Christmas Crafts: Making Clay Tree Decorations

A couple of months ago I began organising an Advent Craft Swap. I tagged a few people I thought might be interested and they tagged a few more. Some strangers got in touch too and pretty soon I had more than enough takers to get the swap up and running. I even had to turn several people away, which I hated doing. If you are one of the lovely ladies taking part, thanks so much for joining in on the spontaneous idea I had one day in September in a pre-back-to-work panic about sacrificing my creativitiy for a paycheque.

The craft swap is up and running at the moment. Check out the photos over on Instagram under #AdventCraftSwap if you like. 

Through organising the swap I discovered several Instagram feeds I wasn’t aware of before. Among them I encountered Gathered Threads , a gorgeous blog by Janice on living simply and creatively. Over on Instagram a couple of weeks ago I saw a photo of white clay stars that Janice was making, imprinted with leaves and berries. I loved the idea and got straight to work on a version of my own, once I had checked with Janiece that she was ok with me being a copycat. The boys had a pack of modelling clay open and in danger of drying out. This seemed like the ideal  way to use it up.


I enjoy all my craft projects and my renovations, but I really do like a good quick and pretty craft every so often. This one ticked all the right boxes – for Christmas but not over the top, easy to prepare, everything I needed within easy reach, a few simple steps from start to finish, involving a bit of foraging and creating something I hadn’t made before.


Here is what I used for mine and how I went about making them.

Modelling clay

Christmassy foliage and berries – I used holly, pine needles and bark, all from the garden

A cookie cutter  – I used a star-shaped one

A rolling pin

A chop stick

Baking parchment

Very fine glitter powder

A soft paintbrush

Time needed: 15 minutes plus drying time

I began by rolling out the modelling clay on the baking parchment to about 1cm in thickness, making sure to roll as evenly as possible.

I lay the foliage and berries and bark (rough side down) on the modelling clay and pressed them down firmly to make an imprint.

Once I had removed the leaves, needles, berries and bark from the clay, I studied the pattern and chose the sections I liked best, then cut star shapes from those. I love the structure that the leaves and berries lend to the clay. It is like a little bit of nature has been captured, fossil-like, in these decorations.


The chop stick was the perfect size to poke a hole in the star for threading a ribbon through.

Using very fine glitter powder (ok, ok, so it was glitzy eyeshadow powder I never use) I painted the stars, making sure to get the glitter into every crevice of the imprints.


All that was left to do after that was leave the stars to air dry at room temperature for 2-3 days. When it comes time to put up the tree in a couple of weeks, I’ll thread a ribbon or some bakers’ twine through the hole in each star and add a touch a sparkle to this year’s tree.


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