Kids love easy clay projects. What better way is there to spend some quality holiday time with your kids than by creating clay Christmas ornaments together? Handmade ornaments make great gifts for grandparents, aunts, uncles and teachers, or you can use them to decorate your own tree.
These simple ornaments have a lovely sweet-spicy scent. They are perfect for a country Christmas tree.
Begin by making the dough. Mix together 1 1/2 cups of ground cinnamon, 1 cup of applesauce and 1/4 cup of white glue. Knead the dough, then wrap it in plastic wrap. Set aside for around 30 minutes or so.
While you're waiting for the dough, gather holiday cookie cutters in simple shapes, such at hearts, stars, and Christmas trees. You will also need a straw and some ribbon, cut to eight-inch lengths.
Unwrap the dough, and knead it until it's smooth. Roll the dough out between two pieces of wax paper until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough with the cookie cutters, and use the straw to poke a hole in the top. Lay the ornaments out to dry, turning them over occasionally, so they will dry evenly. The ornaments will shrink slightly as they dry. When your ornaments have dried completely, tie the pieces of ribbon through the holes for hanging.
Gingerbread Man Ornaments
These ornaments look good enough to eat, but they're only for decoration. The dough is made from basic pantry ingredients, and they are decorated with dimensional paint, available in craft stores.
To make the dough, combine 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup cinnamon, 1/2 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of water. Knead into a smooth dough. Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, and cut out shapes with a gingerbread man cookie cutter. Push a paper clip into the top, to serve as a hanging loop. Bake on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees until dry, turning over once while baking. Once the ornaments are dry and cool, use dimensional paints to add "frosting" details, such as faces and buttons. Allow your gingerbread men to sit, undisturbed, until the paint is dry. Tie a ribbon through the paper clip loop at the top, for hanging.
Polymer Clay Ornaments
Polymer clay for projects, available at craft stores, is a little tricky for young children to manipulate, but older children will love the details they can create with this type of clay.
Purchase polymer clay, such as Sculpey or Fimo, in a variety of colors from your local craft store. Before you can begin making ornaments, you need to condition the clay by squishing and kneading it in your hands. When the clay is nice and soft, you can begin forming it into holiday shapes such as Christmas trees, teddy bears or Santa. Let your child's imagination be the guide. Depending on your design, poke a hole in the top or use a paper clip to make a hanging loop. When you are finished, bake your creations according to the directions on the package.
Polymer clay is generally safe to use. If you're concerned about letting your children handle it, understanding how it's tested and labeled could put your mind at ease.
Modeling clay can be made into almost anything, and hardening varieties allow you to create functional or decorative objects for your home.