I should really be no secret at this point that I looooove crafting. There’s just something about seeing something you like or coming up with an idea and trying it for yourself, and it always make me feel a little bit proud when people ask me where things are from and I get to say ‘I made it myself!’. If you’ve been keeping up with my instagram stories, you’ll know I made these clay baubles a little while ago ready to hang on our tree come December, and a few of you asked for a tutorial – so here goes…
Clay baubles aren’t complicated at all, but you do need a little patience to condition the clay – which basically means rolling it around with your hands to warm it up and make it pliable, so you can mould it into shapes etc. without it cracking. I actually find it quite therapeutic – just whack on the Christmas tunes and take out all your stress on the ball of clay!
If you like the look of my decorations above, below is everything you’ll need to make all 3. For the dalmatians and stars, I used cookie cutters for the shapes, and a simple sharpie for all those spots! For the clouds with gold linings, I cut them out freehand with a clay tool (basically a little plastic knife with rounded edges), and used acrylic paint to add the gold. But don’t feel limited to my designs – the basic steps can be adapted to make any shape you like, and you can decorate them however you choose, so let your imagination run wild!
YOU WILL NEED:
Polymer clay (you can use whatever colour you like, I kept it simple and used white) – I used this one
Something to cover your surface with – if you’re like me, a bin bag will do!
A rolling pin
Cookie cutters and/or clay cutting tools – or if all else fails, a knife
A cocktail stick or skewer
A metal baking tray – I’d recommend getting a new one to keep just for crafting
Gloss glaze – I used this one
A small, flat paint brush
A black sharpie (if you want to make the dalmatians)
Gold acrylic paint and a brush (if you want to make the clouds)
- Start by covering your surface, then unpackage your clay and begin to work it in your hands, rolling it around and pressing until it begins to soften and feel warmer – this might take a while, keep going!
- Once the clay is pliable, roll it out on your surface to your desired thickness – I usually just do it by eye, remembering that unlike actual dough you roll out, the clay isn’t going to change thickness when you bake it!
- Start cutting out your shapes – you can use cookie cutters, draw your shape out onto a piece of card to use as a template, or you can use a clay tool to just free hand your shape.
- Smooth down any rough edges by pressing gently with your fingers and use your cocktail stick/skewer to pole a hole through each one (this is where you’ll loop your thread through later so you can hang it), and if you’re making the dalmatian ornaments, poke a little eye hole into each one, being careful not to go all the way through the clay.
- Lay your clay shapes out on the baking tray with at least a 2cm gap between each one, and bake in the oven according to the packet instructions. Once baked leave to cool on the baking tray – I put my baking tray on top of a wire rack.
- Once your ornaments are cool, it’s time to decorate and/or glaze! For my dalmatian ornaments I drew on the spots using a sharpie, for the clouds I simply painted a few coats of gold acrylic paint around the edges with a brush, and the stars I left completely plain.
- Once any decoration is dry, apply a coat of gloss glaze using the flat paintbrush, being careful to create an even layer and not to let the glaze pool. If you’ve used a sharpie for decoration, you’ll need to try and not go over the same area twice as it can make the ink smudge a little.
- Once everything is dry, loop your strings through the little holes, tie a secure knot, cut off the excess and they’re done!
Don’t forget to let me know if you decide to give this tutorial a try – I’d love to see photos of all your clay decoration creations! If you’re on Instagram, post your photos using the hashtag ‘#thisgirlismaking’.