Every other year or so I get all the confidence and energy at the start of the season and get really great (and ambitious) ideas for making our neighbor gifts for Christmas. This was the year apparently. After perusing Pinterest one night I found some beautiful ceramic, hand stamped ornaments. Super simple, sleek and elegant. Since we don't have a garage, and rather a "studio" - complete with kiln, clay and glaze, I could've replicated that easily. But with Danny being super busy and my lack of knowledge of operating the kiln solo, not to mention all the time in between needed for drying, firing, and cooling, I decided if I was really going to do this, I needed it to be suuuuper simple. I started researching oven baked clay vs air dry clay. I've used both in the past before, and found that air dry was a better option for cost. (Plus I found a 25 lb pack of air dry clay on Amazon for $25 when it's normally close to $50!)
- Air dry clay (I used the Crayola brand)
- Rolling pin
- wax paper
- cup (or cookie cutter)
- sprig of pine (or whatever you want to stamp on your ornament)
- twine or string
- toothpick (to poke out the air pockets)
- high grit sandpaper
Grab a hunk of clay and roll it out on top of your wax paper. The wax paper helps with easy transport and prevents it from sticking to my table. As you roll, you might find some air bubbles, just use your toothpick to gently poke the holes, releasing the air. Then just close up the poke and roll it out again to blend in the poked air bubbles.
Use your cup (or cookie cutter) to stamp out the shape. I used an Ikea cup. Transfer your cut outs to another piece of wax paper. (I found my wax paper wasn't strong enough to use the same one over and over for rolling out the clay, so once it was rolled out, I used the used wax paper to hold my cut out circles.
Use your straw to poke holes into the tops of all your ornaments. Make sure to twist while it's in the clay to get a nice, clean line. The straw should just collect all the tiny dots of clay. I just left mine in there and didn't worry about trying to get them out. Plus, as the straw fills up with clay it becomes easier to hold.
Use your stamps to make a message in your ornaments. I used stamps that I had made before out of clay that had to be fired in a kiln, but you could use any stamps you have. I found it easier to do an assembly line and stamp an entire sheet the same word, using one letter at a time.
Take your sprig of pine (thank you Christmas tree!) or whatever you plan on using and gently press it into the clay. Repeat for the whole sheet.
Let these babies sit out and air dry. Mine took about one - two days to fully dry. The clay will turn more white when it's fully dry. (Also, when stamping assembly line style, make sure that you don't miss an ornament. It wasn't until I was taking a picture of the sheet of drying ornaments that I noticed I forgot the "p" on one of my "hope" ornaments. Do you see my "hoe?" hahaha!)
After your ornaments have dried, lightly sand the edges to smooth them up and then tie your choice of twine or string onto them, and you're done! Enjoy your handmade ornaments!