dry clay projects. I certainly look forward to see your own creations no matter whether it’s for Christmas decoration or not.