DIY Clay Ornaments

6 weeks until Christmas.  SIX.  WEEKS.

I’m not a Christmas frenzy-type person, but I do love an excuse to deck the halls and be extra thoughtful about the people I love.  While potty-training (which has taken a turn for the worse, I’m afraid) and the unpredictable weather has kept us slightly more housebound, I’ve been looking for little projects Levi and I can do together and I’ve starting to seriously stock up on materials and supplies for making Christmas presents. *insert eye roll here*

I’m not going to kill myself making everything for everyone but I’ve had my eye on a couple of projects I wanted to try out in good time before the gift-giving season commences just to see if a) I am able to make these things without wanting to gauge my eyes out and b) the things I am able to make are actually nice enough to give to real human beings with feelings and have them still like me afterwards.

My first venture has been makings a few things with quick dry clay.  I am experimenting with some packaged stuff I bought on Amazon (this one – only £5 for 1kg) and have attempted a DIY recipe for air-dry clay I found a while back on pinterest.  I have to say, I am kind of skeptical about a lot things on pinterest these days after some seriously bogus baking recipes and a couple of misleading DIY’s but this recipe for clay Christmas ornaments clawed back my faith so pinterest and I are building back some trust with each other.

The mixture in this DIY really is so porcelain-like: bright white and matte – very Christmasy (weirdly reminds me of the two turtle doves that the toy shop man gave to Kevin in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – isn’t that a weird recollection?!).  Anyway, I halved the recipe of the original and it was plenty for about 20 medium sized ornaments.  Interested?  Here we go!

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(I’ll leave you to guess who painted which one… although in saying that – I kinda like Levi’s abstract Christmas interpretation)

Ok, so the recipe is pretty simple:

1 cup of baking soda

1/2 a cup of cornflour

3/4 cup of water

Mix the dry ingredients in a heavy saucepan first (no heat obvs), add the water and then bring the mixture to the boil – stirring all the time.  ALL THE TIME.

The mixture will start to thicken and will then turn into a stodgy lump (original post says it starts to look like mashed potatoes – that is pretty accurate).  Take it off the heat right away and plop the full lump of mixture onto a baking tray and cover it with a damp tea towel.

Once it’s cool (I’d say about 15 mins), you can start to knead it a bit with your hands to smooth it out.  Throw some cornflour onto your worktop or table and then roll the clay out until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. Then you can use cookie cutters to make shapes or freehand with a knife!  Levi LOVED making these and has been talking about ‘my decorations’ all week.

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Don’t forget, if you are making them into ornaments, you’ll want to poke a hole in them for hanging before they dry.  I left our batch to air-dry for 24 hours and they were good and solid.  They really do turn out silky smooth.  Once they are completely dried, you can either leave them plain (classy) or decorate them with some paint/glitter (potentially tacky) or even use an exacto knife to carve a word or a name into them for a little personal touch!

While Levi was stamping out some shapes, I rolled some chunks of the clay into balls and poked a hole through.  Here’s my first attempted at hand-painting some beads for necklaces… I’ve got such a thing for gold, warm pinks and yellows at the minute.

 

 

 

 

Photo 07-11-2013 19 27 38

 

 

I really do recommend having a go at this and experimenting with different shapes etc – it’s simple enough for even the most novice of crafters!  Next up is putting the Amazon-bought clay to the test to see if it measures up to this homemade one.

Are you making any gifts this year?  Have you made any in the past that have gone down well?  Feel free to share any good gift-giving inspiration!

18 thoughts on “DIY Clay Ornaments

  1. Can you bake them (like firing pottery) to make them last longer? I’m guessing they crumble after a while?

    Sent from my iPhone

    • Hey stranger! Yes, I think you can – directions for that are on the linked post I found the recipe on. I didn’t know they could crumble?! Hopefully they hold out until the tree goes up! X

    • I just use regular craft or acrylic paint. And cornflour is what I have used and worked perfectly! X

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  3. How do you keep these from cracking? I’ve read, “pay attention to thickness”, but no explanation… Does to think or the, make them crack? Which one should be avoided.

    • Hi Valerie, I think its more to do with how they dry – flat and rolled out on both sides. Thickness definitely plays a part too – I’d go for thinner cuts as its more likely to stay smooth. For me its usually one side is more cracked or less smooth than the other. Have you found that?

  4. I read cornstrach and corn flour are the same…in US they call it cornstrach and in UK they call it corn flour.

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  7. I have to say, I have been searching and saved many of these recipes. I won’t say which ones didn’t particularly WORK, for ME but, I am grateful that THIS recipe DID!! Finally! Just now, two days after our hydro went out here in Toronto (Ontario Canada’s) with our MAJOR ice storm, one day befor Christmas, I am HAPPY to say: I will have our family handmade gifts ready JUST IN THE KNICK of time!!! I have to sincerely thank you. This recipe is perfect! Ingredient measurements with our types of supplies, have finally worked! OH I am so grateful! Thank you for assisting in saving our small Christmas with this absolutely perfect (for us) recipe! Wonderful!
    We wish you a blessed safe and peaceful Christmas Holiday Season, this year
    Jeanine & kids, Canada

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  11. I tried these twice with my grandsons’ hand prints and they cracked both times- I was really disappointed coz
    it is an easy recipe but think the thinner area where his hand print was was too thin…..would be great for jsut plain
    ornaments I think though.

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